PEH: A Longing for Intimacy

Morning Thought: It was early 1998. Anna was visiting the revival in Pensacola, hungry for more of God. In her short two week stay, I kept bumping into her, and we soon exchanged emails. Then, she went back to Australia, and I stayed in America, yet a friendship grew. The distance moved us to write, and we wrote over a thousand pages of letters to one another.

I loved Anna’s words, and each day I wanted to hear from her more and more. But there was something else I longed for: to speak to her face to face. The words of our mouth drew us into a close relationship with one another––a oneness that transcends words. The letters moved us to marry one another on 31 July 1999.

Peh פ is the seventeenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet and has the numerical value of eighty. The letter looks like a face and means mouth. In Hebrew, it’s often used symbolically for words, intimacy and closeness.

For example, God describes his relationship with Moses as mouth to mouth (peh el peh, פה אל־פה) in Numbers 12:8. A similar phrase is used in Exodus 33:11 when Scripture says Yahweh spoke to Moses face to face (panim el panim פנים אל־פנים).

The words we read in the Bible are the beginning of our relationship with God. If you read them correctly, they will stir in you a longing to speak with your Creator mouth to mouth and face to face. Just like Anna and I’s letters drew us into marriage––even though a 10,000-mile distance lay between us––God’s word is like a magnet that pulls you into intimacy with him.

Today, intimacy is often lost in the Christian world. We seem content with appearances, figures and facts. Yet, Yahweh still longs for friends. That’s why he has sent his word.

The Psalmist of Psalm 119 understood this, and in the Peh portion, he poetically writes, “My mouth [פי pe] I open and pant; For your commands, I long” (Psalm 119:131, my translation).

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