BE SEPARATE AND GIVE THANKS! - Nehemiah 9

Shabbat Shalom family,

Tehillim/Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to יהוה, you lovingly-committed ones of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His Set-apartness.

Singing praise and giving thanks – a daily attribute of a lovingly committed servant of the Most High Elohim – יהוה of Hosts is His Name!!! We are most certainly equipped in יהושע Messiah to do just that at the very remembrance of His Set-Apartness and His calling us out of darkness into His Marvellous Light in order to be a set-apart people unto Elohim!

We have just completed celebrating the great Feasts/Appointed Times of יהוה of the 7th month as prescribed and commanded for us to celebrate and keep, and as I am sure you can all agree with me that this year’s Sukkot was truly a great time of pure rejoicing as we were blessed to be able to ‘booth’ together as a family with our Lovingly-committed Creator and Redeemer, so much so that most of us did not want to come home!!!

Now that Sukkot for this year is over and we are back in the normal day to day routines we need to earnestly assess our ability to be careful in guarding with great care the shalom and joy of remaining in His presence and not dropping our guard at all as we encourage one another daily. When we are diligent in guarding His commands and keeping His Appointments, we are further equipped to remember His set-apartness and are further strengthened to be lovingly-committed in binging true praise and thanks to Him; and the inherent shock of coming back into the ‘rat-race’ of busy schedules ought to cause us to realise the critical need for us to ensure that we remain a set-apart people, separated unto our Redeemer and King for His good pleasure, that we may daily please Him in all we do as we pass the time of our sojourning in fear, having been redeemed form the futile way of life inherited from our fathers, through the blood of Messiah!

In a Message tonight called, “BE SEPARATE AND GIVE THANKS!” please turn with me to a very fitting chapter for us at this time of year as we read Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 9 (Read).

This chapter records for us the heartbeat of a people who had separated themselves unto Elohim and had just completed performing the Feast of Sukkot and the 8th Day Assembly (Shemini Atzeret), and now just a couple of days later the children of Yisra’ĕl were again assembled with fasting, repentance, confession and praise. They were clearly instructed In the previous chapter not to mourn as the Torah was read on Yom Teruah and the people were taught and caused to understand the reading. They had discovered the instructions for Sukkot and faithfully carried them out as commanded, and here we find that not very long after the Feast of Rejoicing (Sukkot) has ended the people gathered to make earnest confession , after they had heard the words of the Torah of Elohim and had experienced a taste of the Kingdom in the keeping of Sukkot. The Feasts and the hearing of the Torah was a very clear mirror for them as they recognised the reality of just how short they had fallen. Morné mentioned during Sukkot that he was humbled by the realisation of the sobering fact that if Messiah were to have come back in this 7th month at Yom Kippur, he may have been in some serious trouble!!! And this is the place that Yisra’ĕl were at as they had just experienced keeping the Creator’s Appointments of the 7th month and heard His pure Word – something they had not done for many years – and the reality of the Truth shocked them into confession and praise!

Many of their brothers were still in exile and the city was not yet completed and in recognising where they stood they realised that fasting and prayer was the logical next step – as there was some serious work to be done in calling others to repentance and the need for true worship to be restored that the city could be built יהוה’s way!!! So too today do we find ourselves in the similar position, as many of our brothers are still in exile and having said that, we recognise then that the True Tabernacle (that is you and me and some of our exiled brothers) is not yet completed. What we can see from this great prayer of commitment in this chapter is that it covers their acknowledgement of who the Creator and Redeemer is, as the primary focus of this powerful prayer is יהוה our Elohim – who He is, what He has done for His people and what His people are expected to do in response to His great love toward them.

This prayer covers the historical account of: 1 – Creation (v.6); 2 – The calling of Aḇram and the Covenant יהוה made with him and changed his name to Aḇraham (v.6-7); 3 – The deliverance of the children of Yisra’ĕl for Mitsrayim (v.9-12); 4 – The Marriage Covenant given to and accepted by Yisra’ĕl at Mount Sinai (v.13-14); 5 – The Wilderness journey (v.15-21); 6 – The conquest of the nations (v.22-25); and 7 – The time of the Judges that carried highs and lows, followed by the series of various kings which ultimately led them into captivity into the hands of their enemies because of rebellion. Yet our patient Creator and Redeemer, in His great compassion, did not make an end of them nor forsake them.

Yisra’ĕl acknowledged their shortcomings and the reality that they deserved the punishment for their sin and wickedness and  in a powerful confession of servanthood they made a trustworthy pledge in writing and set their seal on it – to walk in the Torah of Mosheh, which they had heard with their own ears for the first time in many years!

Both verse 6 and 7 begins with – אַתָּה־הוּא – ‘attah – hu’: אַתָּה attah – Strong’s H859 meaning, you, thou (in the second person masculine singular)and הוּא hu – Strong’s H1931 meaning, he, she, it (a primitive pronoun, written in the 3rd person singular). And literally this renders, “You are He!” – what this clearly reveals to us in the acknowledgment that they were declaring to יהוה that “You are He” – the Creator in verse 6 and in verse 7 “You are He” – the Covenant Maker and Redeemer – all in the 2nd or 3rd person singular! יהוה is not only the Creator of all things; He is the life-giver and sustainer as well!!! In fact the Scriptures in the original language never allows you to separate or divide into 2 parts the Creator from the Redeemer, for it is One and the same, for Creation and Redemption go hand in hand so to speak; as we acknowledge that from the beginning the Creator in the Creation Week expressed His redemption plan for mankind very clearly when we begin to understand His Appointed Times; and the one matter that Kěpha (Peter) tells us to not be ignorant of:

Kěpha Bet/2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved ones, let not this one matter be hidden from you: that with יהוה one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

In not letting this matter being hidden from us by the keeping of His Appointed Times we are able to clearly see the Creator and Redeemer are One and the same, as it was on the 4th day that the lights were given their function in order to separate the light from the darkness and so we see the Light of the world came in the 4th Millennium to separate the light from the darkness and call us out of darkness and separate us as a people unto Himself forever!

Without the Torah of Elohim and the obedience of keeping His Appointments these matters will be hidden form us, and so just as Yisra’ĕl had the hidden matters revealed to them through the hearing of the Torah and the keeping of His Feasts in the 7th month here as recorded in Neḥemyah/Nehemiah and were enabled to recognise and make confession before the True Creator and Redeemer, so too do we today through our hearing of the Torah and the keeping of the Appointed Times of Elohim need to recognise and make the bold confession of faith in Messiah King, Creator and Redeemer, as we fight the good fight of belief and lay hold on everlasting life to which we have been called as we praise the Trustworthy One:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our expectation without yielding, for He who promised is trustworthy.

Sukkot had ended and feasting turned to fasting and this is a great picture of commitment to truth that comes through hearing and doing and not just hearing alone!

True worship of our Creator and Redeemer involves the hearing of the Torah and the entire Scriptures of Elohim, and the guarding of that which is heard which enables the doing of the commands with great joy. True worship also involves praising, praying and confessing which cannot happen authentically without the hearing, guarding and doing of His clear instructions. True worship also involves separation – that is a separating ourselves away from that which displeases Elohim and separating ourselves to Him. Worship unto the Creator and Redeemer of our souls involves the Word as the Word reveals to us who He is; and without our daily lawful Bread we cannot know Him as He is. This is a sad reality for so many who claim to know Him yet do not have ears to hear, guard and do His commands which are not heavy! Those who forsake the hearing of His Torah and excuse it away as being of no effect while they claim to worship the Creator and Redeemer of mankind are mistaken in their claim to be worshipping, while in fact their vain worship is simply a form of idolatry through the entertainment of man-made theological ‘thoughts about Elohim’ that are clearly unworthy of being accredited to Him as they do not line up with His pure plumb line of His Word as expressed in His Torah and the Prophets. Therefore it is very clear that masses of professing believers today are engaged in idolatry rather than true worship, and unless they submit to hearing the Torah and the keeping of The Creator’s timetable they will sadly stay in their idolatrous form of man-made worship, risking their eternal separation from the Creator of all!

I want to briefly touch on a couple of Hebrew words that we find here in this chapter as seen in verse 2 and 3:

In verse 2 we see the effect that the hearing and doing of the Truth has, not only on an individual but also on a nation!

The heard, they acted and obeyed and as a result they did what is required of all who claim to worship the Creator – they separated themselves and confessed their sin/lawlessnesses and the faults/iniquities of their fathers!

The primitive root word used for ‘separated’ is בָּדַל  badal – Strong’s H914 meaning to be divided, separate, make a difference, make a distinction. This root word is used in:

 

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 20:24-26 “But I say to you, “You are going to possess their land, and I Myself give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am יהוה your Elohim, who has separated you from the peoples. 25  ‘And you shall make a distinction between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean birds and clean. And do not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird, or whatever creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. 26 ‘And you shall be set-apart to Me, for I יהוה am set-apart, and have separated you from the peoples to be Mine.

3 times in these 3 verses we see the word בָּדַל  badal being used – twice translated as ‘separated’ and once as ‘make a distinction’. It is יהוה who has separated us from all peoples, to be a set-apart nation unto Him and therefore we are called to make a clear distinction between what is clean and what is not, and so by the hearing of His Torah and the obedience of keeping His Times and laws we are called to active separation from that which is not pleasing to Him!

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.

Being separated involves a coming out from among that which foreign and contrary to the Torah! The Greek word used here for ‘separate’ is ἀφορίζω  aphorizō – Strong’s G873 which means, to mark off by boundaries, ostracise, separate, set-apart and comes from the two words: 1 - ἀπό  apo – Strong’s G575 which is a preposition and primitive particle, meaning, from, away from, against and 2 - ὁρίζω  horizon – Strong’s G3724 which means, predetermined, fixed, appointed, to mark off by boundaries’.

What is very clear throughout Scripture is that we are called to come out and be separate. If we do not heed this call to come out and be separate then we may find ourselves among those whom the Messengers of יהוה will ‘separate’ from the congregation!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:49-50 “Thus shall it be at the end of the age: the messengers shall come forth, and separate the wicked out of the midst of the righteous, 50 and shall throw them into the furnace of fire – there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The choice is very clear – separate yourselves from all foreign worship and its practices or you will be separated for destruction!

We see here in Neḥemyah/Nehemiah that Yisra’ĕl separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed.

In verse 3 we see the words confessing and worshipping:

The Hebrew root word for ‘confessing’ is יָדָה  yadah – 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

Yadah’ in practice would be to lift my hands in gratitude and thanks, expressing a surrendering of self totally unto יהוה as well as openly confessing our shortcomings before Him!

The Hebrew root word for ‘worshipping’ is שָׁחָהshachah’ – H7812 and it means, ‘to bow down, to prostrate oneself before another, to humbly beseech, to do or show reverence, and to do or show obeisance’.  Obeisance means ‘a movement of the body made in token of respect or submission as well as to acknowledge the superiority of another’.

Both of these words are used here in the hithpael form which expresses the reflexive action in response to a true relationship with the Creator and Redeemer – יהוה of Hosts!

The word יָדָה  yadah is only used as a derivative of the word יָד yad – Strong’s H3027 which means hand and we understand in the Hebraic mind-set that one’s hand symbolises what one does or one’s ‘works’ and so to extend the hand to יהוה can carry with it a dual purpose of firstly a confession of the wrong works that have been done in disobedience to His commands and at the same time also can render a thanksgiving for us being His workmanship, created in Messiah יהושע unto good works, in restoring to us the ability to walk in and do the good works that were prepared beforehand for us to do! This speaks of an acknowledgement and a total surrender of self in complete submission to guard to do the clear instructions of Elohim as we are guided by His Mighty Right Hand – יהושע, and so in everything we can give thanks as we ‘do’ it in Messiah:

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.

In all that we do – we do according to His Word and give Him thanks as we confess and surrender our own ways to submit to His!

The Greek word used here for ‘giving thanks’ is εὐχαριστέω  eucharisteō – Strong’s G2168  which means, give thanks, be thankful and comes from the word εὐχάριστος  eucharistos – Strong’s G2170 meaning, thankful which is made up of two words: 1 - εὖ eu – Strong’s G2095 which is an adverb meaning, good, well done and 2 – χαρίζομαι charizomai – Strong’s G5483 meaning, forgive, deliver, to show favour, give freely from the primitive root word χάρις charis – Strong’s G5485 meaning, grace, favour, kindness.

Why I am sharing all these words here is simply for the fact that we can clearly see that our giving thanks to Elohim is a surrendered response of obedience to His perfect will for our lives as we acknowledge and accept that which He had freely given us in Messiah – to walk in His ways and forsake all sin!

True thanksgiving and surrender happens when we recognise our need to hear, guard and do all He has commanded us to and the worship we therefore bring Him as a result of confession and thanksgiving is from a position of surrender and true humility. The word שָׁחָהshachah’ can literally render the meaning, to be brought low in the sense of being humbled and in essence, to have one’s arrogance knocked out of Him!!! This is exactly what the Word does – if one makes themselves available to hear, guard and do and look intently into the Living Word and do what is required, by separating oneself from the ways of the world and give thanks!

It is only when we make ourselves truly available to hear His Torah that we are able to be brought to the true place of humility, confessing and giving thanks in reverent worship of the Great I AM!!!

Having just come through the Feasts of the 7th month and more specifically having heard His entire Torah during this Sukkot Feast – will you pledge to be separate and give thanks to יהוה our Elohim as we too declare with our mouths in making the Good confession to יהושע Messiah:

“YOU ARE HE who created me and YOU ARE HE who redeemed me, and therefore I humbly surrender my life, forsaking all to follow you with all, giving you thanks always, aměn!”

I certainly trust and hope that this past Sukkot Feast has caused you to realise the desperate need for us to be separate and give thanks and the responsibility that goes with that confession, as we diligently guard to hear, guard and do His Good Word and in the hearing of His Word learn to fear Him and Him alone!

Perhaps you have too recognised that in the hearing of His Torah over this past week during the Feast that there are some things that may need to be dealt with and destroyed…. Well now is the time to do just that and hold fast the confession of our expectation in the True Trustworthy One - יהושע Messiah!

As verse 5 declares to us, so I say to you: Rise up and bless your Elohim forever and ever! As we close with the song, “Rise up”:

Rise up! Stand up! Lift your eyes to Elohim.

Rise up! Stand up! Be you not afraid. X2

 

In this world you will face trouble

In this world you will have pain

But if your hope is in Yahushua

You will never be ashamed

 

We can see the mountains trembling

We can feel the valleys quake

As the righteous ones of Elohim

Are rising up for His name’s sake

 

Darkness cannot overcome His light

In His presence evil flees

But those who trust in Yahweh’s mighty name

Will find salvation on their knees

 

יהוה bless you!

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