WOE TO REBELLION AND DEFILEMENT! - Zephaniah 3:1-2

13th of the 6th month 2015/2016

Shabbat Shalom all,

Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 12:14-15 If you fear יהוה, and shall serve Him and obey His voice, and not rebel against the command of יהוה, then both you and the sovereign who reigns over you shall follow יהוה your Elohim. 15 “But if you do not obey the voice of יהוה, and shall rebel against the command of יהוה, then the hand of יהוה shall be against you, as it was against your fathers.

These were the words that Shemuʼěl spoke to Yisra’ĕl after they had asked for a sovereign, and what was made very clear to them was that they were never to find themselves rebelling against the command of יהוה, but were to continually fear Him, serve Him and obey His voice! As I was reading through many of the prophets this past week I was struck by this same warning that was continually being given and despite the many warnings we find that many simply refused to obey and they suffered as the result of defiling their set-apartness unto יהוה. Today is no different, as we see many people, who claim to be worshippers of the Most High, simply being defiled in their continued disobedience and rebellion toward His Torah and commands. Many are refusing the clear discipline of the Word being active in their daily lives and hate being instructed in the proper Way, as they fall prey to misleading guidance of muddied teachings given by ear ticklers who have twisted the Truth for self-gain. Obedience to the Truth is something that is very foreign to most people today and the remnant few who are seeking to walk in the Way of our Master and Elohim must be on guard against the dangers of being influenced by negative and corrupt people and their compromised lifestyles that can cause one’s garments of set-apartness to become defiled. So we, as faithful and trustworthy hearers and doers of the Word, must give ear to take heed of the severe warnings that we find in the Word, in order to guard ourselves against anything that may defile our garments of righteousness that we are to be clothed in!

In a message tonight called, “WOE TO REBELLION AND DEFILEMENT!” may our ears be clearly open to hear the severe woe that our Might Master and Elohim speaks against her that is rebellious and defiled. The woe that I want us to look a little more closely at tonight is that which we see being given in:

Tsephanyah/Zephaniah 3:1-2 “Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! 2 She did not obey the voice, she did not accept instruction, she did not trust in יהוה, she did not draw near to her Elohim.

As I was reading through the various prophets and came to this clear ‘woe’ being given against a very rebellious and defiled city, I was gripped by the clear warnings we find being so relevant to us all today, and identify with the pattern of many who are being rebellious and becoming defiled as a result of compromise and disobedience!

Tsephanyah is often a book regarded by many as being the ‘hottest book’ in Scripture, as it speaks more about the coming Day of יהוה than any other prophet. In fact the entire book’s message is centred on the coming Day of יהוה with the call to repentance clearly being given to all who are walking in darkness through their rebellious and lustful living. The more I read through this book the more I come to grips just how alive it is for us today, and how we ought to give careful thought as to how we look, when looking intently in to the mirror of the Word and hear the very striking words given through this prophet.

The name of the prophet צְפַנְיָה Tsephanyah – Strong’s H6846 means ‘Hidden by יהוה’ or ‘Treasured by יהוה’ and comes from the word צָפַן tsaphan – Strong’s H6845 which means, to hide, treasure, store, conceal.

We need to recognise how important it is for us, as sons and daughters of Elohim, to be found treasuring up The Word of יהוה in our hearts! Now treasuring up does not signify a collection of wisdom that is hidden away and never used, but rather it symbolises the devotion that a true child of Elohim has toward the hearing, guarding and doing of His Word, for the treasuring up of His Word in our hearts will equip us to walk humbly before Him and live set-apart lives according to His treasured Word, with the firm hope of us being hidden in Him and by Him on the day of His wrath!

Being ‘Treasured by יהוה’ is a great picture of encouragement to us as we see the promise of protection for those who are hidden in יהוה.   

Tehillah/Psalm 27:5 “For in the day of evil He hides me in His booth; in the covering of His Tent He hides me; on a rock He raises me up.

With the encouragement of the promise of protection also comes responsibility! A responsibility of being confident in our Master and being bold and courageous to speak His pure message of Truth, even if it means proclaiming the ear piercing ‘woe’ that many need to hear, lest they find themselves being destroyed for rebellion and the defilement of set-apartness!

The Day of יהוה is not presented as a pleasant picture and while many are revelling in the drunkenness of rebellion and marching to the sound of the rebellious whore, it is the treasured and hidden ones of יהוה that are being called to speak out the severe ‘woe’ against such rebellion, defilement and oppression!

Tsephanyah was born during the 55 year reign of the wicked and rebellious king, Menashsheh.

Menashsheh had built up all the high places that his father Ḥizqiyahu had destroyed and he raised up altars for Ba’al, bowed himself to the hosts of the heavens and worshipped them and built two altars to the hosts of the heavens in the courtyards of the House of יהוה.  He made his son pass through the fire, and practised magic, and used divination, and consulted spiritists and mediums and did much evil in the eyes of יהוה, to provoke Him. Yehuḏah had become as rebellious and wicked as Yisra’ĕl under the pathetic reign of Aḥaḇ. Menashsheh died and his son Amon reigned for 2 years and was as wicked as his father and was killed by his own servants. Yoshiyahu/Josiah, Amon’s son, was then set up as king when he was 8 years old and walked in the ways of Dawiḏ. Yoshiyahu was the uncle of Tsephanyah and it was during the reign of Yoshiyahu that Tsephanyah prophesied these words. It was after the death of Yoshiyahu that things got worse and the destruction of the temple came 23 years later. Tsephanyah may have been alive to see this dreadful day which was a foreshadowing of the dark and wrathful day of יהוה that is to come, about which he prophesied.

Many would not heed the words of Tsephanyah when spoken, just as many today are also settled in their complacent ways and are rejecting the warning alarm sound of the shofar that will usher in the great and dreadful events of the Day of יהוה! Instead of hearing, they are dancing to the sick and twisted sound of falsified worship practices which are an abomination before יהוה and in doing so they clearly reveal their wilful rebellion and defilement of His Word in their daily lives.

This chapter begins with a ‘woe to the rebellious, defiled and oppressive’ – that is to those who do not hear His voice, do not accept instruction and do not place their trust in יהוה, and therefore do not draw near to Elohim!

This woe is as much alive today as it was then – for so many do not obey THE VOICE. I find it very interesting in the application and timing of this message of Tsephanyah, for he prophesied during the reign of Yoshiyahu – which was a reign of restoration and repentance and a returning to obedience! Yoshiyahu had a wicked father and grandfather and repented of the lies of his fathers.

The story of Yoshiyahu is of special significance to us of this ministry as we too had a Yoshiyahu (Josiah) awakening as we found the Torah and made the necessary changes in our worship as we stripped away, destroyed and smashed much of the pagan worship practices that we had inherited. So what I find very critical for us here today is that we too are to heed these words of Tsephanyah, being careful not to become full of pride and settled in our discovery of the Truth but rather we should be continually walking in humility and forsake not our need to be a voice calling many back to Truth.

As we consider this clear woe, I would like us to take a look a little more closely at these words contained here in verses 1 and 2, so that we can be sober, watchful, alert and ready to guard righteousness and proclaim the Truth!

Here in this chapter we see a very severe ‘woe’ being proclaimed – and the Hebrew root word translated as ‘woe’ is הוֹי hoy – Strong’s H1945 which means, woe, alas! ah! and is the prolonged form of הוֹ ho – Strong’s H1930 and is akin or similar to the word אוֹי oy – Strong’s H188 which means, woe . We often hear the term ‘hoy vey/oy vey’ which, in essence, expresses a cry of grief or sorrow and declares, ‘woe is me!’, as one faces pain and regret; with the construction of two Hebrew words - אוֹי oy – Strong’s H188 and אֲבוֹי aḇoy – Strong’s H17 which is a primary interjection which means, oh! sorrow, grief, and both of these can be found in:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 23:29 “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who feels hurt without cause? Who has redness of eyes?”… answer… :30 “Those staying long at the wine, those going in to search out mixed wine.

As we consider this proverb we recognise that we must: LOOK AT THE VINE… NOT AT THE WINE!!!

Why I am sharing this with you is to get a clear picture of how this very emotional exclamation – הוֹי hoy – we see throughout Scripture, is being used as a severe warning and call to repentance, while clearly declaring the fate of those who refuse to hear and turn from wickedness and sin.

This woe was given to a city that was supposed to be set-apart, yet had become defiled through rebellion, oppression and outright defilement with the world. While the woe is given to the physical city, we take note that these words are clearly directed at the people of the city, and we realise that we who are living stones being built up as a spiritual house, a set-apart priesthood, in order to offer spiritual slaughter offerings that are pleasing to Elohim, must pursue and guard our apartness, having ears attentive to the severe woe given against rebellion and defilement!

The Hebrew word used here for ‘rebellious’ is מֹרְאָה ‘mor’ah – which comes from the root verb מָרָה marah – Strong’s H4784 meaning, to be contentious, disobedient, hostile, provoke, openly defiant of authority. 14 times in Yeḥezqěl we see the term ‘rebellious house’ being used in reference to Yisra’ĕl who had transgressed, stiffened their hearts and refused to hear and obey the clear commands of Elohim!

In the words that the prophet Shemuʼěl spoke to the wicked king Sha’ul we see the following:

Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 15:23For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of יהוה, He also does reject you as sovereign.

What יהוה makes very clear in His Word is that one who is ‘rebellious’ is in no way different to one who uses magic, conjures spells or calls up the dead etc.! The rebellious are hostile and openly defy authority, being contentious and proud, causing strivings against the true set-apart ones, as a result of their desires for the lusts of the flesh that drive them away from walking according to the spirit in complete set-apartness. This woe is for such stubborn and proud ones!

The Hebrew word translated as ‘defiled’ is וְנִגְאָלָה ‘venig’alah’ which comes from the root word גָּאַל ga’al – Strong’s H1351 which means, to defile, stain, be unclean, be polluted, desecrate. In both of the accounts that are recorded in the books of Ezra and Neḥemyah we take note that when a register was taken of those who had returned to Yehuḏah and Yerushalayim, there were some who sought their register among those who were counted by genealogy, but they were not found, so they were barred from the priesthood as ‘defiled’.

Those who are not grafted in to the Covenants of Promise by the Blood of Messiah will find that their names will not be found in His genealogy and will be barred from the priesthood as being defiled! That is to say that those who rebel against the proper obedience to the Torah of our Master and Elohim defile themselves and will be rejected for being defiled!

The Hebrew translated as ‘oppressing’ is from the root verb יָנָה yanah – Strong’s H3238 which means, to oppress, maltreat, suppress, do wrong, mistreat, treat violently, destroy. Due to rebellion, many were being oppressed, which is something that יהוה makes very clear in His Word that we are not to do. We are not to oppress anyone! We are not to oppress our neighbour, the stranger, fatherless, widows, poor and needy!

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25:17 “And do not oppress one another, but you shall fear your Elohim. For I am יהוה your Elohim.

Oppression of others is as the result of rebellion and defilement, as those who are rebellious do not consider others as they ought to and only look out for themselves being filled with severe selfishness and pride.

As we consider the fatal state of what should have been a set-apart city, we take note from the next verse the very things that are the clear markings that identify the rebellious and defiled!

The rebellious and defiled not only oppress others to get their own way, they are marked by what they do not do.

The rebellious and defiled DO NOT:

  1. 1)Obey the voice of יהוה
  2. 2)Accept instruction
  3. 3)Trust in יהוה
  4. 4)Draw near to Elohim

These 4 things are the sure signs or markings of rebellion and defilement, and when one looks at these four markers, we take note of the progression or process that unfolds as the result of rebellion, which can actually be explained in two ways:

  1. 1)The inability to draw near to Elohim is the result of a lack of trust, which is primarily due to a clear refusal to accept discipline and instruction that is given for disobedience to the Word.
  2. 2)Disobedience will cause one to refuse discipline and correction resulting in a complete lack of trust in יהוה, causing one to drift through compromise and draw away from Elohim and the gathering of the set-apart ones!

Let us quickly look at each of these characteristics of rebellion and defilement!

The literal rendering of verse 2 from the Hebrew could be translated as:

NO obedience to the voice; NO acceptance of instruction; in יהוה NO trust; to her Elohim NO drawing near!

The Hebrew word translated as ‘NOT’ is לאֹ lo – Strong’s H3808 which is the primitive adverb that means, not, no, never, neither! Let us look at what the rebellious and defiled do not do!

1 - DO NOT OBEY THE VOICE OF יהוה

The Hebrew term for ‘obey’ is שָׁמַע  shama – Strong’s H8085 which does not just mean ‘hear’, but rather it means,  ‘to listen with attention, comprehend and discern, give heed to what is being spoken’. The rebellious and defiled do not have ears to hear, and are therefore giving no attention to what has been written in the Word and taking no heed to what is being spoken by the voice of יהוה! If they did listen attentively as they should they would not be so stupid and foolish, for anyone who is truly listening to what the Spirit is saying in the Word of Elohim will be very careful to guard uprightness and pursue set-apartness, in order to find themselves being hidden in יהוה on the day of His coming wrath!

The voice’ that is not being obeyed here is the voice of יהוה, which I do hope that you all recognise that. They did not obey His voice as spoken through His prophets!

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 29:19 “For they did not heed My words,’ declares יהוה, ‘which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, yet you did not listen,’ declares יהוה.

The Hebrew word for ‘voice’ is קוֹל qol – Strong’s H6963 which means, sound, voice, noise, thunder, proclamation, and comes from an unused root meaning, to call aloud. What is clear to us is that the VOICE of יהוה has been spoken and leaves the choice up to each individual of whether they will hear it or not – and by hearing I mean to hear it and respond to it by guarding to do what He commands!

In the ancient pictographic script the word קוֹל qol – Strong’s H6963 looks like this:

lamedwawquph

Quph – ק:

This is the Hebrew letter ‘quph’, which is pictured in the ancient script as – quph – which is a picture of ‘the sun at the horizon’ and depicts the elements of ‘time’, as it pictures the sun in its rising and setting. It therefore carries the meaning of ‘circle’ or ‘to go around’, representing for us both, appointed cycles or times as well as eternity. It also is understood as the ‘gathering of the light’.

 

Waw/Vav – וֹ:

This is the Hebrew letter ‘waw’ or ‘vav’ which in the ancient script is pictured as waw, which is 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 from slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’ as well as ‘bind’.

 

Lamed - לֵ:

The ancient script has this letter as lamed, and is pictured as a ‘shepherd’s staff’, can give the meaning of ‘to or toward’ and can represent that which pushes or pulls a flock in a direction, and can speak of authority or a yoke that is used to lead and guide, as well as the ability to bring back by Authority.

 

These letters combined can give the understanding of ‘gathering to the secure staff of the Good Eternal Shepherd’. When the shepherd called, the sheep came swiftly to him. The staff of the shepherd was his tool of authority. With it he would direct, discipline and protect the flock.

Our Good Shepherd’s voice has gone out, and by His Word that does not return empty, He has secured for us the ability to be brought back under His Authority, by His own Blood, and we as children of Light hear His voice, submit to His Authority, take His easy yoke and guard His Torah and gather together, as we should on His Sabbaths and Feasts!

If you do not do this then you clearly have misunderstood or do not know the power of His Voice.

Last year I gave a message called, ‘THE VOICE OF יהוה and looked at Tehillah/Psalm 29 which clearly described the power of His voice that we must listen very attentively to. We are told in:

Tehillah/Psalm 29:3-9 “The voice of יהוה is over the waters; the Ěl of esteem thunders; יהוה is over many waters. 4 The voice of יהוה is with power, the voice of יהוה is with greatness. 5 The voice of יהוה is breaking the cedars, יהוה is breaking the cedars of Leḇanon in pieces. 6 And He makes them skip like a calf, Leḇanon and Siryon like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of יהוה cuts through the flames of fire. 8 The voice of יהוה shakes the wilderness; יהוה shakes the Wilderness of Qaḏĕsh. 9 The voice of יהוה makes the deer give birth, and strips the forests bare; and in His Hĕḵal everyone says, “Esteem!

I simply wanted to read that to you to get a glimpse of what the Word teaches us regarding the voice of יהוה, and for more on this Tehillah/Psalm 29 please see the sermon notes of that message which you will find on our site (http://atfotc.com) under the sermons 2014 menu or by clicking on the following link:

http://atfotc.com/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2014/570-the-voice-of-psalm-29

The voice of יהוה – is the voice of our Good Shepherd – ‘are you listening – are you following?

Yoḥanan/John 10:27My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

2 - DO NOT ACCEPT INSTRUCTION!

The second thing that the rebellious do not do is that they do not accept instruction! The Hebrew word for ‘accept’ is לָקַח laqaḥ - Strong’s H3947 which carries the meaning, take, fetch, lay hold of, seize, snatch away, take away, lead. Mishlĕ/proverbs 10:8 “The wise in heart accepts commands, but one with foolish lips falls.

We can therefore state the obvious – the rebellious are not wise in heart, but are rather those who have foolish lips that are headed for a severe fall!

The Hebrew word used here for ‘instruction’ is מוּסָר musar – Strong’s H4148 which means, discipline, chastening, correction, reproof, punishment, warning, and comes from the primitive root verb יָסַר yasar – Strong’s H3256 which means, to discipline, admonish, correct, teach.

The word מוּסָר musar – Strong’s H4148 is used 50 times in Scripture, and of those 50 times, we see it being used in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 30 times, hence our clear understanding of how Mishlĕ/Proverbs carries a great and important theme of the discipline of wisdom that is needed in our lives! There is certainly great wisdom in true discipline!

True wisdom accepts the discipline and instruction of יהוה, and sadly there are many today who claim to love Elohim and claim to be followers of the Master, and will even recite many verses contained in the Covenants of Promise, while they so easily discard the need to walk in the Torah of Elohim, and quickly cast aside His clear instructions!

Tehillah/Psalm 50:16-17 “But to the wrong Elohim said, “What right have you to recite My laws, or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 “While you hated instruction and cast My Words behind you?

The Hebrew word used here in this Tehillah/Psalm 50 for ‘instruction’ is מוּסָר musar – Strong’s H4148! In other words, many will talk the talk, yet hate the walk, or rather hate the needed discipline required to live true set-apart lives, and will quickly cast the word of Elohim behind them, instead of letting it be a light for their path ahead of them!

The Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint) for ‘discipline’ is παιδεία paideia – Strong’s G3809 which means, the repairing of a child, training, discipline. It is used 6 times in the Renewed Writings (N.T.), 4 of which is found being used in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12 which deals with our need, as children of the Most High, to accept the much needed discipline of a Loving Father! It is also used in Sha’ul’s letter to Timotiyos and translated as ‘instruction’ in:

Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.

We need the Word to instruct us in righteousness; and to despise the instruction and discipline of the Word is foolish, and fools die for lack of discipline!

True ‘children’ are those who ‘listen’ to and receive the ‘discipline’ of a father and walk in the clear commands of their father!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:5-11And you have forgotten the appeal which speaks to you as to sons, “My son, do not despise the discipline of יהוה, nor faint when you are reproved by Him, 6 for whom יהוהloves, He disciplines, and flogs every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure discipline, Elohim is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become sharers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Moreover, we indeed had fathers of our flesh disciplining us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they indeed disciplined us for a few days as seemed best to them, but He does it for our profit, so that we might share His apartness. 11 And indeed, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but grievous, but afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

In the ancient pictographic alphabet, this Hebrew word for ‘discipline’ - מוּסָר musar – Strong’s H4148, looks like this:

reshsamekwawmem

Mem - מ:

The ancient script has this letter as mem and is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown. We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. Knowing this letter represents ‘water’, we are also able to see how this can render for us the meaning of ‘washing’ or ‘cleansing’.

 

Waw/Vav – וּ:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as waw, which is 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 from slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’. It is by the work of Messiah, in His own Blood, that He has secured for us His Covenants of promise, to which we are added to; and His righteousness stands forever secured in Him!

 

Samek - סָ:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as samek, which is a thorn and has the meanings of ‘pierce and sharp’ and can also carry the meaning of ‘a shield’, as thorn bushes were used by shepherds to build a wall to enclose their flock in the night against the attack of predators. Another meaning would be ‘to grab hold of’ as a thorn is a seed that clings to hair and clothing.

The Word of Elohim is sharper than a doubled edged sword and when we find that we do not grab hold of His word and allow His Word to be our shield of faith, we may find ourselves being pierced through with sin and compromise! Our praise we have for our Master is that in Him we are upheld forever, for He is the shield of our Help, as He Himself took the crown of thorns upon His head, bearing our sin and shame that we may be found to be shielded in Him! It can also give a meaning of ‘turning’, for it is the thorn that turns us away from danger and to that which is secure.

 

Resh - ר:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as resh, which is ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief. Our true life of praise unto יהוה, our Head, begins when we fear Him, for He is the beginning of our strength, and true separated praise entails a true fear of the One who is Chief over us!

 

When we look at these letters in their ancient pictographic form we are able to clearly see what true discipline entails, as we are to turn away from all wickedness and turn to our Head and Master; and to do so takes great discipline.

For: It is through the disciplined continual washing of water by the Word that secures and establishes us, that we are enabled to turn our eyes to our Master and grab hold of His word!

True discipline for a true taught one of the Master, involves a committed fixing of one’s eyes on Him!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:1-2 “We too, then, having so great a cloud of witnesses all around us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, 2 looking to the Princely Leader and Perfecter of our belief, יהושע, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the stake, having despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim.

In a nutshell we could best understand this term for discipline in the Hebrew - מוּסָר musar – Strong’s H4148 – as a term that clearly emphasises our need to be constantly turning our head/eyes to our True Head – and this we do by allowing the Word to wash us and establish us as a true disciplined disciple/taught one of Messiah!

Let me ask you – how disciplined are you? What do you set your eyes upon each and every day, as you sojourn here as ambassadors of the Coming Reign? In your walk of faith, are you continually turning your head to The Master? By that I mean, are you continually turning your attention and thoughts and actions to the One whom you should be following, or are the things of the world and the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eyes taking your attention away from the needed discipline of separation? When you are confronted with situations, circumstances, conversations or dealings with the world, are you able to have the discipline of separation active in your life, or do you find yourself subtly being conformed to the standards of others, instead of shining the light of set-apartness by being transformed by the renewing of your mind through the Word?

 

3 - DO NOT TRUST IN יהוה!

As a result of disobedience and the refusal for proper discipline and correction, the rebellious do not trust in יהוה!

The Hebrew root word used for ‘trust’ is בָּטַח bataḥ – Strong’s H982 which carries the meaning, to trust, be bold, confident, be secure, courageous’.

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in יהוה, and whose trust is יהוה. 8 “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and does not see when heat comes. And his leaf shall be green, and in the year of drought he is not anxious, nor does he cease from yielding fruit.

Trust in יהוה – the very thing that every true believer must do at all times!

In saying that the blessed man not only trusts in יהוה, but also that the blessed man’s trust is יהוה, we are able to see that to trust in יהוה is not just something that we do as an active response to a particular circumstance, but rather it is who we are – we are ‘trusters’ – who are continually trusting יהוה in all things, aměn!

What then is true ‘trust’?

Trust is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something. It is a dependence upon one, or one in which confidence is placed. It is the confidence, reliance and resting of the mind in the integrity/friendship of another person.

When you make the bold statement that you ‘trust in יהוה’, do you really mean it? Or do you allow doubts and fears to come and cause you to waver in your ability to fully trust – especially when things do not seem to go your way?

Pure trust in יהוה results in the blessing of being stable and unshaken by unfavourable circumstances that we may find ourselves in. As Yirmeyahu writes here – when יהוה is your trust you will not get affected by the heat or pressures of life – in other words when the heat is turned up and persecutions are on the rise or difficult circumstances and trials are hitting you from all sides – the true ‘truster’ in יהוה stands unaffected!!! Are you a true ‘truster’ in יהוה, or are you easily shaken like the rebellious that do not trust in יהוה?

Proper trust in יהוה reflects a true steadfastness, and we see in:

Tehillah/Psalm 125:1 “Those who trust in יהוה Are like Mount Tsiyon – It is not shaken, it remains forever.

The Hebrew word translated as ‘shaken’ is מוֹט mot – Strong’s H4131 which means, removed, to waver, slip, fall, shake, totter. We who trust in יהוה shall never be ‘shaken’ and never waver or slip or fall, or even totter as we stand firm in the Truth! Those who are trusting and never shaken shall inherit the earth, while those who waver shall not dwell in the earth.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 10:30 “The righteous is never shaken, while the wrong shall not dwell in the earth.

Sha’ul tells us in Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:14-15 that we are not to be as children that are tossed and borne about by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men, in cleverness, unto the craftiness of leading astray; but rather we are to be a people who maintain the truth in love growing up in all respects into Messiah, our Head!

Sadly what we find today is a lot of ‘children’ so to speak, that when the first sign of trouble or shaking comes, they are tossed about by various teachings and opinions and are therefore never able to actually grow up and stand on their own two feet in Messiah! To bring this home a little closer, we have to ensure that we, who claim to put our trust in יהוה, are in fact not being shaken in the face of trouble, and given over to compromise. To trust fully in יהוה requires the need to believe and obey what His Word instructs us to, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in or the consequences of our steadfastness amidst a wicked people! For example – when the Word clearly instructs us to guard the Sabbath and set it apart, and observe it as He instructs, then we are to do just that and trust יהוה for our full protection and provision.

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in יהוה with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 Know Him in all your ways, And He makes all your paths straight.

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

Walking in the fear of יהוה is strong Trust, as you hear, guard and do His clear instructions (Torah) and find your refuge in Him, no matter the circumstances you find yourself in.

The appeal I make to you all tonight is simply this – do not be marked by rebellion and defilement, but rather be steadfast in the Truth and TRUST IN יהוה AND BE NOT SHAKEN!!!

4 - DO NOT DRAW NEAR TO ELOHIM!

As a result of a lack of trust, caused by the inability or refusal to accept instruction and discipline in the Word when one has been disobedient, the resulting state is one of no urgency or desire to draw near to Elohim!

In Chapter 2 of Tsephanyah we see the call being given in verse 1 to gather together. This is repeated twice for emphasis and highlights the need for us to be on guard against neglecting the need to draw near to Elohim and ensure that we do not neglect the gathering of the set-apart ones as some are in the habit of doing!

The Hebrew root word that is translated as ‘draw near’ is קָרַב qaraḇ – Strong’s H7126 which means ‘to come near, approach, appear, bring near, come forward, draw near, which is properly a sacrificial word and signifies the presenting of a sacrifice or offering to יהוה, and it is from this root verb that we get the Hebrew word for ‘offering’, which is קָרְבָּן qorban – Strong’s H7133. We are to draw near to Elohim, and He has given us His Sabbaths and Appointed Times where we can collectively, as His preparing Bride, draw near unto Him together as one!

The Greek word used in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak) in this verse for ‘draw near’ is ἐγγίζω eggizō – Strong’s G1448 which means, to make near, come near, approach, draw near, come close, and we see this word used in:

Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:8 “Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded!

Ya’aqoḇ/James 5:8 “You too, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Master has drawn near.

Ya’aqoḇ was in essence giving the same call to gather, as we see his call is one with urgency to repent from all defilement and be the living sacrifice that is pleasing to Elohim, and rebel no more, for the Day of our Master has drawn near!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:23-25 “Let us hold fast the confession of our expectation without yielding, for He who promised is trustworthy. 24 And let us be concerned for one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging, and so much more as you see the Day coming near.

 ‘THE DAY’ which is being spoken of here is the Day of יהוה that is coming near, and we are to make sure that we are holding fast to our bold confession of Messiah and His coming Kingdom, and not forsake our assembling or gathering together… but be more and more urgent in our encouraging one another to gather as we should, stirring up true obedient love and good works, being concerned for each other as we sojourn here and endure much pressures!

 As we consider the severe woe being given to the rebellious city, and the repeated woes that is given to the rebellious house, we must take heed to ensure that we have hearing ears and seeing eyes, as we guard to do all that our Master and Elohim has commanded us, fixing our eyes upon Him as we run with fervency the race that is set before us.

The rebellious and defiled will not run in the way of the commands of Elohim but with run from them!

What race are you running? Have you found yourself disobeying the clear instructions and teachings of the Word - the very voice of יהוה that has been given and made known through His prophets and diligent servants? Do you scoff at the teachings of Elohim, delivered by those He has called to lead?

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:7-8Remember those leading you, who spoke the Word of Elohim to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their belief. 8 יהושע Messiah is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:16-17And do not forget to do good and to share, for with such slaughter offerings Elohim is well pleased. 17 Obey those leading you, and be subject to them, for they watch for your lives, as having to give account. Let them do so with joy and not groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Have you found that you have, as a result of rebellious behavior, oppressed others? Let us not forget to do good and share!

Have you found it hard to accept true and proper discipline? It is time to endure the training of discipline in order that the fruit of pure righteousness be brought forth in abundance from a Bride who is making Herself ready! It is not time to be rebellious and defile our garments of righteousness!

Has your ability to trust in יהוה and make Him your trust been hindered through compromise and the neglect of accepting instruction as one should?

Tehillah/Psalm 37:3 “Trust in יהוה, and do good; dwell in the earth, and feed on steadfastness.

When one is not feeding on steadfastness then a proper trust in יהוה fades, causing a rebellious and defiled one to trust in the flesh and one’s own abilities which will inevitably be proven as untrustworthy!

 

Lack of trust reveals that there is a lack of true reverence and fear of יהוה, which easily allows compromise that defiles as being an accepted norm for the rebellious.

 

Just as these 4 negative points can mark the life of one who is being rebellious and is defiling set-apartness, so too can we see that the true set-apart believer can be marked by the positive aspect of these characteristics, as we are able to see that the steadfast, wise and trustworthy one is marked by: Obedience, acceptance, trust and a drawing near!

OBEDIENCE (to the Voice), ACCEPTANCE (of instruction), TRUST (in יהוה), DRAWING NEAR (to Elohim).

If you have been rebellious, defiled or oppressive in any way and have been disobedient in any way or form to His voice – that is His Word – by refusing to accept His instruction and not being able to trust Him, and have found it difficult to draw near to Him because of sin/lawlessness in your life – then realise that He is not far off – He is in our midst – fear Him and accept His instructions and rejoice and be glad as He turns His judgements aside from His called out and set-apart Bride and destroys our enemy.

It is time for us, His remnant Bride, to stand up and be bold and raise the alarm and sound of the shofar, declaring the much needed:

WOE TO REBELLION AND DEFILEMENT!

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