The Importance of ‘Shall’
Have you ever thought about the importance and significance of the use of certain words in our language and speech?
There are certain words that when used indicate something very important – something very significant.
The word ‘shall‘ is just one of those words.
I first learned of the significance of the word ‘shall’ when I was on a board where this word when used in a phrase in law – in the written legal code of a state, federal or local government meant that whatever was stated had to happen.
By definition, the word shall is in the present tense. Shall is usually followed by a verb. ‘ in the first person, shall simply foretells or declares what will take place; This declaration simply informs another of a fact that is to take place. In the second and third persons, shall implies a promise, command or determination.‘ (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
With this knowledge of the definition of we can realize the significance of certain phrases in God’s word.
For instance, in Psalm 27 we see the word shall used in a number of ways:
verse 3: ‘Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.’
verse 5: ‘For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.’
verse 6: ‘And now shall mine head be lifted above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face LORD, will I seek.’
verse 14: (13)’I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.’
What I find significant here is that what we shall do relies upon what we know of what God shall do. When we truly believe in Him with all our hearts and trust in Him, we know He shall keep His promises. With this knowledge, we shall then have courage and confidence because we know that all that He has said in His word He will do.
God will give us the desires of our hearts. Our hearts above all things should desire His salvation and a close relationship with Him. We should desire to learn from Him and to live for Him.
There’s an exquisite confidence when we realize that through all things, God is faithful and will complete what He’s started. He’s started a wonderful thing in our lives first by offering unto us grace and mercy through Salvation. This should – shall bring us joy. The more we learn of and about Him the more our confidence will grow. The more certain we will be.
Life will deliver unto us difficult times. No one can escape it. We who believe in God, however, know that these things are only temporary and can be used to better us and to strengthen us. Also, we can be used of God to help others.
God always keeps His promises. He shall complete what He’s started. It’s a certainty. With this knowledge we can as the Psalmist stated – walk with our heads held high. Not in conceit but in faith. We are His. God shall perform His goodwill in our lives. Let’s find peace and joy in this knowledge especially when we consider just how important and significant words are such as shall and what they truly mean to us as believers.