Missing God: Chattah Part 1

Studying Psalm 51 the past couple mornings – the Great Chapter of Repentance. David beseeches (2603 channeni: bend over, stop down to me in kindness b/c I am inferior to You) God to

1) Blot out transgressions        machah (4229)    pasha (6588)

2) Wash iniquity            kabas (3526)        avon (5771)

3) Cleanse sin                taher (2891)        chattah (2398)

He uses three unique words for his own actions, and he uses three unique Hebrew words for God’s actions. I have included the Strong’s numbers and I did find a blog at http://onlineexegete.blogspot.com that I pressed which is succinct in its presentation of the Hebrew words for sin.

But the word that really struck me yesterday morning was תַטָּאה chattah. This word for sin carries with it a connotation for missing a goal or target.

Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss. Judges 20:16

The Hebrew word translated “miss” in Judges is the same Hebrew word translated “sin” in Psalms. Paul expounds on this concept in the New Testament,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:14

The more I study Hebrew the more I realize that much of what Paul wrote was exposition of the OT (concealed in the Old, revealed in the New), but I just didn’t realize it b/c I didn’t know Hebrew and I understood Hebraic thought even less. (I’m still learning!) Paul didn’t just “make up” these metaphors. He knew that GOD said sinning was missing the mark. He also knew that it wasn’t a metaphor but a reality. I really do miss the mark every time I sin.

Re-reading this verse in Psalms with the understanding of Judges 20:16 provides me with a deeper understanding of sin. God is telling me how He looks at sin so that I can look at it the same way. The men described in Judges were expert marksmen. The Bible says they could aim at a HAIR and NOT MISS! These guys gave immense time and devotion to becoming proficient at hitting the target at which they were aiming. It was massively improbable that their stunning accuracy would fail. That the word for “miss” in Judges is the same word for “sin” in Psalms reveals that God does have a goal for us, and when we sin we miss that goal. That’s why David says, that he has sinned against God only, because God is the one who set the target. When he says “my sin is ever before me” and “against Thee only have I sinned” the word תַטָּאה is used both times.

I’ve read that in Hebraic thought when something is before you and you see it, it is actually in your past b/c it is a known thing, and that the future is really the thing behind you b/c you don’t know it. David repented of his sin and it was in his past because God forgave him. God did not allow his sin to be carried into the future to hang over him and condemn him. Paul also said in Phil. 3 that he forgot those things which were behind him. His sins were not in his future. He could not have the freedom he grew to possess under the weight of condemnation.
I know from my own past, that it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to move on with God when you’re under condemnation from your past. You have to allow God to judge you righteous after you repent, and resist the urge to judge yourself unworthy.


Not a gilded lily or a guilty soul

I am washed in Your blood

I’m cleansed and on the roll

No one can uncover the mistakes I have made

They’re not covered up, Lord, You took them all away

People like to find fault and it’s so easy to do

But focusing on faults and listening to people isn’t choosing You

I get tired of fighting demons

I get tired of fighting people

I get tired of being The Church

And pointing to my steeple

I’m done with seeking their approval

It’s not theirs to give

I’m pressing in today, Lord ’cause I’m so pressed myself

I’m just not giving up this time cause I know I need Your help

Imagining the future is such a source of stress

And mem’ries of the past, well, they surely don’t bring rest

I am tired of losing battles

I am tired of feeling evil

I’m tired of leaving church and giving up my steeple

I’m done with seeking my approval

It’s not mine to give

If I live by mercy and if I’m saved by grace

Then all this condemnation is not the life of faith

I cannot uncover the mistakes I have made

‘Cause they’re not covered up, Lord, You took them all away

Peace and joy aren’t so hard to find

When I spend my time with You

And spending time with You, Lord

And dwelling in Your Presence is what I long to do

What I long to do

What I need to do

Oh, yes, what I’m gonna do

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