IT IS SHABBAT – AND IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS! - Psalm 92

Shabbat Shalom!

Qolasim/Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Master יהושע, giving thanks to Elohim the Father through Him.

How are you doing in your ‘doing’ in word or deed? Are you ‘doing’ all in the Name of the Master יהושע and giving thanks to Elohim? In our time of sojourning in our Wilderness journey so to speak, we may often find it hard to be a thankful people; and as we have certainly learnt over the past few weeks in our Torah portions, grumbling is not acceptable among true children of the Most High, but rather we are to be a praising people, giving thanks always, aměn! How is that going for you? Have you been like many of those who fell in the Wilderness journey due to stubbornness, pride and grumbling, and have found it difficult to maintain an attitude of thanksgiving with pure praise because of the hard pressed circumstances that you find yourself in? Or are you maintaining an attitude of gratitude and with expectant joy of the sure and promised hope that is to come you are able to offer up continual thanks? May we be a praising people who continually offer up thanksgiving offering unto יהוה Most High!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a slaughter offering of praise to Elohim, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.

Tonight I want to encourage you and urge you to continually be a thankful and praising worshipper of יהוה, no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in, and to do that I want us to look at a very fitting Psalm for us as we gather together on His Shabbat.

In a message tonight called, “IT IS SHABBAT – AND IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS! let us be reminded of our need to consistently be giving thanks to יהוה – for it is a good thing! Turn with me to Tehillim/Psalm 92 (Read)

This title of this Tehillah/Psalm is termed as ‘A Psalm, A Song for the Sabbath Day’ – a title which is often left out of many translations and it is the only Psalm that carries this title and I find this very fitting as we recognise the need for us to remember to keep the Sabbath. As we delight in the Sabbath of יהוה, we are refreshed, nourished and strengthened to continue our sojourning with great peace and full assurance of His soon return and establishment of His Kingdom Reign here on earth, equipping us to be a praising and thankful people of Elohim each and every day!

So it is Shabbat and this is a song for the Shabbat, let us therefore look a little closer at this Psalm and be strengthened to praise and give thanks to our Most High Master and Sovereign -  יהוה our Elohim!

There are a few key words that I would like to focus upon for tonight in order to gain a better picture and understanding of why we ought to be, and should be, giving thanks to יהוה.

In the title the Hebrew word for Psalm is מִזְמוֹר  mizmor  - Strong’s H4210 meaning, melody and it comes from the primitive root זָמַר  zamar – Strong’s H2167 meaning, to make music (in praise of Elohim), sing praises; and the Hebrew word for ‘a song’ is שִׁיר  shir – Strong’s H7892 meaning, ‘sing, to sing’. Understanding these terms as an expression of making a musical song in praise unto יהוה, it could possibly be best translated into English as the title: ‘A MELODY TO SING FOR THE SABBATH DAY!’

As we delight ourselves in יהוה and bring Him praise and make music unto Him, we see that the first verse tells us that it is good to give thanks to יהוה and to sing praises to His Name! It is “GOOD” and in this melody song of praise we are exhorted to praise יהוה for His great works; in His righteous judgement over the wicked and His steadfast and Rock steady loving commitment toward the righteous!

It is thought by some that this Psalm may have been written and composed by some of the Lěwites during or near the close of the Baḇelonian captivity; as they acknowledged the favour and loving-kindness of Elohim, who through the steadfast promises of His Word they could foresee the destruction of their enemies and their soon return to Yerushalayim and their restoration to Temple service, and so their pure delight in declaring the praise due to יהוה was a declaration of their commitment and dedication to walk in Him, delight in His Shabbat and give thanks to His Name – something that had been neglected for a long time!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you do turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My set-apart day, and shall call the Sabbath ‘a delight,’ the set-apart day of יהוה ‘esteemed,’ and shall esteem it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, 14 then you shall delight yourself in יהוה. And I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth, and feed you with the inheritance of Ya’aqoḇ your father. For the mouth of יהוה has spoken!

There are still many today who need to hear this call to return to be a Sabbath-Keeping people that mark us as belonging to Elohim!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 4:9 “So there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim.

His Shabbat is there for us to keep and guard and delight in, not doing our own ways nor even speaking our own words, but delighting ourselves in יהוה, giving Him praise and thanks – for it is good!

When we see this term ‘it is good’ used frequently in Scripture, we often may think we have a good idea of what it means – the question however is, ‘Do we?’.

Let us look at the Hebrew word for ‘good’ and gain a better understanding of what this word actually means and what its intended meaning is for us from יהוה’s perspective as opposed to man’s fleshly perspective. For instance, when we say, ‘it is good to praise יהוה’, what does it mean? From a fleshly point of view, many would view this as being good if and only when it suits them and if they feel up to it; but is this what its intended meaning is? Let us take a closer look:

The Hebrew word for ‘good’ is טוֹב  toḇ – Strong’s H2896 and carries the meaning, pleasant, good, agreeable, beautiful, to be pleasing, done well.

Sounds all good – yet as we study further into the Hebraic mind-set in regards to this word we get a fuller understanding of what טוֹב  to means.  To do that it does help to look at the ancient script and get a wider perspective of the true meaning of this word.

In the ancient script  - טוֹב  to - is pictured as: beitwawtet

Tet – ט:

The original pictograph for this letter is tet, a container made of wicker or clay. Containers were a very important item among the nomadic Hebrews. They were used for storing grains and other items. Wicker baskets were used as nets for catching fish. The meanings of this letter are basket, contain, store and clay.

Waw - וֹ:

The ancient pictographic form of this letter is waw, a peg or ‘tent peg’, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope form slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.

Beyt - ב:

The ancient script has this letter as beit, which pictures a tent floor plan and means, ‘house’ or ‘tent’. It represents family and the importance of those who are inside the tent as opposed to the tent structure itself.

טוֹב  toḇ -beitwawtet  -  we see that we as clay vessels are made secure through the Blood of Messiah that holds for us a secure covenant promise of being made complete in Him and becoming the Dwelling Place of the Most High – where He that is Good  - The Potter - may dwell with those He created and called by name!

As we look at these letters we find a great revelation in terms of the Good News (Besorah) or rather ‘טוֹב  toḇ News’!

The way we, as ‘clay vessels’, are secured into the House of Elohim is by being secured by the peg! Listen to what it says in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 22:22-24 “And I shall place the key of the house of Dawiḏ on his shoulder. And he shall open, and no one shuts; and shall shut, and no one opens. 23 ‘And I shall fasten him like a peg in a steadfast place, and he shall become a throne of esteem to his father’s house. 24 ‘And they shall hang on him all the weight of his father’s house, the offspring and the offshoots, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the jars.

We know that this is a great picture of how through  יהושע Messiah we are fastened in a steadfast place!

Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a short while, favour has been shown from יהוה our Elohim, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His set-apart place, that our Elohim might enlighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage.

This again is a wonderful promise given amidst a time of bondage due – that a peg is given in His set-apart place – a great picture of the loving-commitment and compassion יהוה has for His called out nation, that while the ‘House of Elohim’ had been neglected and broken down He would bring the necessary means to ‘secure’ His covenanted people to His House that he builds by His design! It is through the work of Messiah, who has become the very ‘peg’ that secures us and adds us, the clay vessels, to His House!

The Word of Elohim made flesh – The Living Torah, יהושע Messiah came down and secured for us the ability to be made into the House that He Elohim shall dwell in forever!

His House/Dwelling Place is built by His design and His plan and so when we see how that we are the ‘Dwelling Place’ of the Most High, then we are able to get a clearer understanding that we are built up according to His plans as instructed in His Torah that was given through Mosheh and revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Messiah. Just as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness had to be built exactly according to the pattern shown to Mosheh on the mountain of the true heavenly Tabernacle, so too do we need to recognise that the only way we can be built up into being the True Dwelling Place of Elohim is through carefully following His instructions as we walk in and stay in Messiah – The Living Torah.

In the true understanding of this word   טוֹב  to we can see that it may best be translated in most cases as ‘functional’, for when יהוה said in Berěshith/Genesis 1:31 that when He saw all that He said it was very good. What He saw was His creation functioning properly and working the way it should and this why it was ‘good’. When something is working properly we might say today something like, ‘working like a well-oiled machine’, when speaking of that which is functioning the way it should and the way it was designed to. So טוֹב  to in the true sense of the word, expresses the idea that something is ‘good’ when it is fulfilling the action for which a person or thing is specifically fitted or used, or for which something exists. In other words it refers to something that functions within its intended purpose!

The opposite to טוֹב  to (good) is evil which is Hebrew is רַע ra – Strong’s H7451 meaning, bad, evil, wicked, harmful’.  The tree of knowledge in the garden was of  טוֹב  to (good) and רַע ra (evil)!

Just as we understand that טוֹב  to represents that which is ‘functional’, we can then see that רַע ra represents that which is ‘dysfunctional’, which simply put speaks of that which reveals and abnormal and unhealthy lifestyle that is not functioning as it should.

We may often think something is good, yet if it is not ‘functional’ according to the plumb line of the Torah of יהוה, then we had best be careful to consider our steps!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

The word used here for right is יָשָׁר  yashar – Strong’s H3477 meaning, straight, right, upright, uprightness’. There are so many who think that they are walking upright, yet while they are not functioning according to the good design of the Word, their dysfunction way leads a path to death!

Ḥawwah made the same mistake of thinking something was good in her own eyes and presumed to do what she thought was best and seemed right:

Berěshith/Genesis 3:6 “And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate. And she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

She saw in here own eyes that the tree was טוֹב  to and is a classic example of how in the flesh what may often be seen as good, does not also prove to be so, and here we see the three things that Yoḥanan warns us about in what a love for the world can make that which is dysfunctional and evil appear to be of some value and falsely appear as functional:

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:15-16 “Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 Because all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.

Ḥawwah is an example of the wrong application of what is deemed to be good when it is not done according to יהוה’s will. The prophet Miḵah sums it up nicely for us what it is to be טוֹב  to:

Miḵah/Micah 6:8 “He has declared to you, O man, what is good. And what does יהוה require of you but to do right, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?

The greatest expression of humility is to walk as Messiah walked, which involves action and that action is to be in a functioning walk that is in complete line with His walk and that is a walk of total obedience in guarding to do all He has commanded us to do – then our walk will be טוֹב  to!

Yeshayahu warns us about calling that which is dysfunctional good:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Luqas/Luke 11:34-35 “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, all your body also is enlightened. But when your eye is evil, your body also is darkened. 35 “See to it therefore that the light which is in you is not darkness.

 When our eyes are fixed on the Truth and we walk according to the plumb line of the Torah then our eye is good and we become functional, able to praise יהוה as we have been created to do so!

יהושע tells us that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit – in other words – a טוֹב  to tree cannot bear רַע ra fruit and a רַע ra tree cannot bear טוֹב  to fruit! To make it even more simpler we could say in effect:  A functional tree cannot bear dysfunctional fruit and a dysfunctional tree cannot bear functional fruit!

We are only functional and good when we are rooted in and stay in Messiah, who by His Blood has grafted us, who were dysfunctional by nature, into Him the very Functional Vine, and anyone who does not walk according to the instructions (Torah) of Elohim are dysfunctional and the fruit that they bear is dysfunctional, even though it may have an appearance of being functional! The many lies handed down to us through many generations made us a dysfunctional people, who were without the True Messiah and were unable to be secured to His House, and while the picture of Christianity in the world’s eyes or the eyes of the flesh appear to be pleasant for food and good to the eyes and seem able to make one wise, we recognise that this is not so, as the appearance of the fruit of Christianity as being thought of as  טוֹב  to or functional, is revealed as not being functional at all when measured against the plumb line of the Truth or the Torah of Elohim and therefore confirms to us that it is a dysfunctional tree!

In Messiah, the Good Shepherd, we are brought back by His voice – His Word – and are made secure in Him and are then built up according to His design, becoming a fully functional and set-apart people who worship in Spirit and Truth!

So when we see that it is good to give thanks to יהוה, we must recognise that this is a statement of being fully functional in Him and not a matter of when we feel like it or when it only seems right in our own eyes! It is a functional thing to give thanks to יהוה, and when Sha’ul tell us in:

Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in all circumstances give thanks, for this is the desire of Elohim in Messiah יהושע for you.

He is telling us that we are to be a functioning people, according to the design of our Master and Creator – all the time and not only when we feel up to it!!!

Part of this being properly functional according to His Word is to be singing praises to His Name!

The word translated here as ‘sing praises’ in this first verse in this Tehillim/Psalm is the word we looked at earlier: זָמַר  zamar – Strong’s H2167 meaning, to make music (in praise of Elohim), sing praises’.

The word for ‘give thanks’ is יָדָהyadah’ - Strong’s H3034 and literally means ‘to throw, shoot or cast, to confess, laud with praise, extol, i.e., make a public confession of the attributes and acts of power of a person’ and comes from the word Strong’s H3027 יָדyad’ which means ‘hand’ and so the expression of giving thanks is understood in the Hebrew as ‘extending the hands in praise’ – that is why Sha’ul tells us in Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 2:8 that men everywhere should lift up their hands that are set-apart in prayer – our expression of giving thanks with the extended hands that are set-apart is in our willing obedience to working unto Elohim (extending the hand) in all we do – and at the same time giving Him esteem and praise – Giving thanks is not a silent matter and it must be seen in our work ethic too as our actions often may speak louder than words!

It is a functional part of our existence to give thanks and praise in song unto יהוה, and not just on Shabbat – but we are to declare His loving-commitment in the morning and His trustworthiness each night – the very things we get fully reminded of as we come together as a body each week on the Shabbat as we delight in Him and are continually reminded of His goodness:

Ěḵah/Lamentations 3:22-23 “The kindnesses of יהוה! For we have not been consumed, for His compassions have not ended. 23 They are new every morning, great is Your trustworthiness.

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 63:7 “Let me recount the kindnesses of יהוה and the praises of יהוה, according to all that יהוה has done for us, and the great goodness toward the house of Yisra’ĕl, which He has done for them according to His compassion, and according to His many kindnesses.

Tehillim/Psalm 71:15 “My mouth recounts Your righteousness Your deliverance all the day, Though I do not know their numbers.

When we are functioning according to His Good (functional) Word then there will not be any time to complain or grumble, and if we find ourselves in any way being plagued with bitterness and unforgiveness and hatred, then we are being dysfunctional and unable to be doing what we have been made for!

We see from the structure of the praises in this psalm that is giving thanks and signing praise unto Elohim there is great function and structure and  openness to declare with joy the work of His hands – for what He has made is טוֹב  to, as we raise a shout of joy at His works that He worked and shaped in us by His Mighty Right Hand!

In verse 5 we see the declaration of great are the works of יהוה and that His thoughts are deep, and so we are again reminded in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares יהוה. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Romiyim/Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of riches, and wisdom and knowledge of Elohim! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways!

Those who are not walking in obedience, as they neglect the command to keep the Sabbath and the Feasts of יהוה and are is essence ‘dysfunctional’, being without Torah, and have no knowledge and understanding of who יהוה is! The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Set-Apart One is understanding and those who are not טוֹב  to, in that they are not functioning in accordance to the prescribed instructions as given to us in His Torah, are without the fear of יהוה, walking about as senseless fools and unable to be built into the vey functional House of Elohim!

Fools are misled by success and power of the wicked as they assume that they majority must be right and follow the crowds so to speak, whereas the simpleminded simply fail to realise that ultimately all evil doers – that is those who are dysfunctional – will be destroyed and the righteous will take up their rightful place in inheriting the earth and reign with Messiah!

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 2:14-15 “But the natural man does not receive the matters of the Spirit of Elohim, for they are foolishness to him, and he is unable to know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual discerns indeed all matters, but he himself is discerned by no one.

We walk according to the Spirit and as Sha’ul tell us – the Torah is Spiritual!

The Psalmist realise that while he sees that the wicked  and wrong spring up all over the place and blossom in all their ways, this will not last, and all that which they are flourishing in will be destroyed forever!

Our strength is in יהוה, and we see this more and more as we learn together on Shabbat and are nourished as we dig deeper into searching His Good ways, learning and guarding to do righteousness, we shall flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar in Leḇanon!

A cedar tree is in itself a wonderful illustration  of bringing us a picture of a person who is טוֹב  to and fully functional in Messiah. Cedar trees have been known to grow up to 12 meters in circumference! The roots grow down extremely deep and wrap around rocks for anchorage, and grow upwards in heights of up to 45 meters!!! You can then just imagine how widespread its branches can grow and be far reaching to bring shade and shelter to a large area. The fragrance of a cedar tree acts as a great defence against being attacked by insects and pests. It is a tree that is generally ‘knot’ free and is known to be rot resistant and they are known for their longevity as there are some today that are believed to be around 2000 years old; and they are also known as perennial evergreen trees! Cedar as we know is used in Scripture for the process of the cleaning of a leper – it is used is the Red Heifer sacrifice; Shelomoh used cedar wood to build the Temple; and here we see that the righteous will grow like a cedar. The righteous too, who have accepted יהושע Messiah the Master and walk in Him are ‘rooted’ deep in Him the Rock and are also built up in Him, and we who were dead in our sins Elohim made us alive in Messiah and raised us up, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Messiah יהושע. We are to some the fragrance of life and to others death, yet our unique fragrance in Messiah will keep away  and be safe from all attacks of the many ‘pests’! In Him, as we grow like a cedar, we shall have no ‘knots’-  He tells us that we are not to worry – and therefore growing like a cedar implies that that the righteous are not afraid and shall not have ‘knots’ of worry in the stomach but will be secure in their trust in Elohim! Just as Shelomoh used cedar trees to build the Tabernacle and these cedars were brought from afar on ships, so too do we see how the Father is bringing His people back from afar in order to be built up in Him to become a Dwelling Place of the Most High! We are planted in the House, secured by the peg which symbolises the work of Messiah, and as the Psalm says that we shall ‘flourish’ in the House of Elohim and bear much fruit!

In Him we are equipped to ‘function’ in and out of season, being build up in Him as the True Dwelling Place of the Most High, having been given the gift of eternal life and now we have this gift that we can bring to many as nourishment and shelter from the storms of life. In Him we, being planted in the House, can flourish and bear fruit that lasts, declaring true praise to our Rock and Master in whom there is no unrighteousness – praise and give thanks to יהוה – for it is good!

The essence behind this melody to sing for the Sabbath day is that it is good to give thanks to יהוה – it is a functional thing to do for all who, in Messiah, are rooted and grounded in love. The question remains – are you functional or dysfunctional? Have you in the eyes of the flesh determined that which is not good to be a functional part of your life, which against the mirror of the Word is rendered simply as dysfunctional! This is a melody to sing on Shabbat and be reminded just how טוֹב  to to do what we were made to do! Can you do that which is טוֹב  to and grow like a cedar, and let this good melody cause you to be glad and do what is good and give thanks to יהוה in all circumstances!

Shalom – and Shavua to - that is to say “have a ‘good week’” – may you function the way you were designed to, bringing esteem and praise to the Most High!

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