Tehillim/Psalm 149:1-5 “Praise Yah! Sing to יהוה a new song, His praise in an assembly of kind ones. 2 Let Yisra’ĕl rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Tsiyon exult in their Sovereign. 3 Let them praise His Name in a dance; let them sing praises to Him with the tambourine and lyre. 4 For יהוה takes pleasure in His people; He embellishes the meek ones with deliverance. 5 Let the kind ones exult in esteem; Let them sing aloud on their beds.”
Praise – Exult – Dance and Sing Aloud to יהוה! Sing His praise in an assembly of kind ones. These are all very powerful words that illustrate the intensity in which we are to praise יהוה, our Elohim, and sadly we find that the ability to praise Him in this way can often be a tough challenge for most as they go through the daily grind of trying to make ends meet; and very quickly they often find their ability to praise our Maker fading away until praise unto Him becomes a ‘thing of the past’; and all of this while the heat of His displeasure is most certainly heating up for an Appointed Time, of which the majority are foolishly unaware of. In a message tonight called, “Embrace the Truth and exult in יהוה!” I would like us to be reminded once again that we are to do exactly that – embrace the Truth and exult in יהוה, especially in the times we are living in right now!!! And in order for us to be well equipped and reminded of our need to not neglect the constant praise we are to bring unto our Maker, Redeemer and King, I would like us to hear the prayer of the prophet Ḥaḇaqquq – please turn with me to Ḥaḇaqquq Chapter 3 (Read).
Just under a year ago I gave a message overviewing the book of Ḥaḇaqquq in which we looked briefly at each chapter and our need to be watchful and awake as we wait for His soon return, living by faith knowing that the earth will be filled with His esteem and that He is in His Hěḵal (Temple) and is in control, and that no matter what we face or experience around us today, we are to be steadfast in remaining true to His Word. Tonight I want us to dig a little deeper into this last chapter that we have just read and get greatly encouraged from some wonderful pearls of truth that are nestled and hidden in the prayer of this prophet.
First of all חֲבַקּוּק Ḥaḇaqquq – Strong’s H2265 means ‘an embrace’ and comes from the root word חָבַק Ḥaḇaq – Strong’s H2263 and means ‘embrace’ and embrace in English means ‘to take up readily or gladly, to participate, to avail oneself’ and the Hebrew word means ‘embrace, hold in one’s arms, to clasp and to show close affection’. This was a prophet who embraced the Word of Elohim – showed close affection and held on to it tightly, who took it up readily and gladly, and took full advantage of making himself available to participate in being used by Elohim, despite the very sobering vision and judgement that He saw concerning those who are going astray!
In verse 1 we see a very unfamiliar term – and that is ‘Shiḡionoth’ – Strong’s H7692, and uncertain term, yet this word has been described as a musical term and is only seen here and at the beginning of Tehillim/Psalm 7, and has been described as possibly meaning ‘a wild passionate song with rapid changes of rhythm’, which we see certainly happening in this chapter as he changes the rhythm from acknowledgement of יהוה to judgement coming and lawlessness seen and then to praise. This word is derived from the root word שָׁגָה shagah – Strong’s H7686 and means ‘to go astray, to err, to wander or stray, and to be intoxicated’ and so we see that this is a prayer of intercession for those who are going astray – for those who have been led astray and have been intoxicated with the wine of the great whore. The word prayer is תְּפִלָּה tephillah – Strong’s H8605 and comes from the word פָּלַל palal – Strong’s H6419 which means ‘to intercede, intervene, make supplication, and judgement made favourable’ and in essence carries the meaning ‘to apply to a judge for a favourable decision’.
So as we look at this prayer of appeal that has rapidly changing rhythms, let us look at some of these that are contained herein:
Verse 2 we see a wonderful declaration of a prophet who had embraced the Truth and now cries out to יהוה as He sees the desperate need for pure obedience to the Torah and worship unto יהוה to be restored. Three key elements we see here in this verse as we see words like fear/afraid; renew and remember compassion.
Ḥaḇaqquq says that he has heard the report of יהוה – that which he had received and was commanded to write down in the first two chapters – he had heard (“shama” – listen attentively, comprehend, discern and give heed to what is spoken) and now could embrace the ‘fear of יהוה’. As you may all remember a couple of weeks ago I spoke on the fear of יהוה, showing that it is not our fear but His in describing that which ‘flows from the gut’ of יהוה – and that being His instructions and His Character by His Breath/Spirit – His spoken, breathed out Word!!! Here is Ḥaḇaqquq we see the form of the term ‘yirat יהוה’ being used here, and sadly the Scriptures translation we have has placed the ‘O יהוה’ in the next sentence within this verse, where it should be linked with the first sentence ending with afraid and therefore could more accurately be translated as “יהוה I have heard your report; I have the fear of יהוה”.
Please see the sermon called “Those fearing Elohim – Listen!” to understand the term ‘the fear of יהוה” for more understanding in this regard.
The point I want to make here is that Ḥaḇaqquq heard the Truth, embraced the Truth and was now able to understand that יהוה’s word is abundantly clear and His Appointed Times are set and His coming wrath was imminent and the state of the people was not a good one and were in much need of a renewal and deliverance that only יהוה could bring.
Ḥaḇaqquq then cries out and asks יהוה to renew His work in the midst of the years and make it known. The vision he was given was for the end time and he was pleading for יהוה to bring renewal. The Word ‘renew’ is חָיָה Ḥayah – Strong’s H2462 and means ‘recover, restore to health, heal, make alive, revive’. Ḥaḇaqquq was appealing to יהוה to revive and recover His fear over His people – recover the very breath of His Word that brings life to a dying people!
Ma’asei/Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and turn back, for the blotting out of your sins, in order that times of refreshing might come from the presence of the Master”
The word ‘refreshing’ is the Greek Word ἀνάψυξις anapsuxis Strong’s G403 and means, ‘recovery of breath, refresh’ and we see that when we repent and turn back to The Master we may receive a recovery of breath – His Word giving us our very life that we may live and breathe and praise His Name – for everything that has breath praise יהוה!
It takes hearing obediently to clearly guard to do what His instructions tell us to and be filled with His Spirit/Breath/Word that He puts in those who turn back to Him and thirdly Ḥaḇaqquq pleads with יהוה to ‘remember compassion’ in your wrath – in other words – remember those who return and are recovered by His Breath through the Fear of Elohim – remember the righteous who do your will and refresh your faithful remnant in the midst of these dark and perilous times!!!
Tehillim/Psalm 138:7-8 “Though I walk in the midst of distress, You revive me; You stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand saves me. 8 יהוה does perfect for me. O יהוה, Your kindness is everlasting. Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”
After crying out this great plea, Ḥaḇaqquq returns to prophesying and we see a rhythm change in his prayer:
Verse 3 begins with the true declaration that Eloah is coming and the whole earth will be filled with His praise and proceeds to describe the destructions and devastation of His wrath that will go before Him as He comes to trample the winepress and save His people!
He comes from Tĕman is prophetic for end times and the second coming of Messiah as Tĕman means ‘south’ and so in effect we see that He is coming from the south – what does that mean and who is this Eloah that comes from the south?
Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 9:14 “And יהוה shall appear for them, and His arrow go forth like lightning, and the Master יהוה sound the ram’s horn. And He shall go with whirlwinds from the south.”
This is describing the picture of His second coming as also described in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 66:15 “For look, יהוה comes with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His displeasure with burning, and His rebuke with flames of fire.”
The word for south in Zeḵaryah 9:14 is also the word בֵּימָן Tĕman – Strong’s 8646/8647 and this was a district in Eḏom and Tĕman was also the name of the grandson of Ěsaw and was an Eḏomite chief and we begin to see the clear language of end time prophecy regarding the destruction of Eḏom and Botsrah regarding the end time destruction of the enemies of יהוה.
Amos 1:12 “But I shall send fire upon Tĕman, and it shall consume the palaces of Botsrah.”
Oḇaḏyah/Obadiah 1:8-9 “In that day,” declares יהוה, “I shall destroy the wise men from Eḏom, and discernment from the mountains of Ěsaw! 9 “And your mighty men shall be discouraged, O Tĕman, so that everyone from the mountains of Ěsaw is cut off by slaughter.”
יהוה is coming to tread the winepress and destroy the enemies of His Bride. Tĕman is derived from the root word יָמִין yamin – Strong’s H3225 and means ‘right hand/right side and also south side’ and is used literally of a man’s right hand as opposed to שְׂמאֹל semol – Strong’s H8040 which means ‘left hand’ and well as ‘north’. Yemen is the modern name for Tĕman and we see a wonderful description of who is coming – for the ‘right hand of Elohim’ is the that which works deliverance and redemption and destroys the enemy – this is יהושע Messiah – He is coming – He is the Set-Apart One who comes from Mount Paran – Paran means ‘place of caverns’ and is an area in the southern Sinai Peninsula and comes from the root word that means ‘especially beautiful/adorned, gleaning’ and this language would have been familiar to Yisra’ĕl as it would remind them of that which Mosheh spoke before his death and would be a sober reminder to repent and return to יהוה:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 33:1-3 “And this is the blessing with which Mosheh the man of Elohim blessed the children of Yisra’ĕl before his death. 2 And he said, “יהוה came from Sinai, and rose from Sĕʽir for them. He shone forth from Mount Paran, and came with ten thousands of set-apart ones – at His right hand a law of fire for them. 3 Indeed, He loves the peoples, all His set-apart ones are in Your hand. And they, they sat down at Your feet, receiving Your Words.”
They also would echo the words of the song of Deḇorah in:
Shophetim/Judges 5:4-5 “יהוה, when You went out from Sĕʽir, when You stepped from the field of Eḏom, the earth shook and the heavens poured, the clouds also poured water. 5 “The mountains flowed at the presence of יהוה, this Sinai, at the presence of יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl.”
This would not only cause them to look back to the Covenant but also forward to the prophecy of Ḥanoḵ as a very sobering wake up call to turn and repent before it would be too late:
Yehuḏah/Jude 1:14-15 “And Ḥanoḵ, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied of these, saying, “See, יהוה comes with His myriads of set-apart ones, 15 to execute judgment on all, to punish all who are wicked among them concerning all their wicked works which they have committed in a wicked way, and concerning all the harsh words which wicked sinners have spoken against Him.”
We also see these words of prophecy being spoken in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 63:1-4 “Who is this coming from Eḏom, with garments of glowing colours from Botsrah, who is robed in splendour, striding forward in the greatness of His strength? “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” 2 Why is there red on Your raiment, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? 3 “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. And I trod them down in My displeasure, and I trampled them in My wrath. Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have defiled all My raiment. 4 “For a day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come.”
These words would certainly carry great power in calling back a backslidden people and Ḥaḇaqquq proceeds to speak of the power in which Eloah will come, giving reference back to how they were sold into the hands of Kushan because of their Ba’al worship and after hearing their cry for help Othni’ĕl son of Qenaz, Kalěḇ’s younger brother was raised up by יהוה to save Yisra’ĕl (Shophetim/Judges 3:7-11), and also how the sun and moon stood still and did not go down until Yisra’ĕl avenged itself upon her enemies, when Yehoshua fought against the Amorites (Yehoshua/Joshua 10:13), and these words of remembrance would also shadow picture how a day of deliverance is coming again.
Upon hearing, Ḥaḇaqquq says he trembled and quivered and this is a very quick reminder that no matter how powerful man’s religious systems and infrastructures may appear and claim to be, it will all be brought to its knees and destroyed, and is a sobering reminder to us to ensure we are on the ‘right side’ of Elohim, for anyone who is not – no matter how significant they may claim to be – will be treated in such a way. Many expositors see this verse 16 as a shift in the prayer/song as being the cry of Baḇelon’s response, and then we come to another cry of Ḥaḇaqquq that is often quoted as an isolated text without regard for the entire context and setting of the prayer and whole book of Ḥaḇaqquq!
Verse 17 – A well-known verse within many circles – let us briefly look at the application of these verses regarding the circumstances of a plagued and corrupted people that I believe Ḥaḇaqquq was witnessing against.
1 – The Fig Tree does not blossom
The use of the fig tree and figs throughout Scripture carries great significance to us and typically represents the nation of Yisra’ĕl. But what was the picture here? The fig tree was not blossoming – when we consider this we can immediately be drawn to the words of יהושע who cursed the fig tree:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 21:19 “And seeing a single fig tree by the way, He came to it and found naught on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” And immediately the fig tree withered.”
This cursing of the fig tree, which had leaves but no fruit, is a parable of the end time harvest and what happened to the fig tree is what would happen to all those who may profess to be in the Covenant, yet bear no fruit of repentance or the fruit of righteousness!
A couple of chapters later we see His words again in reference to the end-times in:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 24:32 “And learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that the summer is near.”
The meaning of this parable has been lost by the masses who have been taught that there is no requirements to keep the Torah, and sadly as a result those who believe such lies will be found to be outside of the Covenants of Promise!
יהושע cursed the fig tree to get the disciples attention and teach them the necessity to remain in Him and bear much fruit. Although this was not the season for figs to bear fruit we see that Sha’ul tells Timotiyos to proclaim the Word and be urgent, in and out of season and never be found to be fruitless with leaves only!
What is interesting to note is that a fig tree typically produces fruit before it produces leaves and so when you see the leaves without fruit there is a problem!!! This is a picture of covering up or hiding sin as Aḏam and Ḥawwah did when they realised their nakedness due to sin as they sowed fig leaves together to cover themselves. Our only covering is the Blood of Messiah and the picture of having leaves only is a picture of many today – they may have the appearance of worship and look the part – yet lack the fruit of righteous living according to the Torah and so they sow for themselves fig leaves through religious programmes to hide their lawlessness! This was the state of Yisra’ĕl – all leaves and no fruit, or better put ‘rotten fruit’. Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 8 is a fitting chapter that describes this sad and sick state of many who claim to be worshipping יהוה, yet cling to deceit and do not know the right-ruling of יהוה.
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 24 speaks of two baskets of figs – one good and one bad. We do not have time to go into the details of this chapter but encourage you to do so on your own time, but in summary this is what it speaks regarding the figs:
The Good figs are the obedient ones who repent and turn back to יהוה with all their heart who will be delivered, redeemed and protected and brought into the Promises of His Covenant.
The Bad figs speak of those who refuse to listen and choose to stay in Baḇel or Mitsrayim – a picture for us today of those who choose to remain in the world, as well as those who choose to remain in the man-made theologies, including both rabbinic Judaism and Christianity – this is the basket of bad figs for which the sword, famine and plague will be sent upon them!
2 – No fruit on the Vine
The parable of the Vine in Yoḥanan 15 speaks clearly our need to remain in יהושע or else we will be cut off and thrown in to the fire and is a parable that goes hand in hand with the words written in Yeḥezqĕl/Ezekiel 15, which I spoke about a few months back in a message called, ‘Fruitful or fruitless – the Parable of the Vine’, which looks at Yeḥezqěl 15 and Yoḥanan 15 together and encourage you to go through those notes in regards to no fruit on the vine!
3 – The olives have failed
We know that olive were the source of the oil for the tabernacle, supplying the Lampstand as well as the anointing oil and incense and for the bread. Oil as we know speaks of the anointing and Spirit of יהוה and His word that He has planted in us and when we see the picture of failed olives we can see the parable of the 10 virgins – 5 who had oil in their lamps and 5 who did not – another parallel parable with that of Yirmeyahu two baskets of figs. Olive oil is obtained through a crushing process and what is sad today is that the world is being crushed through enslavement – people are suffering more and more hardships and being crushed by the pressures of this life and sadly what is happening is that worry is choking out the Word and they are ‘dry’, while there is no oil coming forth – no Word – no faith! Will Messiah find faith when He comes!
4 – Fields bring forth no food
The field is the world and the Word is the seed – yet no food is being brought forth as the ground of many hearts is not good – this picture we can reference back to the parable of the sower in Mattithyahu/Matthew 13. Yisra’ĕl had the Word yet had not maintained the field of their hearts and so were no longer filled with good seed and able to produce a harvest but rather were hardened by deceit and it is no different today!
5 – Flock has been cut off and no herds
This is a picture of the denial of the work of Messiah as the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world – a two-fold picture – one is of the rabbinic Judaism that reduces יהושע to a prophet and they did not receive Him and two – the westernised Christian world has changed the Messiah into a torahless teacher – and so have cut off the True Living Word by adding to or taking away from the Truth!
This was the sad picture that Ḥaḇaqquq saw in his day and one which we certainly see today – Dry, fruitless and lawless people who have made their own leaves to cover their nakedness – which will be exposed on that Day!
However what even struck me more was that in light of the Torah portions we have been going through on the Tabernacle, we see a clear picture by that which is lacking by so many as יהוה is rebuilding the Tabernacle of Dawiḏ
Being dry, fruitless and lawless and without the pure garments of righteousness we have no access to the Tabernacle and are unable to offer Him the bull of our lips in praise!
Habaqquq sees this sad state and despite all this he makes a bold declaration which we too are to make – we who embrace the Truth and cling to יהוה:
Yet… Yet… despite what others may be doing… I will EXULT in יהוה… I will rejoice in the Elohim of my deliverance!!! Are you able to declare this too – knowing that you have clothed yourself in righteousness – putting on the armour of Elohim and are remaining in Him bearing fruit… much fruit, filled with the oil of His presence, keeping the field of your heart pure that the Good Seed yields a Good return and are offering up your bodies a daily living sacrifice, well pleasing to Elohim? Then you can make that statement and do it with great joy!!!
The word for exult is עָלַז alaz – Strong’s H5937 and means ‘exult, rejoice, triumph, be jubilant ’and this word in the Hebrew describes an emotion of joy which finds expression in singing and shouting and is a natural response of the faithful as we saw in Tehillim/Psalm 149 at the beginning . It means to be in an intense state of great joy and contentment and this is how those who embrace the Truth – exult in יהוה!
Verse 19 echoes that which Yeshayahu declared when speaking of our diligent obedient response to His Word and keeping His Shabbat, entering His rest:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:14 “then you shall delight yourself in יהוה. And I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth, and feed you with the inheritance of Yaʽaqoḇ your father. For the mouth of יהוה has spoken!”
Ḥaḇaqquq was declaring simply this: “Before יהוה I am playing my songs of praise!!!”
We know that which is coming, let us embrace the Truth, declare His Truth and cling to His Truth and praise Him without the leaves of hypocrisy but in purity and sincerity of Truth!
Yoḥanan/John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father also does seek such to worship Him. 24 “Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him need to worship in spirit and truth.”
As we hear this prayer of Ḥaḇaqquq tonight may we, like him, embrace the Truth and exult in יהוה
יהוה bless you and guard you;
יהוה make His face shine upon you and give you favour;
יהוה lift up His face to you and give you shalom!