21st of the 1st month 2016/2017
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 28:25 “And on the seventh day you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.”
This morning we have come together in obedience to our Master’s clear instructions as this is the seventh day of Matzot/Unleavened Bread. This is a set-apart day and closes the Feast that commemorates the redeeming work of our Master and Elohim who shed His blood for many and rose again that we may have life in Him and be equipped to be made ready into His perfect Bride that he is coming back for.
So what is it about this day that we are to recognise as significantly different from the rest? Besides it being called as a Sabbath-like day and a commanded set-apart gathering, some may often ask what is unique about this day. Firstly we know that the Hebrew word used here for ‘seventh’ is שְּׁבִיעִי – Strong’s H7637 ‘shâḇiy`iy’ which simply means seventh, which comes from the word שֶׁבַע sheḇa – Strong’s H7651 which means, ‘seventh’ which comes from the primitive root verb שָׁבַע shaḇa – Strong’s H7650 which means, ‘to swear, exchange oaths, take an oath, vow’.
An ‘oath’ is typically and obligation taken upon yourself rather than that which is imposed upon you. To “swear” in Scripture (which is also the root word שָׁבַע shaḇa) was to give one’s sure and promised unbreakable word in testimony, that the one swearing would faithfully perform some promised deed, or that he would faithfully refrain from some evil act. Occasionally we see in Scripture that one ‘swore an oath’ that he freely acknowledged a truth and would continue to acknowledge it in the future by sticking to what he has heard. In Hebrew, when one promises to complete something, it is considered ‘done’ and the word could be depended upon as that what was said would be accomplished. Our Master’s Word shall not return void, for the work that He who has begun a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of יהושע Messiah. We also take note that the 7th day of Creation, the day in which our Master completed His work and rested, clearly shadow pictures for us His Day when He comes in the 7th Millennium to complete His work so that we can all enter into His perfect rest forever! The number 7 represents for us completion or fullness, as pictured through the 7 days of the week, the 7 Feasts/Appointed Times of יהוה, the seven assemblies in Ḥazon/Revelation, the counting of 7’s to Shaḇuoth, the seven lamps of the Menorah/Lampstand which shines light on the showbread table.
But what is it about this 7th day of Matzot, a day which can fall on any day of the week?
I briefly want to share some insight into what I believe took place this day, based on Scriptural accounts, that gives us a better understanding as to the importance of guarding to keep the Appointed Times of יהוה.
We guard to keep this feast of Pěsaḥ/Matzot as we remember the work that our Master has done in paying the price for our sin and we are also told to remember how יהוה delivered Yisra’ĕl from bondage in Mitsrayim and from the harsh slavery that they had been bound to, which picture for us the prefect shadow picture of our release from bondage to sin and lawlessness! As we therefore take a look at the events that took place when Yisra’ĕl was delivered from Mitsrayim we gain some insight as to what took place on this day during their exodus!
Let us take a quick look at:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 33:2-8 “And Mosheh wrote down the starting points of their departures at the command of יהוה, and these are their departures according to their starting points: 3 So they departed from Raʽmeses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, on the morrow of the Passover the children of Yisra’ĕl went out with boldness before the eyes of all the Mitsrites, 4 and the Mitsrites were burying all their first-born, whom יהוה had smitten among them. Also on their mighty ones יהוה had executed judgments. 5 Then the children of Yisra’ĕl departed from Raʽmeses and camped at Sukkoth. 6 And they departed from Sukkoth and camped at Ětham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 7 And they departed from Ětham and turned back to Pi Haḥiroth, which is east of Baʽal Tsephon. And they camped near Miḡdol. 8 And they departed from before Haḥiroth and passed over through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, went three days’ journey in the Wilderness of Ětham, and camped at Marah.”
Here we are able to see part of the recorded journey that took place from Mitsrayim and I have simply read to verse 8 for a specific reason, as we take note of the following scenario from the written text that we have, which makes perfect sense in teaching us a valuable lesson in regards to the work of our Master and our need to be working out our deliverance with fear and trembling.
Yisra’ĕl departed from Raʽmeses on the 15th of the 1st month and then camped at Sukkoth. The word for ‘camped’ in the Hebrew is חָנָה ḥanah – Strong’s H2583 which carries the meaning of, ‘to decline, bend down, encamp, pitched, remain camped, lay siege against’. They pitched their tents and rested! They then departed from Raʽmeses on the 16th on the 1st month and camped at Ětham. The then departed from Ětham on the 17th and camped at Miḡdol. They then departed from Miḡdol/Haḥiroth on the 18th and they passed over through the Sea of Reeds. This would have been the 4th day of Matzot. After having come through the Sea of Reeds they went for 3 days and then camped at Marah. After 3 days journey they would have now come to Marah and camped on the 21st of the 1st month, this being the 7th day of Matzot.
While there may be various debates in regards to where the crossing of the Sea of reeds took place and by some estimations it may seem impossible for the journey from Raʽmeses to Marah to be only 7 days, what I am sharing with you today is what I firmly believe is given to us in the text as a parable regarding this time of year, in order to teach us some vital lessons in our walk/journey of belief in our Master and Elohim. Based on the text we see a clear pattern of point of departure then camping, point of departure and camping and then between the Sea of Reeds crossing and Marah there is a clear time given of 3 days journey before a camping took place and therefore we are able to deduce from Moshe’s account a parable type that could be further understood in expanding on the importance of the Appointed Times of יהוה. It is therefore with this concept of a parable in mind that I ask you to bear with me in this picture we have of the beginning of the exodus and glean insight from the stop at Marah and see how that can relate a powerful message for us today in terms of this 7th day of Matzot!
What took place at Marah?
Shemoth/Exodus 15:22-26 “And Mosheh brought Yisra’ĕl from the Sea of Reeds, and they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 And they came to Marah, and they were unable to drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. So the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Mosheh, saying, “What are we to drink?” 25 Then he cried out to יהוה, and יהוה showed him a tree. And when he threw it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a law and a right-ruling for them, and there He tried them. 26 And He said, “If you diligently obey the voice of יהוה your Elohim and do what is right in His eyes, and shall listen to His commands and shall guard all His laws, I shall bring on you none of the diseases I brought on the Mitsrites, for I am יהוה who heals you.”
After the victory at the Sea of Reeds, they went on a 3 day journey and came to Marah where they complained as they had no water as the water at Marah was bitter and so the people grumbled and rebelled against Mosheh.
Marah is a lesson for us in rebellion against the Word of Elohim and trust in His provision. Marah still exists today. There is a village there. The water is still bitter. But, guess what? The bitter water is not harmful. In fact, it has health benefits in that it kills parasites and bad bacteria in the digestive system, while not harming the good bacteria. Could it be that יהוה wanted to cleanse their bodies internally from the effects of Mitsrayim?
What we take note of here is that the waters were made sweet when Mosheh threw the tree into the waters, which is a perfect picture of how the sacrifice of our Master has made our bitterness sweet! We also take note that the Word of Elohim is made sweet in Him. Many who do not acknowledge who our Master, Elohim and Saviour is, find the Word too bitter to swallow. Yet what we take note of on this day is that a conditional promise was given to Yisra’ĕl! In verse 26 we see some very clear covenant language being spoken as יהוה said that if they diligently obeyed His voice and did what was right in His eyes, listen to His commands and guard His laws, then I would bring none of the diseases that He brought on the Mitsrites upon them and declared that He is יהוה who heals!
This same conditional clause applies to each of us who are grafted into Messiah by His own blood! We have a deliverance to work out with fear and trembling and to do that we are to be on guard against bitterness and rebellion to His Word. They had been delivered and here on this 7th day they were given a clear conditional clause to which they would swear to guard to do! The complete work of our Healer has been made known to us, and His work comes with His clear conditions of obedience and when we guard to keep His Word we find how sweet it becomes to our taste. Having said that we also take note that with the eating of His Sweet Word there comes a responsibility to proclaim His Reign, which may not always be sweetly received, yet we must hold fast to our belief in the One who made the waters sweet!
As we consider the events that took place we are able to see very powerful pictures and parables of our Master. As we consider the parable behind the exodus we can take note that based on the assumption of this timing of journeying from stop to stop that took place during Matzot that on the 4th day of Matzot the Sea of Reeds was split open! How interesting it is that on the 4th day of Creation Week the lights were made to divide the day from the night, just as our master came on the 4th Millennium, The light of the world, to call us out of darkness into His marvelous light, and now here in this 7th day we are reminded that His work is sufficient for us and we are warned against bitterness and rebellion as we take heed to the conditions of the Covenant and swear to guard His commands.
There is much to celebrate as we set this day apart and recognise how sweet to the taste our Master’s Word is!
Tehillah/Psalm 119:103 “How sweet to my taste has Your word been, more than honey to my mouth!”
On this day we celebrate the sweet joy of redemption and the full work of our Master that will be competed when he returns! Our responsibility now is to guard the Word with joy and put off all bitterness as we live set-apart for He who heals us is set-apart!
We also take note how this day can picture for us many who will be bitter in the Day of יהוה and will blaspheme His Name while those who have accepted the work of our Redeemer will find refuge in His and rejoice at His return.
What we recognise by this stop at Marah is that there was still a long journey that lay ahead and this journey required proper obedience and so as we close this Feast of Matzot today we too recognise the journey that lay ahead is long and needs proper steadfast endurance to walk and work out our deliverance with fear and trembling.
And it is in this season where we are commanded to count 7 competed 7’s, so therefor let us make sure that we are completely committed to living set-apart lives unto our Master, where there can be no room for compromise lest bitterness sits in and causes rebellion which is as witchcraft and will be destroyed by our Master!
Today we celebrate the work of our King and how He has cleansed us and removed our sins from us and continues to wash us through His Word so that we may be perfectly prepared for His return!
This day we celebrate His work and how he has made the bitter sweet, how he has taken the bitter sting of death for us, and therefore recognise our need to remain in Him lest our garments becomes defiled and we find that sin causes the sweet to become bitter!
This is a season of counting and counting you shall do as you count the cost of following our Master and serve Him in complete set-apartness and do so with joy and praise for His Mighty Name that saves!
As I meditated on the significance of this 7th day of Matzot and the clear call we all have to go and make taught ones of the nations, we realise and recognise the responsibility that we have in ‘eating the word’, which is a Hebraism which means ‘receive knowledge’.
I was reminded of two accounts we have in Scripture regarding the sweet Word we are to eat:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 3:3 “And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I am giving you.” And I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.”
As we ready further we see the responsibility that comes with eating the sweet Word:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 3:4-11 “And He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall speak to them with My words. 5 “For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and of difficult language, but to the house of Yisra’ĕl, 6 not to many people of foreign speech and of difficult language, whose words you do not understand. If I had rather sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 “But the house of Yisra’ĕl is going to refuse to listen to you, for they refuse to listen to Me. For all the house of Yisra’ĕl are hard of head, and hard of heart. 8 “See, I shall make your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 “Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I shall make your forehead. Do not be afraid of them, nor be discouraged at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10 And He said to me, “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. 11 “And go! Come to the exiles, to the children of your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus said the Master יהוה,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.”
Ḥazon/Revelation 10:9-11 “And I went to the messenger and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it, and it shall make your stomach bitter, but it shall be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10 And I took the little book out of the messenger’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And he said to me, “You have to prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and sovereigns.”
The Hebraism of eating the sweet word is to grow in knowledge and with the sweet word becoming bitter in our stomach is another Hebraism that teaches us how many may not receive the Good News of Reign and what we will see happen in these days may reflect a bitterness on the part of many, yet we must endure and proclaim the Truth while holding fast to walking set-apart, knowing that we will be the fragrance of life to life to some and to others we will be the fragrance of death to death, yet our Master is the One who makes us competent for such a task as we eat of His Sweet Word and throw off all bitterness!
Let this day be a good taste of the sweet victory we have in our Master and while we realise that the days of distress are fast approaching and are already here we hold fast to the joy of our Master that strengthens us to proclaim His reign as we sojourn here as faithful ambassadors of our Mighty Healer and King!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!