REJOICE IN יהוה, YOU RIGHTEOUS - Psalm 97

Shabbat Shalom all, all praise and esteem belongs to יהוה, and we are truly blessed and privileged to be able to be together as a family being built up in Messiah and praise and worship His Magnificent Name! We have a week to go before Pěsaḥ and Matzot (Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread) and I am certainly looking forward to celebrating His Feasts and rejoicing in יהוה, as we continue in our diligence in walking in His Righteousness!

Zeḵaryah/Zachariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Tsiyon! Shout, O daughter of Yerushalayim! See, your Sovereign is coming to you, He is righteous and endowed with deliverance, humble and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.

These prophetic words of Zeḵaryah were fulfilled just before Pěsaḥ when יהושע entered the city and came humbly sitting on a colt of a donkey as we see recorded as such in both Mattithyahu/Matthew 21:5 and Yoḥanan/John 12:15. At His arrival many came with great rejoicing as they worshipped and praised Him declaring, Hoshia-na to the Son of Dawiḏ! Blessed is He who is coming in the Name of יהוה! Hoshia-na in the highest!, while many others were disturbed at His arrival and sought to kill Him as Messiah certainly turned things upside down during the days leading up to the Pěsaḥ where He would be slaughtered for us all! He turned over the tables of the money changers in the Temple and he cursed a fig tree for having leaves but no fruit and was critically and closely inspected for 4 days, being found to have no evil or guilt and could therefore be the Perfect Lamb without spot or blemish that would take away the sins of the world! Just as there was mixed emotions at His first coming as a suffering servant, where some rejoiced while others did not; and so too we will see this happening at His second coming as the Righteous King, that there will once again be those who are rejoicing and those who are not. In a message tonight called, “Rejoice in יהוה, you righteous!” please turn with me to Tehillim/Psalm 97 (Read).

This Tehillah deals most certainly with His coming reign on earth and how we are to be a faithful rejoicing people. Before we look further into this Tehillah/Psalm I would just like to share with you briefly some of the Hebrew words in Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 9:9 that we opened with in order to set the scene of how we too, like those who rejoiced at His first coming, we are to be found to be truly rejoicing in our Maker, aměn!

Three words I want to expand on from Zeḵaryah/Zechariah are: ‘Rejoice’, ‘Greatly’ and ‘Shout’:

Rejoice – in Hebrew the root word used here is גִּיל gil – Strong’s H1523 meaning, ‘rejoice, be glad, be joyful’, and this joy may be expressed in song, shouts, or even joyous shrieks and calls and its root meaning is to ‘circle around or spin around’ and is applied to vigorous, enthusiastic expression of joy!

Greatly - מְאֹד meod – Strong’s H3966 and means, ‘muchness, force, speedily, utterly, abundance, exceedingly, great, and might as in strength’. This word is mainly used in Scripture as an adverb in expressing the idea of exceeding to the highest point!

Shout - רוּעַ rua – Strong’s H7321 meaning, ‘raise a shout for joy, make a joyful noise, give a blast or battle cry, shout in triumph, sound the alarm’, and figuratively is carries the meaning to ‘split the ears’!!! The word ‘Teruah’ comes from this root word, and so we can clearly see that on the day of Yom Teruah/Day of Trumpets or the Day of the Awakening Blast there will be a resounding shout and cry from the heavens that will be met by few with great rejoicing, and by many it will be heard in shock as this sound will split the ears of the whole earth!

In understanding these words as prophesied in Zeḵaryah/Zechariah, we can get a better picture or understanding into the events that took place on that day when יהושע entered the city and came humbly sitting on a colt of a donkey. There was a great rejoicing and shouting going on – can you picture the elation and the joy and excitement on the faces of those who knew who He was – they gave it their all and they rejoiced exceedingly and with great noise, so much so that the religious leaders started asking questions and tried to silence His taught ones telling יהושע to rebuke them to which He replied that if they would be silent even the stones will cry out!!!

Have you ever rejoiced in יהוה like this? Shouting aloud in great excitement and ‘spinning around’ so to speak with great joy expressing it with great gusto? Well we need to be rejoicing in this way, for the day we hear the sounding of the Trumpet Blast, we are to be found to be a people who are rejoicing in Him continually until He comes for us.

For once again not only will the righteous be rejoicing, but ‘the stones’ will too as we see in verse 1 of Tehillim/Psalm 97 that the earth rejoices and many isles are glad – this speaks of many distant lands or peoples (living stones) rejoice and are glad – why – because יהוה reigns!

In essence the summary of this Tehillah is this:

There is a stark contrast described between the fate of the wicked nations and that of Yisra’ĕl, and in this Tehillah we see the use of some very dramatic and often frightening terms that are used in regards to the devastation that יהוה is bringing upon His enemies! We see how ‘fire goes before Him and burns His adversaries” and “His lightnings shall light the world and the earth shall tremble and the mountains shall melt like wax”.

We see this language being used clearly in Ḥazon which speaks of that which comes from His Dwelling Place and that which will precede form there in judgement upon the earth:

Ḥazon/Revelation 8: 5-9 “And the messenger took the censer, and filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, and thunders, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven messengers who held the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 And the first messenger sounded, and there came to be hail and fire mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. 8 And the second messenger sounded, and what looked like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Ḥazon/Revelation 4:5 “And out of the throne came lightnings, and thunders, and voices. And seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim.

Ḥazon/Revelation 11:19 “And the Dwelling Place of Elohim was opened in the heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His Dwelling Place. And there came to be lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and great hail.

Ḥazon/Revelation 16:18 “And there came to be noises and thunders and lightnings. And there came to be a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not came to be since men were on the earth.

In contrast to these events that will catch many by terrifying shock and surprise, the people of Tsiyon will rejoice and celebrate the announcing and arrival of Our Redeemer and King, and this Tehillah/Psalm concludes by addressing the righteous in exhorting them to continue in being steadfast in their opposition to evil as the promise of the hope of the great reward of eternal joy is still secure. And as we consider carefully the very clear and definitely different fates that await the wicked in contrast to the righteous; we should naturally and immediately appreciate the value of walking in and staying in righteousness and be bold and confident in resisting the pressures and temptations that the world throws at us in trying to get us to join in with the fleshly ways of the wicked and unrighteous. What is also clear is that we while the cloud and darkness from which His righteous judgement and right-ruling come forth from, Light is sown for the righteous; and this too should inspire us to abhor evil and commit our lives daily in total devotion to Elohim – and our ability to be a righteous rejoicing people, rejoicing in יהוה is what will encourage and inspire us to just that.

Verse 2 makes it clear that righteousness and right-ruling/justice are the foundation of His Throne; and this refers to the basis on which יהוה’s rule is exercised, and could be expressed simply as, “He rules people in a way that is right and just, and He rules them from behind clouds and darkness.

His Torah is His rule and that is the basis by which He rules, therefore no one is without excuse for He has made known His Righteous Right-Ruling through Mosheh and it has been revealed through the life, death and resurrection of Messiah!

In us being able to further understanding that this Tehillah speaks of that which is still to come, we see how verse 6 echoes the same imagery in the words יהושע spoke concerning the end days in:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 24:29-30 “And immediately after the distress of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. 30 “And then the sign of the Son of Aḏam shall appear in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Aḏam coming on the clouds of the heaven with power and much esteem.

When He comes, all those who have served ‘carved images’ and the man-made worship systems which are carved images of preferred worship of the work of man’s hands will be put to shame – all their boasting in their belief systems that are not grounded in Torah shall be finally revealed and exposed as matters of nought and every knee shall bow before the Coming King!

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 10:13-16 “When He makes His voice heard, there is a roaring of waters in the heavens. And He makes vapours rise from the ends of the earth. The lightnings for rain He has made, and brings wind from His treasuries. 14 Everyone is brutish in knowledge; every smith is put to shame by his idol. For his moulded image is falsehood, and there is no spirit in them. 15 They are worthless, a work of mockery. In the time of their punishment they perish. 16 The Portion of Yaʽaqoḇ is not like these, for He is the Maker of all, and Yisra’ĕl is the tribe of His inheritance – יהוה of hosts is His Name.

Ḥazon/Revelation 14:8-12 “And another messenger followed, saying, “Baḇel is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her whoring.”  9 And a third messenger followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark upon his forehead or upon his hand, 10 he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim, which is poured out undiluted into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tortured with fire and sulphur before the set-apart messengers and before the Lamb. 11 “And the smoke of their torture goes up forever and ever. And they have no rest day or night, those worshipping the beast and his image, also if anyone receives the mark of his name.” 12 Here is the endurance of the set-apart ones, here are those guarding the commands of Elohim and the belief of יהושע.

For many this day will come as a huge and very frightening shock, but not so for those who are awake and looking for the blessed hope – those who are faithfully enduring as they guard the commands of Elohim and the belief of יהושע.

Verse 8 echoes this truth – Tsiyon shall hear and be glad and the daughters of Yehuḏah rejoice – because of the right-rulings of יהוה!

Tsephanyah/Zephaniah 3:14 “Shout for joy, O daughter of Tsiyon! Shout, O Yisra’ĕl! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Yerushalayim!

The closing verses of Tsephanyah 3 speak of the great joy of Yisra’ĕl that realises and recognises their Redeemer and King – He who has turned aside judgement and has faced the enemy and overcome and will no longer need to fear evil for the Sovereign of Yisra’ĕl,  יהוה is in our midst – and He sings over us!!!

This shout for joy is a command! Be glad and rejoice with all our heart – can you do that knowing that יהוה is in our midst?  We have reason to rejoice!!! יהושע Messiah has turned aside our judgements by facing our enemy and taking our sin upon Himself and defeating death, that we may live with Him forever and this is the woe that goes out to those who rebel and defile His word – you will die if you do not repent and fear the Righteous One in our Midst.

The 4 words used here in Tsephanyah/Zephaniah 3:14 that express the true rejoicing are:

1) The first ‘Shout’ is רָנַןranan’ H7442 meaning ‘to overcome, cry out, shout for joy, give a ringing cry, sing aloud’, often also translated as praise.

2) The second ‘Shout’ is רוּעַ rua – Strong’s H7321 as we have already mentioned earlier

3)Be glad’ - שָׂמַחsamach’ – Strong’s H8055 and means, ‘to rejoice, be glad, be joyful, delight in and be elated’. A derivative of this word is שָׂמֵחַsameach’- Strong’s H8056 and carries the same meaning as well as implying ‘to be merry’. Both of these words are used in the command to rejoice in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 16:14 & 15.

The word ‘samach’ can also carry the meaning ‘to brighten up’, giving us the picture how we are to carry His joy as the light of the world and let praise and rejoicing abound!

4)Rejoice’ - עָלַז alaz – Strong’s H5937 and means ‘exult, become jubilant’ and the word describes an emotion of joy expressed in singing and shouting and is a natural response to the faithful!

Once again we see the clear description in Scripture as to the joyful and jubilant expression of rejoicing that is done by the faithful remnant that walks in righteousness!

Now part of walking in righteousness and our ability to be a rejoicing, singing, shouting and praising people is that we who love יהוה must hate evil!!! We must hate all evil, and if we know that love is more than just a feeling as it is obedience to the instructions and commands of the One we love, then clearly hate, being the opposite of love, clearly expresses that we are to not submit or bow to the evil and wicked ways of the enemy and the fleshly luring of the world’s ways, which include man-made religious systems – we are to hate them – that is to stay far away that which is not of Elohim. The word for hate in Hebrew expresses an emotional attitude toward persons and things which are opposed, detested, despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship. It is therefore the opposite of love. Whereas love draws and unites, hate separates and keeps distant. Here in this Tehillah, the command is clear – hate evil! Now when we look at Scripture we clearly see what יהוה hates and we too are to hate what He hates. It understanding the times and as we go forward to ensuring that there is no leaven in our lives, let us see what things we are to hate and be done with as this is made very clear to us that we are to be done with evil in:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 3:7 “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear יהוה and turn away from evil.

Tehillim/Psalm 37:27 “Turn away from evil, and do good; And dwell forever.”

To hate evil means to turn away from it and do good – that is to walk in the Torah, following Messiah that gives us eternal life!

Let us look now at the things that are to be hated as seen in Scripture:

Tehillim/Psalm 101:3 “I set no matter of Beliya’al before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it does not cleave to me.

This speaks of the ‘work of quitting’ – it takes work to fall away – especially when you know to do good. Hate that which tries to tell you that you do not have to keep the commands and tries to lure you into the evil notion of a belief only doctrine. This also speaks of not giving up – we are not of those who draw back to destruction, but rather we are of those who press on in the belief and maintain the good works of righteousness!

Tehillim/Psalm 119:104 “From Your orders I get understanding; Therefore I have hated every false way.

Hate every false way – how? By understanding the orders of יהוה, being able to present yourself as a skilled workman approved to Elohim who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth! How will you know every false way and turn away from that which is false if you do not know the Truth!!! Hating every false way means ‘loving His Torah’ and doing it!

Amos 5:21 “I have hated, I have despised your festivals, and I am not pleased with your assemblies.

יהוה hates and despises false worship and so should we! No matter how sincere many may be in their institutionalised worship systems – if it does not line up with the plumb line of the Torah it is false and must be hated and turned away from! Many in the modern church use this verse as a verse to claim that we no longer have to keep the Feasts of יהוה as He hates and despises their festivals! This is not saying that we are no longer to keep His Feasts. What it is saying is that He hates ‘your’ festivals – in other words what they had made His Feasts in to. יהוה here is referring to man-made feasts of falsified worship that have been devised to suit their own fleshly whims and desires of compromise and comfort. יהוה hates false worship and the falsification of feasts that many claim is about Him, when it has nothing to do with Him but is rather pagan rooted sun-worship practices clothed in twisted truth and is an abomination before Him. Even while at the time of Amos, Yisra’ĕl may have been gathering at the Appointed Times, yet the feasts they were observing were observed in such a way that it was no longer focused upon יהוה and the Truth of His Word but rather had syncretised its practices with the abominable worship of the surrounding nations and had become man-driven festivals which no longer adhered to the plumb line of Torah! The Christian church and its pagan rooted feasts of false worship He hates and so too should we, turning far away from it!

What we are to LOVE are His Feasts as instructed for us to keep in every generation, given clearly in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23 – for these are His Appointed Times! His Feasts – our rehearsals! Anything beyond this by means of adding or taking away He hates!

Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 8:17 “And do not plot evil in your heart against another, and do not love a false oath. For all these I hate,’ declares יהוה.

False oaths and plotting of evil יהוה hates! Let your yes be yes and your no be no lest you fall into judgement (Ya’aqoḇ/James 5:12)!

Tehillim/Psalm 119:163 “I have hated falsehood and loathe it, Your Torah I have loved.

Once again – love for the Truth will enable and cause you to turn away from falsehood. If you do not hate something you will not leave it!!! And the ability to hate that which is false and leave it is only increased as you love – that is to obey – His Torah! Many people will say that they hate some of the things they do but cannot stop – what they are in effect saying is that they are not making the necessary effort in loving the Torah!

We must learn to do what is right and mean what we say – if we say we love Him then obey Him!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are an abomination to יהוה, But those who deal truly are His delight.

Romiyim/Romans 12:9 “Let love be without hypocrisy. Shrink from what is wicked, cling to what is good.

Do not be a hypocrite – do not say you love יהוה while you do not follow his commands, but rather leave all wickedness and evil and cling to what is good – are there is only One who is Good – Our Good Shepherd – the Living Torah!

Tehillim/Psalm 119:113 “I have hated doubting thoughts, But I have loved Your Torah.

A doubting mind is a divided mind or rather double minded, unable to make up their mind and this is a very unstable state to be in, for Ya’aqoḇ tells us that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Again, how do you tackle the issue of double mindedness? Loving the Torah – and doing what is clearly instructs – there is nothing double minded about that!

Let us further look at that which יהוה says He hates:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six matters יהוה hates, And seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, And hands shedding innocent blood, 18 A heart devising wicked schemes, Feet quick to run to evil, 19 A false witness breathing out lies, and one who causes strife among brothers.

A proud look speaks of self-sufficiency and the inability to put your total trust and reliance on יהוה. He hates lies and lying tongues, devising of wicked schemes, those who walk disorderly, gossipers and slanderers, and he utterly hates strife that is caused by those who seek to bring division among brothers – this of course is one of the underlying traits of the Izeḇel/Jezebel spirit which יהוה hates and will destroy!

When one considers that which יהוה hates it is very clear that He hates any other way that is contrary to His written Word. These 3 verses speaks of the hate He has for the breaking of His commands – do not have any other mighty ones before His face, do not lie, steal, commit murder, bear false witness or commit adultery – for those things He hates!

The promise we have is that He guards His lovingly committed ones and delivers them from the hand of the wrong. Those who love יהוה and hate evil He protects and this is certainly worth rejoicing about, aměn!

Light is sown for us as we guard the good deposit, walking in the Light as children of Light, having our hearts filled with gladness and the ability to joyously praise our Maker!

As we close we come now to the last verse in Tehillim/Psalm 97, giving us once again the clear reminder and instruction that we, the righteous, are to rejoice in יהוה. The word used here for ‘rejoice’ is שָׂמַחsamach’ – Strong’s H8055 as mentioned earlier; and we are to give thanks to Him and that is the word יָדָה yadah – Strong’s H3034 and means, ‘to cast or throw’ and this word as a verb with the root meaning ‘the extended hand’ or ‘throw out the hand’ really expresses the nature of the action of praise unto יהוה.

 יָדָה yadah means ‘to lift hands; to give thanks; confess, praise; make confession; shoot; to cast out or cast down’.

 יָדָה yadah in practice would be to lift my hands in gratitude and thanks, expressing a surrendering of self totally unto יהוה! Sha’ul tells us in his letter to Timotiyos/Timothy that he wants men everywhere to lift up their hands in prayer!  We know the victory that total surrender brings! When Mosheh lifted up his hands in prayer and supplication and praise unto יהוה Yehoshua had victory on the battlefield, and when his arms were down Yehoshua faced some defeat! Lifting hands in surrender unto יהוה is for me a great expression of praise unto His Name. It is an acknowledgement of His Name as יהוה of hosts – head of the heavenly host that battles for us, He is our banner – the one under whom we walk, He is our healer, shepherd, provider – He is our peace and He is our Saviour! Lifting hands unto Him reveals our acceptance of His work and provision and confesses our reliance upon Him, where we recognise that our hands cannot bring what He brings and so we lift up hands in praise in devotion to declaring His authority and rule over our lives!

The instruction is clear – REJOICE IN יהוה, YOU RIGHTEOUS!

Let our lives reflect true and pure rejoicing as we make our rejoicing in יהוה heard and known, lifting our hands unto Him and fleeing all evil as we consider and realise the very different fates that await the wicked and the righteous!

As Pěsaḥ approaches and we consider how they rejoiced back then, may we again be encouraged to be a rejoicing people, who love the Torah and make His praises known in all the earth, aměn!

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