ELOHIM IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH! - Psalm 46

10th of the 4th month 2015/2016

Shabbat Shalom all,

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of יהוה is strong trust, and His children have a place of refuge.

The Hebrew term for ‘strong trust’ is מִבְטַח־עֹזmiḇtaḥ oz, which is from two words: 1) עֹז oz – Strong’s H5797 which means, strength, might, fortress, power, stronghold, and comes from the root verb עָזַז azaz – Strong’s H5810 which means, to be strong, be brazen, prevail, display boldness, and 2) מִבְטָח miḇtaḥ - Strong’s H4009 which means, confidence, secure, security, whom you trust’, which comes from the root בָּטַח bataḥ - Strong’s H982 which means, to trust, rely on, feel confident and secure. When we walk in the fear of יהוה, as we should, then we have the firm assurance of being strengthened in our confidence and trust in Him, and are strengthened to prevail and stand firm in complete faith of our Mighty Elohim, knowing that in Him we have a secure place of refuge! The Hebrew word used here for ‘refuge’ is מַחְסֶה maḥseh – Strong’s H4268 which means, refuge, shelter, which comes from the root verb חָסָה ḥasah – Strong’s H2620 which means, to seek refuge, have hope, put trust in (Elohim)’.

Naḥum/Nahum 1:7יהוה is good, as a stronghold in the day of distress. And He knows those who take refuge in Him.

Taking refuge in יהוה expresses a deeper intimate relationship of one who fully trusts in and relies upon יהוה, by holding on to the sure hope of deliverance being made complete, as they work out their deliverance with fear and trembling, by walking wholeheartedly in the clear Torah of Elohim!

In a short message tonight called, ‘ELOHIM IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH!’, I want us to be reminded of this truth as we put our complete trust in our Mighty Redeemer, Master and Elohim! Please turn with me to a great song and declaration of this clear fact as we read Tehillah/Psalm 46 (Read).

The introduction or heading of this Tehillah is:

 לַמְנַצֵּחַ לִבְנֵי־קֹרַח עַל־עֲלָמוֹת שִׁיר׃ – ‘lam’natseyaḥ liḇney-qoraḥ al-alamoth shiyr, which literally translates as:

 

To the choirmaster of the sons of Qoraḥ upon alamoth. A Song!

 

The term ‘alamoth’ is only used twice in Scripture (here as a title for this song and in Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 15:20 in reference to those who played with harps to Alamoth)! It is understood to be a musical term and it is the plural of the word עַלְמָה almah – Strong’s H5959 which means, a young woman, virgin, maiden, which is the feminine of the word עֶלֶם elem – Strong’s H5958 which means, youth, young man. It was common in Scripture for maidens to play tambourines along with the singers:

Tehillah/Psalm 68:25 “The singers went in front, the players on instruments after them; among them were the maidens playing tambourines.

We know in Scripture that the account of the rebellion of Qoraḥ in the Wilderness teaches us a great lesson on our need to properly submit to our Master and Elohim as our only True and safe covering. In Bemiḏbar/Numbers 16 we are given the account of what happened to Qoraḥ and all those with him, as the earth swallowed them up; yet we are told in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 26:11 that not all the sons of Qoraḥ died, showing us that not all of the sons of Qoraḥ were ‘with him’, so to speak, and by this I mean that it stands to reason that there were some of his sons that were not in agreement with their father’s falsehood and lies and rebellion! The same is true for us today who have discovered that our fathers have inherited lies – we have distanced ourselves from the rebellion in which they walked and have separated ourselves from all that represents disobedience to the Torah. When the congregation was told to get away from the tents of Qoraḥ, some of his sons had the wisdom to listen and move and so have their lives preserved as they heeded the warning and obeyed the instructions of Elohim as given through Mosheh!

This song for the sons of Qoraḥ upon the ‘maidens’ is a powerful lesson for us in recognising the praise we are to have for our Elohim who is our refuge and strength in times of trouble. The sons of Qoraḥ that did not die in the Wilderness had not joined themselves in the rebellion of their father but sought refuge and help from Elohim!

This song, therefore, is a song of praise that is sung in acknowledgement of the clear and true reality that Elohim is our only refuge and strength – no matter what may happen in the earth! The earth had swallowed up Qorah, yet those who put their trust in יהוה and followed the instructions of Mosheh to be separated from all rebellion, were delivered from distress!

In Verse 1  we see the two Hebrew words for refuge and strength being used, as in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 14:6 that I mentioned at the start. Elohim is our ‘refuge’ - מַחְסֶה maḥseh – Strong’s H4268 and ‘strength’ - עֹז oz – Strong’s H5797.

The Hebrew word used for ‘refuge’ - מַחְסֶה maḥseh – Strong’s H4268, and its root חָסָה ḥasah – Strong’s H2620 is collectively used well over 50 times in Scripture, with the predominant use of these being found in the Tehillim/Psalms and other poetic and prophetic literature!

What we recognise with these words is that while they both can be used literally in terms of taking refuge from a rainstorm, as in:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 4:6 “and a booth for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 25:4 “For You shall be a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm, a shade from the heat. For the spirit of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall.

We also take note that these words are more often than not used figuratively of seeking refuge and therefore putting complete trust and confidence in Elohim!

We are able to see from Scripture the clear results of taking refuge in Elohim:

1 – When we take refuge in Him we are blessed:

Tehillah/Psalm 2:12 “Kiss the Son, lest He be enraged, and you perish in the way, for soon His wrath is to be kindled. Blessed are all those taking refuge in Him.

2 – We are saved by His Right Hand when we take refuge in Him:

Tehillah/Psalm 97:7 “Let Your kindness be distinguished, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge From those who rise up.

3 – We are able to rejoice when we take refuge in Him:

Tehillah/Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever shout for joy, because You shelter them; and let those who love Your Name exult in You.

4 – We find and experience the greatness of the goodness of Elohim when we take refuge in Him:

Tehillah/Psalm 31:19 “How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those fearing You, which You have prepared for those taking refuge in You In the sight of the sons of men!

5 – We have the sure promise of inheritance and possession when we take refuge in Him:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 57:13 “When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind shall bear them all away, a breath take them. But he who takes refuge in Me shall inherit the land, and possess My set-apart mountain.

The idea of taking refuge may certainly be derived from the experiences of fugitives or men at war that would find shelter in the hills and find protection against their enemies. We know in Scripture that the term ‘refuge’ is used as an epithet for Elohim! An epithet is a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing. What Scripture repeatedly reveals to us is that יהוה, above all, is our Refuge, our Shelter and our Stronghold, and complete trust in Him protects those who take refuge in Him.

Tehillah/Psalm 118:8-9 “It is better to take refuge in יהוה than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in יהוה than to trust in princes.

He is a secure shield to those who take refuge in Him:

Tehillah/Psalm 18:30 “The Ěl – His way is perfect; the Word of יהוה is proven; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

The analogy of taking refuge in יהוה can also be pictured in Scripture by the proper dwelling in His Tent which speaks of walking in complete set-apartness before Elohim and staying in Him!

Tehillah/Psalm 61:4 “Let me dwell in Your Tent forever, let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.”

The Hebrew word used here for ‘tent’ is אֹהֶל ohel – Strong’s H168 which means, tentand is symbolic of wilderness life, and this is also the same word used for the Tabernacle. We see this word being used in:

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 24:5 “How good are your tents, O Yaʽaqoḇ, your dwellings, O Yisra’ĕl!

The Hebrew word used here for ‘tents’ is the plural of the root word אֹהֶל ohel – Strong’s H168 and the root word used here for ‘dwellings’ is from the root word מִשְׁכָּן mishkan – Strong’s H4908 which comes from the root word שָׁכַן shaḵan – Strong’s H7931 which means, to settle down, abide, dwell, establish, make or cause to dwell. The term מִשְׁכָּן mishkan is used here in the plural, and we take note that this is the same word used in the singular for ‘The Tabernacle’. We take note that both these words - אֹהֶל ohel and מִשְׁכָּן mishkan are used for the Tabernacle and there is often the questioned raised of whether one represents the inner part of the Tabernacle while the other the outer, yet this cannot be definitively shown. What we do recognise however is that in the uses of these two words, that are collectively used for the Tabernacle, we may be able to see that the אֹהֶל ohel is often the place where man/congregation meets with Elohim; whereas the מִשְׁכָּן mishkan may be likened to the expression of Elohim dwelling amidst the nation of Yisra’ĕl.

What we can possibly understand in these two words is that the אֹהֶל ohel pictures our sojourning here, as ‘in the tents of Ya’aqoḇ’, and how we have been given the Appointed Times/Feasts of יהוה for us to come and meet with Him, in the Tent of Appointment; whereas the מִשְׁכָּן mishkan pictures for us the fullness of the Dwelling of Elohim in our midst, when He shall come and be with us forever, and we shall be made to dwell with Him forever!

Why I am mentioning this is to highlight a clearer understanding if what is means to properly take refuge in Elohim, and from this we can see that a proper keeping of His Sabbaths and Appointed Times is critical to any believer seeking proper refuge in Him!

This Tehillah/Psalm 46 is a beautifully constructed song of praise for Elohim our refuge and strength, as we see it is broken down into 3 sections: verses 1-3; 4-7 and 8-11. You will notice at the end of verse 3, 7 and 11 that the term ‘selah’ is used. The Hebrew word סֶלָה selah – Strong’s H5542 means, lift up, exalt, and is used frequently in the Tehillim/Psalms as a technical musical term, probably showing accentuation, pause, or interruption, and is often understood as meaning, pause and think about, or ‘stop for a moment and consider what has just been said.

In such a short song we see 3 ‘stop and think about’ pauses being giving, highlighting the need for us to actually take a proper and careful consideration of who our refuge is!

In the first section, that is in verses 1-3 we are able to identify with the sure faith we have in Elohim as we are able to acknowledge and recognise that He is our help in time of need. He is not only our help in distress but He comforts us times of trouble and delivers us from trouble! He is our protection and while the waters may rage and mountains may shake, we need not fear! How often have you stopped to think about this clear truth?

The Hebrew word for ‘help’ is עֶזְרָה ezrah – Strong’s H5833 which means, help, helper, assistance, support, which comes from the word עֵזֶר ezer – Strong’s H5828 which means, a help, helper, one who helps and we see this word being used in a Psalm:

Tehillah/Psalm 121:1-2 “A song of degrees. I lift up my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from יהוה , maker of the heavens and earth.

The word used here for ‘distress’ is צָרָה tsarah – Strong’s H6869 which means, ‘affliction, anguish, distress, trouble, tightness’  and is from the word, צַר tsar – Strong’s H6862 that can mean, ‘adversary, enemy, foe’ and this word is also often translated as tribulation, which teaches us a vital lesson of realising that in the very distressing times that lay ahead, our help is in our Master and Elohim alone – יהוה of Hosts who fights for us and covers us under the shadow of His wings!

The Hebrew root word translated as ‘soon found’ is מָצָא matsa – Strong’s H4672 – ‘to attain, find, locate, discover.

With the concept of being able to find something reveals that it needs to be sought after. Not that it is lost but that it needs to be discovered and learnt. While in many ways the Word was lost to us while being right in front of us, we thank יהוה for opening our eyes that we may seek and find! As we guard the commands and watch over the Torah and do not let loving-commitment and truth be forsaken, we shall find favour and help in times of distress – but we must be seeking!!!

In properly seeking our Elohim of refuge in whom we put our total confidence and trust, we are strengthened in His Word and need not fear what will take place in the earth! This is very important for us to understand as we recognise that a proper seeking of Elohim and the proper taking of refuge in Him will not breed panic and fear but rather confidence and trust!

This Tehillah/Psalm 46 is rich in imagery and the structure of the images given here are clearly enclosed by ‘earth’! We need not fear, even though the earth changes, or if the earth melts, for we know that יהוה is exalted in the earth and we who take refuge in Him need not fear!!!

The imagery in verses 1-3 speaks of the physical world, while the imagery of verses 4-6 forms a clear contrast between the “city of Elohim,” that is blessed by the quiet presence of Elohim symbolised here as “river” and “streams,” and the noisy instability of the “nations” and “reigns” that “rage” and “topple”. The nations and reigns are brought to nothing as the earth melts when Elohim speaks. While this is a very daunting image and a very frightening to the hearers of the song, we take note of use of verse 7 which is repeated at the end of this song, and is used to instil confidence and trust in the one who seeks refuge in Elohim! The announcement here of, “יהוה of Hosts is with us”, instils a confident declaration and acknowledgement of who it is who fights for us and in whom we shall find our refuge!

The wrath of Elohim is coming upon the earth and upon the sons of disobedience, yet all who find refuge in Him are safe and not guilty!

In verses 8-10 we see the imagery of war, as we see the terms ‘bows, spears and chariots’ being used! What is clear here is that Elohim is the one who will destroy the works of the enemy here on earth! You will notice that verse 8 ends with ‘earth’ and verse 10 also ends with ‘earth’ and, in terms of the imagery of war, we take note the clear declaration of the One who is victorious – The I AM is exalted in the earth, clearly revealing to us that every knee will be bow and confess that He is Master and Elohim!!!

This Psalm ends as it begins – Elohim is our refuge!!! The Aleph and Taw – the Beginning and the End is our refuge!!!

As we consider this song being referenced or titled in terms of the sons of Qoraḥ upon the maidens, we can begin to understand the clear song that is to be upon our lips as represented by the 5 wise maidens who have their lamps filled with oil and are earnestly seeking Elohim with all their heart, as a Bride who is preparing Herself and is watching, waiting and guarding in compete set-apartness!

This song of Qoraḥ for the maidens is a lesson on how we have separated ourselves from the rebellion of the inherited lies of our fathers and declares the only One true refuge, strength and stronghold, as we find our help in Elohim alone with the full assurance that, as we stay in Him, we need not fear the distress that is coming upon the earth!

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 16:19-21 “O יהוה, my strength and my stronghold and my refuge, in the day of distress the gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility, and there is no value in them.” 20 Would a man make mighty ones for himself, which are not mighty ones? 21 “Therefore see, I am causing them to know, this time I cause them to know My hand and My might. And they shall know that My Name is יהוה!

As we consider how crazy the world is getting and how the wickedness of man has reached the levels of the depravity of the days of Noaḥ we must take courage and comfort in seeking our refuge and strength in Elohim alone, knowing that despite the imminent days of distress that shall soon be found, we need not fear – but rather acknowledge and declare that יהוה of Hosts is with us, and the Elohim of Yaʽaqoḇ is our refuge. Selah.

Perhaps you have been facing some extremely tough and trying times of late, and perhaps your strength has been weakened by the worries of this age. Tonight I want you to be reminded who your only true refuge and strength is and take a moment to carefully consider the greatness and power of our Mighty Master and Elohim!

יהוה of Hosts is with usand ELOHIM IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH! – SELAH!!!

As we enjoy the true ‘selah’ moment of recognising who it is who fights for us, and in whom we find our strength, let us enjoy the ability we have in giving our Mighty Master and Elohim, who is our refuge and strength, the praise that is due to His Name as we sing together the wonderful song written by Marcia:

 

For those who are reading these notes you can listen to this song by clicking on the following link and selecting ‘Refuge’, or by going to our site (http://atfotc.com) and going to the music menu and find this song on the album ‘True Worship’ :

http://atfotc.com/index.php/music/33-worship-music/true-worship/185-true-worship

REFUGE (PSALM 27)

(WORDS & MUSIC BY M.RHEEDER)

 

REFUGE, STRONGHOLD, SHELTER FROM THE STORM

יהוה, SAVIOUR, OF A WOMAN BORN, I SAY X2

 

I CRY ALOUD AND IN YOUR LOVING MERCY YOU ANSWERED ME

I REACH FOR YOU, IN TIMES OF TROUBLE YOU ARE NOT FAR FROM ME

MY LIGHT, MY SONG, YOU LIFT ME UP YOU DO NOT ABANDON ME

YOU’RE MY...

 

YOUR INVITATION COMES TO MY HEART, יהוה

YOU’RE ASKING ME TO SEEK YOUR FACE

I’LL SEEK YOUR FACE WITH ALL THAT I AM, יהוה

COME AND MEET ME IN THIS PLACE

 

THERE’S ONE THING THAT I ASK OF YOU NOW, יהוה

THE THING THAT I WILL ALWAYS PURSUE

FOREVER JUST TO DWELL IN YOUR HOUSE, יהוה

ETERNALLY TO BE WITH YOU

YOU’RE MY...

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to and give you shalom!