DO NOT BE SLACK – STAND, SERVE AND SHINE! - 2 Chronicles 29:1-11

Shabbat Shalom all,

Galatiyim/Galatians 6:7 “Do not be led astray: Elohim is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap.

Do not be led astray, Sha’ul warns, and rightly so! The Greek word translated here as ‘led astray’ is πλανάω planaō – Strong’s G4105 which means, to cause to wander, deceive, mislead, misled, led or gone astray, which comes from the word πλάνη plane – Strong’s G4106 meaning, wandering, deception, error, deluding, deceitful.

We see this word πλανάω planaō used in the Greek text in the account when answering the Sadducees over their dispute about the resurrection, יהושע Messiah said to them:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 22:29 “ You go astray, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of Elohim.

These words are so true for so many today, as they go astray, simply because they do not know the Scriptures, and if they do not know the Scriptures it is impossible for them to know the power of Elohim!!! Because of this sad reality of most people who claim to know Elohim, yet do not know Scripture, we see how so many are easily led astray, misguided and deceived as the wander aimlessly away from the Truth, instead of running in the way of His commands as Dawiḏ declared in:

Tehillim/Psalm 119:32 “I run the way of Your commands, for You enlarge my heart.

The next verses in this Tehillim give a clear call from a true servant of Elohim that runs in the way of His commands, as we see Dawiḏ asking יהוה to teach him the ways of His laws so that he will observe them to the end; and to make him understand so that he can guard the Torah with all his heart! When we hear, guard and do the commands of Elohim, and grow in our knowledge of Him, our hearts are enlarged as the understanding of the power of Elohim is learnt as we mediate on and guard to walk in His Torah, running fervently as a fit servant in the way of His commands.

So many claim to know Elohim, yet their actions prove otherwise, and Sha’ul makes it very clear here to us, that Elohim is not mocked – you will reap what you sow, and it is time for true servants of the Most High to sow righteousness:

Hoshěa/Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap according to loving-commitment, break up your tillable ground, it is time to seek יהוה, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

In the clear urgency of our times, we need to hear this warning against being led astray, which can quickly happen when one gets slack in their duty of guarding the Word and allows compromise to creep in. In a message tonight called, ‘DO NOT BE SLACK – STAND, SERVE AND SHINE!’ let us be reminded to be a people who are alert, sober, watchful and awake; and are serving the Master with great joy! Please turn with me to Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 29:1-11 (Read).

In this chapter we come to the point in history when Ḥizqiyahu began to reign. He was the 13th king of Yehuḏah and he was a good king, who reigned for 29 years. He took the throne during a crucial time in Yehuḏah’s history. Ashshur had recently conquered Aram. And during the early part of his reign, the Ashshurians conquered the northern kingdom of Yisra’ĕl. And, Yehuḏah itself had to pay an annual tribute to Ashshur. With the encouragement of the prophet Yeshayahu, Ḥizqiyahu undertook a great reform, in removing idolatrous elements from worship, cleansing and setting apart the Hěḵal of יהוה, and restoring the Lěwites to their rightful duties, and serve as priests in the House of יהוה.

Ḥizqiyahu – חִזְקִיָּהוּ Strong’s H2396 means,יהוה is my strength’, יהוה has strengthened, and we are able to learn a great deal from this king who certainly found his strength from יהוה, and in a time when he would have been encouraged by the words of Yeshayahu we can learn how we too are able to find strength in the Word of our Saviour!

יְשַׁעְיָהוּ Yeshayahu – Strong’s H3470 means ‘salvation of Yah/ Yahweh saves’. His mother’s name was אֲבִיָּה Aḇiyah – Strong’s H29 which means, Yah is my father, and she was the daughter of זְכַרְיָהוּ Zeḵaryahu – Strong’s H2148 means, יהוה remembers. While his father may have been a wicked king, we are giving an account of his mother’s name, showing us that Ḥizqiyahu was nurtured in the ways of יהוה by a lovingly-committed mother!

In verse 2 we are given a great statement regarding the faithfulness of Ḥizqiyahu, as he did what was right in the eyes of יהוה, according to all that his father Dawiḏ did! The outline of this chapter as well as the following 2 chapters is about Ḥizqiyahu/Hezekiah succeeding Aḥaz as king and reopens the Temple; the priests and the Lěwites purify themselves and the Temple, and Passover is celebrated. Ḥizqiyahu reorganises the priesthood and requires the people to obey the Torah of יהוה by supporting the priesthood – that in a nutshell is chapters 29-31. However as we look at chapter 29 tonight and more specifically verses 1-11, I want us to be reminded that we are called to stand firm in the strength of our Master, and not be slack in our required duties, as a royal priesthood, ensuring that we stand firm and shine the light of His Truth in every way!

As I mentioned, Ḥizqiyahu opened the doors of the House of יהוה and repaired them. The Hebrew root word translated as ‘repaired’ is חָזַק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2388 and carries the meaning, to grow firm, fasten upon, strengthen, take firm hold of, and being written in the ‘piel form’ it renders for us the meaning of, make strong, restore to strength, strengthen encourage, make rigid.

The doors being strengthened or repaired carries a great deal of insight for us, as we know that pure worship had been neglected under the reign of the wicked Aḥaz; and in understanding that the doors were now being repaired and strengthened under  Ḥizqiyahu, we are able to see a restoration of an undefiled worship. The door speaks of an access point or place of appointment or meeting, and this is the first thing that Ḥizqiyahu did, he restored a proper order of access and the true appointed times of service at the House of יהוה! As we go through these verses and dig a little deeper into the Hebrew root words we are able to recognise the pattern of restoration that we see happening in our lives, and the much needed call to not be led astray again to falsehood and lies. As the strengthening Truth of our Master and Saviour has been restored to us, we have seen how the true doors of Appointment have been repaired, as we are now able to faithfully worship on the Master’s correct Appointed Times, which includes the gates or doors of Sabbath being fully and firmly restored in our lives, which for far too long was closed up to us due to the delusion of falsehood and vain traditions.

This call to the Lěwites being given here, shadow pictures and echoes for us the clear call being given to us, who are a called out and royal priesthood in Messiah! And the urgent call is clear – LISTEN and SET YOURSELVES APART!

The word in Hebrew for ‘Listen’ is the root word שָׁמַעshama’ – Strong’s H8085, which carries the meaning not just simply to hear, but rather to ‘listen with attention, comprehend and discern, give heed to what is being spoken’.

Understanding our need to be a people who are listening attentively and giving heed to His Word in a time when most are not, let us recognise that this is certainly the time to be a hearing and discerning and obeying people! If we do not give our ears to the hearing of His Torah and do not pay close attention to His Word, we will be unable to stand and shine as we should!

In hearing as we should, there comes a responsibility with what we hear, and that is to guard to do what we hear, so that we are doers of the Word and not hearers only! The duty in hearing and doing is to make sure that we are setting ourselves apart. Each one of us has the urgent responsibility to be set-apart as יהוה is set-apart, and in doing so we are to make sure that we are each working out our deliverance with fear and trembling, and not neglecting the gathering at the Door of Appointment (that is His Sabbaths and Feasts), so that we collectively are able to be setting apart the House of Elohim, which we are! How do we set ourselves and the House of Elohim apart? Verse 5 is very clear on how we are to do this – REMOVE THE UNCLEANNNESS!

The Hebrew word translated as ‘remove’ is יָצָא  yatsa – Strong’s H3318 meaning, to go or come out, brought, came, go forth, depart, go forward, proceed’. This word is written in the ‘hiphil form’ which can render for us the following meaning, to cause to go or come out, to bring out, lead out, deliver. This is often used as a militaristic term of going out to war, and so here we are able to hear the clear command of our Master to make sure that the uncleanness must be out of our lives! His Word ought to be sufficient in causing us to bring out all that which does not belong in our lives. The Hebrew word used here for ‘uncleanness’ is נִדָּה niddah – Strong’s H5079 meaning, ‘separation, isolation, uncleanness, menstruation, unclean, impurity, filthiness’, and is often used to speak of a woman’s ‘defilement’ during her menstrual/bleeding cycle. This also means a ‘separation from intimacy’, and we are therefore able to see in this context how the command is clear – clean out or get rid of anything that separates you from intimacy with יהוה! Sadly there are many who are unwilling to do this, as they are reluctant to get rid of that which stands in the way of total set-apart intimacy with יהוה, be it a habit, hobby or even an another person! When reading this we can easily be reminded of the master’s words:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:27-28 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take up his stake and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

Luqas/Luke 14:26-27 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life too, he is unable to be My taught one. 27 “And whoever does not bear his stake and come after Me is unable to be My taught one.

Very hard, yet very clear words – set-apartness is the desire of Elohim, and anything that may stand in the way must be removed!

In verses 6-7 we are then further reminded of the sins of the fathers and the need to make urgent changes, lest we continue in the falsehood the past! Our fathers have trespassed! Here is the clear acknowledgement that many fail to recognise! As we begin to have the door of appointment restored, that is – beginning with the guarding of the Sabbath, we are able to admit and confess the crookedness of our fathers! Those who are unwilling to admit that their parents were wrong are typically those who have not repaired the guarding of the Sabbath! Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 16:9 tells us that in the last days the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say that our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility, and there is no value in them. In this chapter we are able to see the clear progression of the acceptance  of the fact that we were brought up with falsehood, when we begin to keep the Sabbath and guard the gates of the Sabbath, strengthening the doors of the Sabbath in our lives – without this many will be unable to see or acknowledge the falsehood of the fathers!

The Hebrew word for ‘trespass’ is מָעַל  ma’al – Strong’s H4603 and means, to act unfaithfully or treacherously, violate, break faith’. What is interesting to take note of is that a derivative of this root word is the Hebrew noun מְעִיל  me‘il – Strong’s H4598 and means, robe, mantle’. I have spoken in the past about these two words in a message called, ‘WEARING THE ROBE THAT DOES NOT ROB!’, as we looked at the robe that Shemuʼěl was given each year by his mother, and what we discussed previously, when looking at the ancient pictographic symbols of these two words, was that the difference between the two was with the additional letter ‘yod’ being added to make the word מְעִיל  me‘il. The ‘yod’ in the ancient script is pictured as  – an outstretched arm and hand. The robe that Shemuʼěl wore each year is a picture of us having been clothed in the robes of righteousness, as we walk in the Torah and we follow the Creators cycle each year, starting with every Shabbat! Any other attempts at worship that do not follow His clear instructions, are nothing more than man-made traditions and rules that have removed the Hand of יהוה through the holding fast of vain traditions and dogmas of man! The robes our fathers wore were wrong robes! They were clothed in dysfunction, as they had done evil in the eyes of יהוה. Evil in Hebrew is the word רַע ra – Strong’s H7451 meaning, bad, evil, wicked, harmful’.  Just as we understand that טוֹב  to (which means good) 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 an abnormal and unhealthy lifestyle that is not functioning as it should. In being dysfunctional our fathers had forsaken Elohim, and the Hebrew word for ‘forsaken’ is עָזַב  azaḇ - Strong’s H5800  and means, to leave, forsake, loose, loosen, abandon, leave behind, neglect’.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 3:3 “Let not loving-commitment and truth forsake you – bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart

Anyone who claims to serve יהוה without walking in and giving heed to follow His Torah, commands and instructions are not serving in Truth and have by default of their lawlessness forsaken Him. And those who claim that the Torah/Law of Elohim has been done away with are sadly riddled with the leaven of the hypocrisy of man’s theologies and dogmas that seeks only to serve self rather than the Giver of Life, while claiming the opposite! In verse 6 we are further told that the fathers had not only forsaken Elohim, but in doing so had turned their faces away from the Dwelling Place. The Hebrew word used here for ‘turned’ is סָבַב saḇaḇ – Strong’s H5437 which means, to turn about, go around, encircle, turn around, and often describes a change of mind or attitude; and a changed mind or attitude can involve a changed condition before יהוה. Here it is used in the negative sense in that they turned away from the Truth to serve themselves, as we see the description progress here, by telling us that they had given their backs! This is a clear picture of rebellion, and the Hebrew word used here for ‘backs’ is עֹרֶף oreph – Strong’s H6203 which means, back, neck, and is often translated as ‘stiff-necked’, which also has the figurative meaning of ‘apostasy, unyielding’, which is often the result of the pride of traditions that many refuse to let go of! To turn your back on someone or something is symbolic of rejecting and separating yourself form that person or thing.

In verse 7 we are given more insight into the terrible trespasses of the fathers:

1 – They shut the door of the porch; 2 – They put out the lamps; 3 – They did not burn incense; 4 – They did not offer ascending offerings!

The porch being referred to here would be the entrance to the Hěḵal, known as Shelomoh’s porch, and here we are able to see the application of the word in the lives of our fathers, who closed the door of appointment and changed the Sabbath observance to another day! By doing this the entire service of the priesthood gets neglected!

Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:10 “Who among you who would shut the doors, so that you would not kindle fire on My altar for naught? I have no pleasure in you,” said יהוה of hosts, “Nor do I accept an offering from your hands.

When you close the proper doors of Appointment, then no offering is acceptable before Him. There are so many people today who are bringing vain offerings on wrong days to Elohim, as they have refused to remove the falsehood of the fathers because the true doors of proper Sabbath-keeping remain shut to their ears!

Part of the duty of the priesthood was to keep the lamps burning on the lampstand in the Set-Apart Place, and because of the Sabbath and Feast doors having been shut by the stiff-necked traditions of our fathers, they put out the light of truth and walked in ignorant darkness – all due to a closed door – The Sabbath! The Sabbath is a door to the true light being lit and kept burning for the House! With these doors of the porch being shut and the lights out, no proper prayer or worship could be rendered. They did not burn incense which pictures for us the prayers of the set-apart ones being neglected, and so all that was left for our fathers to do in their stubbornness and pride, was orchestrate and develop a fabricated form of worship that has no reverence or power before Elohim, but is simply abominable in His eyes!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 15:8 “The slaughtering of the wrong ones Is an abomination to יהוה, but the prayer of the straight is His delight.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 28:9 “He who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, even his prayer is an abomination.

With no ascending offerings being offered we are able to see a picture of a slack people! We are told in Romiyim/Romans 12:1 to offer up our bodies as a daily living sacrifice, as our reasonable worship before Elohim, and in doing so we cannot be slack in any way!

It is because of this slackness and stiff-necked attitude of a rebellious people that the wrath of Elohim was poured out, and He is coming again, in wrath, to destroy all His opponents – those who are unwilling to yield and submit to His Torah and serve and worship Him in Spirit and Truth! Verse 9 makes it clear that it was because of the lies of the fathers that we were held captive, and as we turn to Master we are able to be set free from the heavy yokes of vain traditions that hold captive the masses under the delusion of their falsely proclaimed freedom from the Torah of Elohim!

When we return to Elohim and acknowledge the crookedness of our sins and the sins of our fathers, we are able to be cleansed and washed in the Blood of Messiah and be clothed in His white garments of righteousness, doing our utmost to stay clean and set-apart as we guard to do all He commands us, expressing our love for Him through a complete surrender unto Him as a chosen, royal and set-apart priesthood that is able to offer up the true slaughterings of thanksgiving each and every day!

Acknowledging what we have come out of is one thing, and this we are able to do when we repair a proper Sabbath Keeping, yet this is not where it stops! We have a duty and a responsibility, as priests, to serve with perfection! Here in verse 11 we are clearly told that we must not be slack! The Hebrew word translated as ‘slack’ is שָׁלָה shalah – Strong’s H7952 which can mean, to be negligent, deceive, mislead. Deception leads to negligence and this we are to be on guard against, as we learn to be a set-apart people that are able to distinguish between the set-apart and profane, through our continual guarding of the commands of Elohim, and the meditation of His Torah being ever present in our lives, day and night!

יהוה has ‘chosen’ us, and the Hebrew word for ‘chosen’ is בָּחַר baḥar – Strong’s H977 and means, to choose, choicest, selected, preferred, and this word is used to express that choosing which has ultimate and eternal significance. We see in Scripture how יהוה chooses a people, certain tribes, specific individuals, and a place for His Name; and in all these cases service and obedience is at the heart of the choosing. Thus יהוה chose Yisra’ĕl to be set-apart and thereby to serve as His witness among the nations. His choosing us has eternal significance!!! His choice is forever!!! The expected response of the chosen is loving obedience and complete commitment in an uncompromised service to the One who has chosen us!

Yoḥanan/John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He might give you.

יהושע makes it very clear to us here in Yoḥanan/John 15 that we did not choose Him, but He chose us – and our acceptance to His choosing implies that we understand and acknowledge our needed response, which is to obey, and in doing so we relinquish and forfeit all ‘choice for self’ – simply because we accept our choosing and realise that we are no longer our own, but rather belong to Him who has purchased us with His own Blood – hence we are called The Chosen!

What has He chosen us to do? To STAND before Him and to SERVE Him!

The Hebrew word translated as ‘stand’ is עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975 which carries the meaning, to take one’s stand, present oneself, abide, appoint, arise, stay, be steadfast, remain, be or become a servant’. So when Sha’ul instructs us in Eph’siyim/Ephesians to put on the Armour of Elohim and STAND, STAND and STAND, he is reminding us of our responsibility as a priesthood that must be properly dressed in righteousness and SERVE! The Hebrew word translated here as ‘serve’ is שָׁרַת  sharath – Strong’s H8334  which means, to minister, serve, attend, and is the same word used in Shemoth/Exodus 28:35 when speaking about the garments and the pomegranates and bells that would be upon the hem of the robe, all around, that Aharon, the High Priest should ‘attend’ in when going in or coming out of the Most Set-Apart Place.

יהושע said Himself that He came to serve and not to be served and so should it be with us as we are clothed in His priestly garments of His Word!

Marqos/mark 10:42-45 “And יהושע, calling them near, said to them, “You know that those who think to rule the gentiles are masters over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 “And whoever wishes to be first among you, shall be servant of all. 45 “For even the Son of Aḏam did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

We are to be in service unto יהוה, and burn incense which speaks of us being a sweet fragrance:

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 2:14-16 “But thanks be to Elohim who always leads us on, to overcome in Messiah, and manifests through us the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 Because we are to Elohim the fragrance of Messiah among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death to death, and to the other the fragrance of life to life. And who is competent for these?

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:1-2 “Become, then, imitators of Elohim as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Messiah also has loved us, and gave Himself for us, a gift and an offering to Elohim for a sweet-smelling fragrance.

A duty of the priests was to keep the lamps burning – and so we recognise the clear call here to not be slack, but STAND,SERVE AND SHINE!

The way you STAND, SERVE and SHINE is to walk in the commands, and guard His Torah through complete obedience that is strengthened in the joy of our Master!

Many people ask how they are supposed to shine, and the answer is simple: guard the Word and do not compromise, be strong and bold in living out a set-apart life unto the Master, then you will shine. You cannot shine if you back down or give in to pressure, threats or compromise for the assumed delusion of peace, when our Master said that He did not come to bring peace but a sword!

As you consider your life, when looking intently into the mirror of the Word, let me ask you – have you been slack in your required duties as a royal, chosen and set-apart priesthood? Have been negligent in your need to stand, serve and shine?

Then here the clear and urgent Covenant call given here tonight, as we too have acknowledged that our fathers trespassed:

DO NOT BE SLACK – STAND, SERVE AND SHINE!

 

I started with a verse from Galatiyim/Galatians and I will close with that verse along with the two that follow:

Galatiyim/Galatians 6:6-8 “Do not be led astray: Elohim is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap. 8 Because he who sows to his own flesh shall reap corruption from the flesh, but he who sows to the Spirit shall reap everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

יהוה bless you and guard you, יהוה make His face shine upon you and give you favour, יהוה lift up His face toward you and give you Shalom!