18th of the 3rd month 2015/2016
Shabbat Shalom all,
Luqas/Luke 14:28-30 “For who of you, wishing to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation, and is unable to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was unable to finish.’”
Considering the fact that we have just been through a period of commanded counting, and the extremely important lessons we can learn in guarding the Feasts and commands of Elohim, it is always good to sit down and do an assessment or check of our lives, in order to assess and see whether we are being built up in the Master as we should be.
The Greek word used here for ‘count’ is ψηφίζω psēphizō – Strong’s G5585 meaning, ‘to count or calculate’. It is used only 2 times in the Renewed Writings and helps us understand our need to be able to count with understanding. The other time it is used is in:
Ḥazon/Revelation 13:18 “Here is the wisdom! He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”
This is pretty awesome stuff!!! Our need to count properly requires us to have wisdom and understanding, and as we know, we are instructed to get wisdom and understanding:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 4:5 “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.”
If we are not getting wisdom and understanding by diligently seeking it through a proper study and meditation of the Torah we will not be able to count or calculate the proper cost of walking in true set-apartness and as a result be in great danger of labouring in vain!
Tehillah/Psalm 127:1 “If יהוה does not build the house, its builders have laboured in vain. If יהוה does not guard the city, The watchman has stayed awake in vain.”
The title of this Tehillah/Psalm 127 is – שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת – ‘shiyr hama’alot’ – which is best translated as ‘A song of degrees’. Tehillim/Psalms 120-134 are all titled as ‘A song of degrees’ and these Psalms are believed to have been songs that were sung by those who travelled to Yerushalayim each year to the Feasts of יהוה. The two root words are – שִׁיר shir – Strong’s H7892 which means, ‘song, music, musical’ and מַעֲלָה ma’alah – Strong’s H4609 which means, ‘what comes up, steps, high degree, ascends, stairway’, and comes from the primitive root verb עָלָה alah – Strong’s H5927 meaning, ‘to go up, ascend, climb, approach, go’; and when one also recognises how a derivative of this root verb is the word עֹלָה olah – Strong’s H5930 meaning, ‘whole burnt offering, ascent, staircase, stairway’. The olah offering represents a giving totally of oneself to יהוה, and these songs express the true worship of true worshippers of Elohim who confidently place their trust in Him, and offer up their entire lives as a living sacrifice, having the sound of continual songs of praise on their lips, declaring their steadfast trust in יהוה. This specific ‘song of degrees’ is of Shelomoh, and we are able to recognise the acknowledgement he is giving here in declaring that without יהוה being the complete source, provision and strength of the building process then everything we do is in vain! We recognise that we can only be properly built up as a spiritual dwelling place of the Master by carefully guarding to do all He has commanded us, as His perfect Torah gives us His clear pattern and building plan for His Bride that He has chosen for Himself! His Word is that which builds you and He who has begun a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of יהושע Messiah.
Having said that, we, as called out and chosen set-apart ones, are to be the true Bride that is making Herself ready and to do that we need to make sure that we do not give up and think that we do not have enough to finish the task, when the Word clearly tells us that He has given us all we need for life and reverence! So if we have been given all we need, then why is that some give up and stop building when the pressures come and the work of set-apartness without compromise seems to be too hard to accomplish? The answer is pretty simple – and Scripture gives us some pictures of what it takes to endure or not – and the answer is therefore based on one’s fitness levels! Yes fitness!!! Tonight in a message called, “FITNESS ASSESMENT TIME – HOW FIT IS YOUR REVERENCE?”, I want to dig a little deeper into what the Word teaches us about being fit or not and the consequences thereof!
Sha’ul writes the following to Timotiyos in:
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 4:8-10 “For bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but reverence is profitable for all, having promise of the present life, and of that which is to come. 9 Trustworthy is the word, and worthy of all acceptance. 10 It is for this that we labour and struggle, because we trust in the living Elohim, who is the Saviour of all men, particularly of those who believe.”
I gather that you have realised by now that I am not talking about physical fitness here, which certainly does have some value in our lives indeed! What I am referring to is spiritual fitness – how fit are you in the Word of Truth and its proper application in your daily life? For as Sha’ul says here – reverence is profitable for all!!! While you may be physically fit, if you lack a proper reverence then you will not be profitable in all matters!
The Greek word translated here as ‘reverence’ is the noun εὐσέβεια eusebeia – Strong’s G2150 and carries the meaning of, ‘well-directed reverence’, and at its root it carries the meaning, ‘to be true and to adore, speaking of one’s devout worship and being dutiful in one’s obedience’. This word, applied to a believer, denotes a life that is truly acceptable unto Messiah, indicating a proper attitude toward יהושע Messiah, who saves him. It comes from the adjective εὐσεβής eusebēs – Strong’s G2152 which describes a ‘pious, devout, reverent man’. These words are a construct of two words: 1 – εὖ eu – Strong’s G2095 which is an adverb meaning, ‘good, well done’ and 2 – σέβω sebō – Strong’s G4576 which is a verb that means, ‘to worship, revere, Elohim-fearing’. So true reverence, even in the Greek understanding is a ‘good and well done, Elohim-fearing worship’!!! εὐσέβεια eusebeia reflects both an attitude and a way of life, that is well pleasing to our Master, through the continued display of complete set-apartness without compromise!
When we understand what true reverence toward Elohim means, we will find that we will do our utmost to give no room for compromise, and forever strive for perfection in the Master, no matter where we find ourselves or in what circumstances we may be in. Let me be very clear – it is possible to fake εὐσέβεια eusebeia – that is to have ‘a form of reverence’ in appearance only, while not having the real thing. This is what many are doing today, as they are simply putting on a show, having a form or reverence but no power to actually live it out, as their neglect for a well pleasing and good Elohim-fearing worship is non-existent, as clearly seen through their neglect for the Torah and the need to guard the commands of Elohim!
I think we can all agree that we do not see much reverence toward Elohim today! A twisted message has caused many to not have a true reverence for Elohim whatsoever; and they do as they please while at the same time think that they can demand to walk in the Promises of the Word! The false prosperity message seeks to claim all the promises without actually walking in obedience as they want the presence and promise of יהוה while turning their noses up at the need to be fed their daily lawful bread and to walk in The Word and obey the clear instructions for set-apart living.
Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 1:3 “as His Mighty-like power has given to us all we need for life and reverence, through the knowledge of Him who called us to esteem and uprightness.”
Here Kěpha is very clear – יהושע has given us all we need for life and reverence – through the knowledge of Him!!!
Having just celebrated the feast of Shaḇu’ot and remembering that we were once far off from the Covenants of Promise, but have now been brought near by the Blood of Messiah and by His Spirit He has written those Covenants upon our hearts, giving us all we need to walk in complete reverence and life that His Word brings us, we are enabled and equipped to be built up in Him as a true set-apart Bride! So if we have then been given all we need, why do some give up along the way?
It is simply because they are not fit enough? I was stirred to dig a little deeper into what the Scriptures teach us on being fit, having been greatly inspired by some of the discussions that we have been having over the past week, with Henry’s continued focus on ‘The Fit Man’, and so I would like us to look at a few verses in this regard and take a closer look at the importance of our need to be fit in the Word!
Sha’ul made it clear to Timotiyos that while many will fall away from the belief and pay attention to misleading spirits and the teachings of demons, he was to exercise himself to reverence. The Word in the Greek for ‘exercise’ is γυμνάζω gumnazō – Strong’s G1128 which means, ‘to exercise naked, to train, disciplined training, to exercise vigorously’, and is a Greek word that is figuratively used to describe that which demands concentration on what is on the inside and hence speaks of the urgency of a spiritual discipline that one is to be trained in!
This verb is used 4 times in the Renewed Writings and all refer to the training of the inward heart and spirit of man:
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 4:7 “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself rather to reverence.”
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature whose senses have been trained by practice to discern both good and evil.”
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:11 “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.”
These three passages clearly highlight the inner disciplined training of the heart and mind, while the last reference is a reference to those walking after the flesh in filthy lust and despising authority, and are about to receive the wages of unrighteousness:
Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 2:14 “having eyes filled with an adulteress, and unable to cease from sin, enticing unstable beings, having a heart trained in greed, children of a curse”
What we take note of here is that there is a danger of many who are not being trained in reverence and are having their hearts trained in greed!
The True Fit set-apart ones of Elohim are those who exercises themselves to reverence and are growing in maturity, having been trained by practice to discern both good and evil and are yielding the peaceable fruit of righteousness, having been trained by the discipline of Elohim!
All of these words we see here – exercise, training, discipline – all words that require one to be properly fit, lest they end up quitting and not being able to finish! Our ability to endure faithfully will be greatly determined by our fitness in the Truth.
Let us therefore take a look at a couple of Hebrew and Greek words that have been translated as ‘fit’, in order for us to faithfully take a proper assessment of our fitness and see how fit our reverence for our Master and Elohim is!
Last week we read in the Torah portion from Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16 of the ‘fit’ man who was to take the goat for Azazel into the Wilderness:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 16:21 “Then Aharon shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and shall confess over it all the crookednesses of the children of Yisra’ĕl, and all their transgressions in all their sins, and shall put them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a fit man.”
This would certainly not be an easy task and would require a very strong and fit man to do the task of taking the goat upon which all the sins of Yisra’ĕl had been put, far away and sending it to a land cut off.
This is a wonderful picture of יהושע, for only He alone could pay the price for our sin, once and for all – for He alone is the only One who is worthy to be the Fit Man who removes our sins from us.
The Hebrew word used here for ‘fit’ is עִתִּי ittiy – Strong’s H6261 which means, ‘fit, timely, readiness’, and is only used here in Scripture, which highlights for us a perfect picture of the perfect work of Messiah, and how He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the offering of Himself, and having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to those waiting for Him, unto deliverance.
When we recognise how we are to walk as Messiah walked and stay in Him, we must recognise our need to be ‘fit’, as He is ‘fit’, always having the readiness to give an account of the hope we have in Him, and therefore be done with sin, having our lives disciplined in the training of reverence!
Another Hebrew word that is translated into English as ‘fit’ is the word עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 meaning, ‘to do, work, make, produce, practice, execute, to act with effect, to observe, to bring about, institute’, and is a clear reference to what one physically and practically does, and can also mean, ‘celebrate’, which I think is very fitting, especially when we see how this word is also translated as ‘perform’ in regards to the clear command given for us in keeping and performing the Feasts!
It is truly a great ‘joy’ TO DO the laws and right-rulings as prescribed!
So many today think that it is a huge burden to do what is commanded, yet that is so far from the truth!
When we diligently observe and guard to do all He commands us to do, it is a great joy and a delight and not heavy at all!
A derivative of this word עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 is the word מַעֲשֶׂה ma’aseh – Strong’s H4639 and means ‘a deed, work or acts, accomplishments’. The “Acts” of the Apostles speaks of the deeds or acts of that which the Apostles did and records their ‘acts’ of obedience. We shall be known by our fruits based on our proper reverence and submission to our Master, which shall be evidenced in our “acts of obedience”, as we walk in righteousness, guarding to do all He has commanded us to do, all the time!!!
This word עָשָׂה asah – Strong’s H6213 is translated as ‘fit’ in:
Melaḵim Bět/2 Kings 24:16 “And all the mighty brave men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for battle, these the sovereign of Baḇel brought to Baḇel into exile.”
While this is an account of Yerushalayim being exiled we take note here that all the mighty and brave and fit were taken to Baḇel. Why I highlighted this verse is to point out the expression of men that were ‘fit’ for battle, and what this teaches us is that we who are to be fit and dressed in the armour of Elohim, must be fit for battle – the reason we need to be armed in the Torah, so that we can stand and after having done all – stand! Many people are unable to keep standing as they are not fit in the Torah, and therefore the ability to be properly dressed in the armour of Elohim becomes too hard and they fall away!
Another Hebrew word that is translated into English as ‘fit’ is עָתֹד athoḏ – Strong’s H6257 which means, ‘to be ready, destined, make ready’, and is translated as fit in:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:27 “Prepare your outside work, and make it fit for yourself in the field; then you shall build your house.”
This is a very powerful parable that is given to us here by Shelomoh as we recognise the clear language of our responsibility in building a proper house!
The Hebrew word used here for ‘prepare’ is כּוּן kun – Strong’s H3559 which means, ‘ready, steadfast, established, firm, set up, determined, prepared’, and it is written in the ‘hiphil active’ tense which can carry the meaning of, ‘to establish, set up, accomplish, so, make firm, provide’. The word used in this verse for ‘work’ is מְלָאכָה melaḵah – Strong’s H4399 which means, ‘occupation, work, business, craftsmanship’ and comes from the same word as מַלְאָךְ malaḵ – Strong’s H4397 meaning, ‘a messenger, ambassador, envoy’. What is being clearly expressed here is the urgency of our need to be established as faithful ambassadors while we are in the field, that is the world, and when we have made ourselves fit, as a Bride should be, then our Husband can come and fetch us and build His House!
Another word in Hebrew that we see being translated as ‘fit’ is the word צָלַח tsalaḥ – Strong’s H6743 meaning, ‘to advance, prosper, successful, victorious, press through and succeed’, and is used in:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 15:4 “See, into the fire it shall be given for fuel. Both ends of it the fire shall burn, and its middle shall be scorched. Is it fit for any work?”
Yeḥezqěl was asked by יהוה if the vine was any different to other trees and if it was fit for any work.
He asks him a couple of rhetorical questions making it clear that a vine cannot even be used to make a peg upon which something can hang and it cannot be made into any work! When one parallels this passage with Yoḥanan/John 15 we are able to see a clear message and that is that without יהוה we can do nothing! Yisra’ĕl had become a degenerate vine and fit for nothing, all because they had forsaken יהוה, and our ability to be prosperous and succeed, or be fit for anything is only when we stay in Messiah, the True Vine! In the next Chapter the word of יהוה came to Yeḥezqěl and he was told to make known to Yerushalayim all her abominations, and in rebuking His wayward people He made it clear to them that He had adorned them and made them fit for royalty:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 16:13 “Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, and honey, and oil. And you were exceedingly pretty, and became fit for royalty.”
Despite being adorned they trusted in their own loveliness and whored with the nations.
Made fit and beautified, yet they whored! This is a sobering reminder to us to never take for granted what the Master has done for us, and the righteousness which He has clothed us in, lest we end up trusting in our own loveliness and turn away from true set-apartness and turning our fitness for royalty into abominable whoring!
He has given us all we need for life and reverence, all we need to exercise reverence and be fit for royalty, and this He has done by giving us His Word and as we meditate upon His Torah day and night and guard to do all that is written in it, we can be fit – fit for royalty, for we are a royal priesthood!
The word צָלַח tsalaḥ – Strong’s H6743 is translated as ‘prosperous’ in:
Yehoshua/Joshua 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Torah depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you guard to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and act wisely.”
As we consider our need to be dressed in set-apart garments of righteousness, we must exercise ourselves in the fear of Elohim, guarding His Word without compromise! We are also warned by the words of our Master and can learn a great deal about our need to be fit, as we continue to dig into a Greek word that is used 3 times in the Renewed Writings, and is translated as ‘fit’.
Luqas/Luke 9:62 “But יהושע said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the reign of Elohim.”
These were the words of our יהושע to a man who was called by our Master to follow Him, but he responded to Messiah and said that he first wanted to go and bury his father. יהושע then told him to let the dead bury their own dead, but that he was to go and announce the reign of Elohim. It was not that this man’s father had died, but that he only wanted to follow Messiah once his father had died so that he would not lose out on any inheritance from his father, and this is what Messiah recognised and told him that the work of announcing the kingdom is far more important than waiting for a worldly inheritance from a dead father. Another then came to the Master and said that he would follow but he first needed to go and say goodbye to his house. This again was not about literally saying goodbye but was a delay tactic, and what was being made clear here is that once you commit your way to the Master you cannot turn back. These men were making big commitments with their mouths yet were not willing to act upon their confession straight away as they had other worldly matters that had a grip on their lives! And this is where Messiah speaks these words by making it clear that when you follow Him there can be no turning back to old ways, for if you do then you are not fit for the reign of Elohim. Our ability to announce the reign of Elohim must be seen in our fitness and readiness to enter into the reign of Elohim, by having counted the cost and forsaken all in order to exercise true reverence which is profitable for all!
The Greek word used here for ‘fit’ is εὔθετος euthetos – Strong’s G2111 which means, ‘well placed, ready for use, fit, useful’, and comes from two words: 1) εὖ eu – Strong’s G2095 which is an adverb meaning, ‘good, well done’ and 2) τίθημι tithēmi – Strong’s G5087 which means, ‘to lay up, lay aside, appoint, establish’. What we can certainly begin to understand from the construct of these two words is that a true fit taught one of the Master is ‘good and established’ in the Word. A word that is derived from this root word τίθημι tithēmi – Strong’s G5087 is the Greek word I mentioned a couple of weeks ago and is for ‘treasure’, and that is the word θησαυρός thēsauros – Strong’s G2344 which means, ‘treasure, storehouse, magazine, repository’, and refers to, ‘the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up’. And in understanding that we have this treasure in earthen vessels we are able to see that we have, in a manner of speaking, His thesaurus in us. His Good and established Word He has put in us in order that we may be fit for every good work, as we stay in Him and exercise proper reverence!
However our Master makes it clear to us that you cannot put your hand to the plough, look back and think that you are fit enough! Our eyes must constantly be fixed on the Prince and Perfecter of our faith, not turning to the right or to the left but pressing on with great endurance as fit ones of the Most High!
This word for ‘fit’ – εὔθετος euthetos – Strong’s G2111 is also used in:
Luqas/Luke 14:35 “It is not fit for land, nor for manure, they throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
In a powerful parable of fitness Messiah makes it very clear what is regarded as not being fit for anything!
He was using a number of pictures in expressing the need to be fit for the reign, and making it clear that following Him will cost you your all, and if you cannot give up all to follow Him then you are as salt that has become tasteless and of absolutely no use!
This is also a clear parable of judgement as we recognise the words that He uses here in saying that those who are as tasteless salt will be cast out, and with the use of the phrase ‘he who has ears let him hear’, we are immediately reminded of the Word of Messiah to the 7 assemblies in Ḥazon/Revelation, which, combined, is a collective message of warning to the unfit, while an encouragement to endure to the fit!
The third use of this Greek word for ‘fit’ εὔθετος euthetos – Strong’s G2111 is in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 6:7 “For ground that is drinking the rain often falling on it, and is bearing plants fit for those by whom it is tilled, receives blessing from Elohim”
As we consider these words we are able to see the clear warning against the dangers of lacking proper fitness in the Word!
This Chapter 6 in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews begins by making it clear that we are to move on to maturity and perfection and move on from the basics. The writer then goes on to give a sobering reality of the fate of those who have once tasted the Good Word of Elohim and have fallen away. Those who began to build yet lacked a proper fitness and have fallen away are unable to be renewed again to repentance. We then come to the assurance of what true fitness brings – and that is the blessing of Elohim. The analogy of ground drinking rain is a clear reference to the soil of our hearts that are constantly being watered by the Truth. For the ground to be drinking the water of the Word it needs to be constantly worked and tilled in order that the water can penetrate the soil and cause the peaceable fruit of righteousness to come forth.
Hoshěa/Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap according to kindness, break up your tillable ground, it is time to seek יהוה, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”
If we are not sowing righteousness and tilling the ground of our heart then the heart can become hard and the waters will just run off and not penetrate the spoil as it should, leaving many thirsty and weak and unfit. The blessing of Elohim is received by the fit who are tilling the soil of their hearts and keeping out the weeds of compromise, while the next verse makes it clear:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 6:8 “but if it brings forth thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near to being cursed, and ends up by being burned.”
The word that is sown among thorns are they who hear the word, and the worries of this age, and the deceit of riches, and the desires for other matters, entering in, choke the word, and it becomes fruitless.
Yoḥanan/John 15:6-7 “If anyone does not stay in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. And they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 “If you stay in Me, and My Words stay in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”
The Greek word translated as ‘stay’ is μένω menō – Strong’s G3306 and means, ‘to stay, abide, remain, stand, kept continually, endure’. In other words, when we ‘stay’ in The Master we do not change our commitment to bearing fruit of set-apartness, and we do not shrink back from standing firm in the Truth, but rather remain firm in our fervent stand of faith!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:38-39 “But the righteous shall live by belief, but if anyone draws back, my being has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who draw back to destruction, but of belief to the preservation of life.”
יהוה takes no pleasure in those who get slack in their obedience and get choked by thorns that should never have entered into the heart in the first place! The Greek word translated as ‘draws back’ is ὑποστολή hupostolē – Strong’s G5289 meaning, ‘a letting down, shrinking back’, and by implication renders the understanding of ‘apostasy, falling away’. The Greek word translated as ‘preservation’ is περιποίησις peripoiēsis – Strong’s G4047 which means, ‘purchased possession, preservation, acquisition, peculiar, property’. We, as a set-apart people unto Elohim, have been sealed with Set-apart Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession! We have been purchased, and are to hold fast to the sure promise and hope we have in our Master, as we do not draw back or fall away, but press on and stand firm! This calls for us to make sure we are FIT, always ready and armed in the Truth in everything we say and do, giving no place for slackness or compromise!
As we consider our need to be fit for the reign let me ask you – “How fit is your reverence?” Have you found yourself slacking off a bit? Have you found that you don’t seem to have the stamina you used to have, so to speak?
Have you found that your fervency for gathering with the set-apart ones has lost a bit of zeal and you find it hard to do so as regularly as you should? Have you been fit in having a proper quiet time each morning with the Master and His Word, or have you been skipping the need to do this because the pressures and worries of life have choked out the fitness to do so?
This is: FITNESS ASSESMENT TIME – HOW FIT IS YOUR REVERENCE?
This is a call for true set-apart fitness!
Our fruit must be brought to perfection, through faithful endurance under all trials and pressures:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:4 “And let endurance have a perfect work, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in naught.”
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!