by: Rich Vaughan
Almost everyone knows the story of the fictional wooden toy puppet, Pinocchio, who turns into a “real boy”. It is a Walt Disney classic. In the story, Pinocchio also has a major problem (besides wanting to be a real boy). Every time Pinocchio tells a lie, his nose grows! Aren’t you glad you and I don’t have that same issue! And can you imagine if Politian’s noses grew every time they told a lie!!! ENT doctors and plastic surgeons would make a fortune!
I suppose right now you may be wondering what this has to do with God’s nose? Well, certainly God does not lie but he does seem to have a long nose! Huh? Well, there is a very interesting translation about God’s nose in our Bible that we miss in the English translation. I remembered that as I was reading a new devotional book called, “40 Days of Hebrew Devotions” by Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Pinchas Shir, & Jaime Purcell (Boy did my spell check go crazy on those first two Jewish names!). One of the devotions in their book talks about Exodus 34:6-7. The devotion reminded me that one of the things hidden in the English, but found in the Hebrew of this Old Testament scripture are the words, “erech apaim”. Those Hebrew words translate as “He (God) has a long nose”. What in the world does that mean about God? The answer is simpler than you might expect. The Hebrew language is very literal, so imagine looking at someone who is getting angry. What is happening physically to their face? It might be getting red and THE NOSE IS VISIBLY ENLARGED. THE NOSTRILS WIDEN AS THEIR INDIGNATION IS EXPRESSED IN FACIAL CHANGES. Therefore, the saying that God has a long nose is actually a beautiful ancient Hebrew way of saying that God is very slow to anger. Most of our English translations get the meaning right when they translate “erech apaim” as, “The Lord God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness and truth; who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7). This scripture calls us to remember that God is a God of love and patience and he has a very long nose… i.e. God is VERY SLOW TO ANGER. In this year and during this time in our nation we might do well if we tried to make sure our noses grew long just like our Lord’s! After all, we are made in His image! Amen & Amen.