Shabbat Shalom all,
Tehillah/Psalm 120:5 “Woe to me for I have sojourned in Qĕḏar, I have dwelt among the tents of Qĕḏar!”
This verse in Tehillah/Psalm 120 is in a song of degrees that begins with the psalmist declaring how he cried out in his distress and יהוה answered him, and this is the first of 15 Psalms that are titled as ‘a song of degrees’, and are believed to have been Psalms that were sung by pilgrims as hymns of approach, as they would go up to Yerushalayim. There is certainly a great deal we can learn from the many magnificent Psalms that are able to help us identify with our sojourning here, as strangers awaiting for the Reign of the Heavens to come and be firmly established here on earth. When I read this verse I considered the wording herein and could relate to the frustration that this Psalmist, and many faithful, must have felt as they endured under intense hardships and struggles. The recognition here of the severe woe for having sojourned in Qĕḏar and having dwelt in Qĕḏar is clear, yet what is this song teaching us? Qĕḏar was situated far to the north of Yisra’ĕl, in Asia Minor by the Black Sea. This was a very long distance from Qĕḏar, which was a region of Arabian desert southeast of Yisra’ĕl! So what does this mean? Geographically, the psalmist could not have dwelt simultaneously in both of these regions that were so far apart from one another, and so herein lies a great metaphoric use of these terms in order to teach us why his situation was one of great woe!
The word translated as ‘woe’ is אוֹיָה oyah – Strong’s H190 which is a strong interjection, which is a word or phrase used in exclamation, meaning ‘woe’ and comes from the primary interjection אוֹי oy – Strong’s H188 which means, ‘woe’ and is a passionate cry of grief or despair! So what was this cry of grief and despair? The Hebrew word for ‘sojourned’ is primitive root verb גּוּר gur – Strong’s H1481 meaning, ‘to sojourn, abide, dwell, reside’, and the noun derived from this and often translated as ‘foreigner’ is גֵּר ger – Strong’s H1616 which means, ‘a sojourner, alien, immigrant, stranger’. Kěpha appeals to us as ‘strangers and pilgrims’ to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against our life (Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:11), and the Greek word for ‘stranger’ is πάροικος paroikos – Strong’s G3941 which means, ‘stranger, foreigner’, and is the word used in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak) of this Tehillim! Living as strangers and abstaining from fleshly lusts we need to recognise the severe ‘woe’ in sojourning and dwelling in Qĕḏar and Qĕḏar. Mesheḵ – מֶשֶׁךְ – Strong’s H4902 means, ‘drawing out’ and comes from the primitive root verb מָשַׁךְ mashaḵ – Strong’s H4900 which means, ‘to draw away, drag away, bore, deferred, delayed’, and the word Qĕḏar – קֵדָר – Strong’s H6938 means, ‘dark’ and comes from the root verb קָדַר qaḏar – Strong’s H6937 which means, ‘to be dark, become dark, grow black, mourn, mourning’.
Why I have mentioned all these words and terms is simply to show us how we too should hear the ‘woe’ of sojourning in darkness, so to speak, and drawing out our need to walk in obedience and abstain from fleshly lusts!
When understanding this psalmists prayer for deliverance from “false lips” and “a treacherous tongue” (v2.) we can see that to say that one is living is these places is to say that the attacks he is experiencing are so severe that it feels like he is living in the midst of hostile barbarians, who have the real influence of drawing many away from pure obedience and causing the called out set-apart ones to be pressured by the darkness that surrounds them!
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light”
We were once darkness, but now we are light in the Master – and this is what we need to be reminded of on a daily basis – that there is a severe woe for dwelling in darkness and drawing out our need to shine the light of the Truth and walking as children of light! One of the toughest things for us, as children of light, is to keep shining the light of the Truth in the darkened effect of sin and lawlessness, destruction and ruin! When bad things happen to us, we often are unable to understand or explain the ‘why’, yet we need to be encouraged to keep our lamps filled and shine as true sons and daughters of the Most High Elohim! Tonight in a message called, ‘A MESSAGE FOR THE BLESSED!’ I want to encourage us all to persevere and endure, even under the most extreme and crippling circumstances, and do our utmost in shining the Light of our Master in all we say and do!
Please turn with me to Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 45 (Read).
This chapter is a bit of a flashback from a chronological point of view, yet herein lies a very powerful and encouraging call for the blessed of Elohim to run this race that has been set before us with perseverance, for our reward in the Heavens in great!
In this chapter Baruḵ is given the assurance and promise of יהוה’s protection, for being faithful in his service to Yirmeyahu. And here in this chapter Yirmeyahu is told to give Baruḵ a clear message – a message that he needed to hear – after all he had certainly seen a lot of suffering and pain that he and Yirmeyahu had faced for walking in the Truth of יהוה. The message to Baruḵ is contained in verses 4-5, while in verse 3 we see Baruḵ expressing his own feelings of hurt and despair, which caused the response of יהוה being given to this blessed servant of the Most High!
Yirmeyahu – יִרְמְיָהוּ H3414 means, ‘Yahweh has appointed/Yah loosens’.
Baruḵ – בָּרוּךְStrong’s H1263 means, ‘blessed’, and he was the son of נֵרִיָּה Neriyyah – Strong’s H5374 which means, ‘lamp of Yah’.
What we are able to see here in this short and powerful chapter is that these words given to Baruḵ, are words that are also given to us – for these are the appointed words of יהוה for the blessed children of Light!
These words came in the 4th year of Yehoyaqim, the son of Yoshiyahu. יְהוֹיָקִים Yehoyaqim – Strong’s H3079 means, ‘יהוה raises up’, and יאֹשִׁיָּהוּ Yoshiyahu – Strong’s H2977 – ‘whom יהוה heals’, and herein lies another powerful truth – for יהוה raises up those who He heals!!!
In the chronological setting here we can understand some of the frustration that Baruḵ was expressing. It was Pharaoh Neḵo that set up Yehoyaqim to reign in the place of his brother Yeho’aḥaz, who Pharaoh had taken to Mitsrayim where he died. Yehoyaqim gave Pharaoh silver and gold and exacted silver and gold from the people of the land to give to Pharaoh Neḵo. During his reign Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar sovereign of Baḇel came up, and Yehoyaqim became his servant for three years, after which he rebelled against Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar. He reigned for 11 years, after which יהוה sent against him the Chaldeans, Arameans, Mo’aḇites and Ammonites to destroy Yehuḏah and remove Yehoyaqim from His presence for all the wickedness and evil he had done according to the sins of Menashsheh.
Times were not going well for Yehuḏah at the time of this word of יהוה that was given to Baruḵ from Yirmeyahu, and Baruḵ was certainly expressing the anguish and despair he was seeing and experiencing, and in many ways he had hit a low point in his life. He had seen much corruption, wickedness and possibly even faced some terrible circumstances himself, as he had been wearied with his sighing!!!
Have you ever been tired of sighing, especially when sighing about all the terrible things you are witnessing, and even going through yourself – so much so that you have no more words to express your heartbreak and despair?
He had grown tired of moaning – have you ever felt like this? What about when some bad stuff happens to you, or when bad stuff that might not happen directly to you, yet you face the clear effects of it!
Just like Baruḵ, many are growing tired today, tired of all the nonsense that they see and hear; tired of all the compromise; tired of all the pain and toil that they are going through; tired of what may seem to be unjust or unfair circumstances that they are facing; and tired of some of the terrible things that are happening to them! And in his great cry of woe to יהוה, יהוה answers him with a the promise of a great reward despite the harshness of the times that were upon them. In a nutshell we are able to learn, as Baruḵ did back then, that in these last days everyone is going to suffer – even the wealthy and influential – and even those who have been obedient!!! We are not to think that we shall be exempt from the harshness of the times:
Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 9:1-2 “For all this I took to heart, even to search out all this: that the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of Elohim. No man knows whether love or hatred awaits him. 2 It is the same for all: One event to the righteous and to the wrong; to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean; and to the one slaughtering and to the one not slaughtering. As is the good one, so is the sinner; the one swearing as the one fearing an oath.”
Righteous or wrong – no man knows whether love or hatred awaits him, and while we recognise this reality we see further in this chapter:
Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 9:8 “Let your garments be white at all times, and let your head lack no oil.”
No matter what we go through – no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in – no matter how harsh the times get – no matter how much we are wronged – no matter how unfair things may seem – we must let our garments of righteousness be white at all times and not let our heads lack oil!!! Our lamps must be filled as a ready Bride who has kept herself from fleshly lusts and the corruptions of the wickedness in the world!
Evil is coming on all flesh, yet we who guard His commands and keep ourselves from becoming defiled in the flesh, will be given the reward of eternal life, as a prize for our faithful endurance through all!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 2:18 “For in what He had suffered, Himself being tried, He is able to help those who are tried.”
What are you being tried in? Are you letting Messiah help you to stand firm and be steadfast in Him as you cling to Him?
Have you been downcast of late? In Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 7:6 Sha’ul tells us that Elohim encourages the downcast, that is – He calls to the downcast and encourages, comforts and exhorts them to continue in Him!
Galatiyim/Galatians 6:9 “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not grow weary.”
Under some intense times, יהוה was encouraging Baruḵ to be steadfast in his faithfulness, and He tells him that it was not time to seek great matters for himself – in other words it was not time for him to be seeking wealth, fame and fortune and trying to build for himself a secure and safe lifestyle – because harsh times were coming upon all – yet the reward for faithfulness is the prize of life!!!
The Hebrew word translated as ‘prize’ is שָׁלָל shalal – Strong’s H7998 which means, ‘a prey, spoil, plunder, booty’, and typically spoil, plunder or booty was received as a result of a victory over the enemy in war – so herein we see the victory we have in יהושע Messiah, our Great Husband Redeemer and King, in whom we shall have life and life abundantly, as we walk in the triumphant procession of His victory over death, so that we may enter into His rest and dwell with Him forever!
The message to the blessed children of light is clear – do not grow weary in your steadfastness!!!
In this short message, I simply wanted to inspire some much needed encouragement and hope that we, as blessed set-apart ones of Elohim, ought to be reminded of, so that we do not lose heart and grow weary with sighing due to all the wickedness and terrible things that we see and face each and every day. We live in a world that is filled with corrupt and wicked people who do bad things –and we, as blessed children of light, must live as children of light and be filled with overcoming praise, with the full assurance in our hearts of the sure and blessed hope we have in יהושע Messiah, who encourages the downcast and despairing.
Baruḵ was in many ways depressed and restless within himself and this reminds me of the words of the psalmist in:
Tehillah/Psalm 42:11 “Why are you depressed, O my being? And why are you restless within me? Wait for Elohim: for I shall yet thank Him, the deliverance of my face, and my Elohim.”
The Hebrew root word used here in this Tehillim that is translated as ‘wait’ is יָהַל yaḥal – Strong’s H3176 which means, ‘to wait, wait expectantly, have hope’ and implies the hope that is the solid ground of expectation for the righteous.
Tehillah/Psalm 147:11 “יהוה takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who wait for His kindness.”
While we can certainly see a severe ‘famine’ for the True Word in the world today, we have the sure ‘hope’ in יהוה that He shall keep us alive and deliver our beings from the grips of death, for the second death shall have no power over those who are in Messiah!
Tehillah/Psalm 37:1-3 “Do not fret because of evil-doers, do not be envious of the workers of unrighteousness. 2 For they soon wither like grass, and fade like green plants. 3 Trust in יהוה, and do good; dwell in the earth, and feed on steadfastness.”
What, if anything, has possibly caused you to be wearied with sighing, and have you found yourself in a place where you cannot seem to find that rest and shalom you show earnestly desire! Well hear the message to the blessed from our Master יהוה of Hosts and run so as to obtain the prize:
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that those who run in a race indeed all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to obtain it.”
Pilipiyim/Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Messiah יהושע.”
Oh blessed son/daughter of Elohim Most High – be the children of light you have been called to be, and so walk in the light as He is in the light so that we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Messiah cleanse us from all sin!
THE MESSAGE FOR THE BLESSED is clear – do you hear it!
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!