Shabbat Shalom family,
Tehillim/Psalm 27:14 “Wait on יהוה, be strong, and let Him strengthen your heart! Wait, I say, on יהוה!”
‘Wait on יהוה’ – and this word for wait is קָוָה qavah – Strong’s H6960 meaning, ‘to wait for, eagerly wait, expect, hopefully waiting’ and carries the intensity of being commanded to look eagerly for the soon return of our Light, Saviour and Refuge in who we continually trust and praise and are taught by; for when we wait on יהוה our strength is renewed – and waiting on יהוה requires our active response to who He is, with great intensity.
The word in Hebrew for ‘be strong’ is חָזַק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2388 and carries the meaning, ‘to grow firm, fasten upon, strengthen, take hold of’ and can have the concept of ‘grasp between your ears’.
When we grasp between our ears what we ought to, then יהוה will strengthen us which is the root word – אָמֵץ amats H553 – means ‘to be alert both physically and mentally, be fully alert – awake and not asleep, be steadfast’.
Waiting on יהוה is not a ‘passive’ thing, but involves an intense and earnest seeking His Kingdom and His Righteousness and getting wisdom and growing in understanding through the doing of His Word!
Now we all ‘know’ this – but how practical is this process in your everyday life? Are you truly waiting of יהוה as you should, or are you getting caught up in so much worldly mess that you tend to neglect the need to ‘wait on Him’ so that He can strengthen your heart to endure everything you face!
Hearing and doing the Word of Elohim is a mark of a wise builder:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does them, shall be like a wise man who built his house on the rock”
Building is a continued theme all through Scripture and we are called to be wise builders who build on the Rock – יהושע Messiah, and Sha’ul tells us that he was a wise master builder according to the favour of Elohim that was given him and that each one should look at how he build on the foundation that has been laid! As we seek to build as we should by doing all that Elohim has commanded us to do, we recognise that each one has a clear responsibility to build his part, so as to not cause a hindrance to another’s building progress.
We also know that the enemy hates it when we are building as we should and will do everything he can to stop you from building up the body of Messiah! In a message tonight called, “GET RID OF THE RUBBISH THAT HINDERS BUILDING!” I want us to look at a very powerful verse that reveals a great deal to us today, as we all have a heart to be building the Kingdom of Messiah wherever we walk, and how we are to guard ourselves from the schemes of the enemy that constantly tries to hinder that which יהוה builds and all that we labour in!
Turn with me to Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 4:10 (Read)
As we read this verse, how many of you at times feel like expressing similar words as these… or say things like… “I have no strength, and there is just too much rubbish to deal with right now”???
In chapter 3 we see a clear picture of true community working together, each playing their part in building the wall, representing what it truly means to work together. If someone didn’t do their part there would be a hole/breach in the wall and cause there to be a weakness and possible threat to all.
In 4:6 we also are told that the people began to build because they had a heart to work, which made the enemy mad, and when the wall was half built, all the enthusiasm and passion that the builders had was quickly diminished under the threat of the enemy… so much so that this once very strong and courageous lot were feeling weak and were despondent and ready to quit! Sanballat was wroth that they were building and did all he could to threaten and discourage so as to hinder their progress and put an end to the building. The name of this wicked enemy, Sanballat, means ‘strength’ – yet we recognize that as a picture of Satan we know that the strength of the enemy over his prey lies is in the power of causing sin/lawlessness, which in turn leads to condemnation, discouragement, doubt and even alienation!
Discouragement is a very powerful weapon of the enemy and he will use it to get you to stop you from walking wholeheartedly in Messiah. Discouragement simply means to be deprived of courage and confidence – the very things we are commanded to be in Messiah – strong and courageous! The ‘dis’ in ‘discouragement’ is a prefix that renders the meaning of a word to be the opposite of or having the absence of – therefore – discouragement = without courage or the absence of courage! What is also interesting to know is that the term ‘Dis’ was also a name of a Roman deity of the underworld, and was the equivalent to the Greek Pluto who was their deity of the underworld. The enemy will always do whatever he can to get you to do the opposite of what you have been called to in Messiah or cause you to be without that which the Word equips you with! And discouragement is how he does this with much success in many people lives, as discouragement turns progress into retreat, leading people to quit half way through something or bail out when things get heated, resign and ultimately put down tools altogether! How often have you been in a place where you have been discouraged to point of quitting and giving up? What did you do?
Discouragement is contagious, and if not dealt with can cause a whole lot of harm to others, beside oneself!
Here in the midst of the rebuilding process, Yehuḏah expressed their inability to continue! What we must recognize through this book of Neḥemyah, which is important for us as a body to realise, is that each one built up the wall in front of his own house – each one had a responsibility to secure the wall where he was at, and as they built together they would ensure that there were no ‘gaps’ in the wall. It is the same today – we all have a responsibility to be building that which is required of us and as we build according to the Word, then we secure our section of the wall so to speak and ensure that there is no breach in the wall, for if we do not do our part we risk an attack of the enemy coming into the camp and affecting others who are building and doing their part!
When anyone has compromise in their life it can affect the whole body , and often I think that we do not realise this, as our compromise could put others who are being steadfast in danger!!!
As we look at this verse I want to explore 5 of the Hebrew words found here in order for us to get a clearer understanding of our need to be consistent and faithful in our hearing, guarding and doing the Word of Elohim, every single day without compromise!!!
The word for ‘strength’ is כֹּחַ koaḥ – Strong’s H3581 which means, ‘power, might i.e. the potential to exert force in performing some function; physical strength; virility; power and ability to do that which on is capable to perform’.
In other words this word speaks of one’s ability to be firm and do what is required!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:5 “Mighty is the wise in strength, and a man of knowledge strengthens power”
Knowledge and wisdom of Elohim increases our power or strength to do what is required!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:10 “If you falter in the day of distress, your strength is small!”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the faint, and to those who have no might He increases strength.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:31 “but those who wait on יהוה renew their strength, they raise up the wing like eagles, they run and are not weary, they walk and do not faint.”
Miḵah/Micah 3:8 “But truly I am filled with power, with the Spirit of יהוה, and with right-ruling and with might, to declare to Ya’aqoḇ his transgression and to Yisra’ĕl his sin.”
It is יהוה who strengthens us and His Word helps us to stand firm and be strong, and here at the rebuilding of the wall, we see the effect of discouragement from the enemy causing people to lose their strength by causing them to take their eyes off of the Truth and look to the circumstances and that which surrounded them. Pressures from without often cause problems within and it was not easy to carry on with the work of rebuilding when they were surrounded by imminent threat and danger of the enemy who were trying to cause their work to cease, and the task began to look impossible. This is exactly what the poison of discouragement will do – cause you to defeat yourself without the enemy having even attacked. It was discouragement that caused an entire generation to miss out on entering in to the Promised Land (Bemiḏbar/Numbers 32:9) where the 10 negative spies discouraged the heart of a nation!
Whenever you take your eyes off of the Truth – even for a split second – the cry in one’s heart that starts out strong can often quickly become one of, “I am not able, I cannot do this anymore!” and in the process end up agreeing with the lies of the enemy, when our eyes should be fixed on our Messiah in who we have strength to do all things!!!
The Hebrew word for ‘burden bearers’ is סַבָּל sabbal – Strong’s H5449 and means, ‘burden bearer, carry loads, transporter’ and this word is only used in Scripture in reference to those who were called or commanded to build. We must realise that we too are to be ‘burden bearers’ in a sense for Messiah tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light – we are to carry or transport that which He has given us to carry, while getting rid of the heavy yoke and burdens that we are not to carry. We are also reminded in:
Galatiyim/Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so complete the Torah of Messiah.”
True believers are burden bearers for their brothers and these ‘builders/burden bearers’ were being discouraged and became weak!
The word for ‘weakening’ is כָּשַׁל kashal – Strong’s H3782 meaning, ‘stumble, totter, stagger, bring down, failing, weakening’. They were stumbling in their required work – why? Because of false threats and messages from the enemy that will twist and manipulate the truth in order to cause people to fail in their obedient worship unto Elohim!
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 2:8 “But you, you have turned from the way, you have caused many to stumble in the Torah. You have corrupted the covenant of Lĕwi,” said יהוה of hosts.”
False teachers and false prophets who had turned away from the way – that is from the Torah of יהוה – were causing many to ‘stumble’ in the Torah and in the process had corrupted the Covenant of the priesthood! Today we recognise that the false lies and traditions of men that is being taught by false ear ticklers, who have turned away from the Torah, are causing many to stumble and become weakened in their faith to do all that is commanded; and many will say today that it is impossible to keep the Torah – which is an absolute lie from the enemy who simply wants to discourage the masses into thinking that they are unable to!
Another question we must ask as we see the progression of the words in this verse we are looking at tonight is – why were they or what was a cause of their being weakened? The answer is that they were not only discouraged by threatening words, but that they said clearly that there was too much rubbish that was a big hindrance to carry on building. Now this is a very practical problem – as they built the rubbish/building rubble heaps grew larger and larger and eventually became a stumbling block.
The word used for ‘rubbish’ is עָפָר aphar – Strong’s H6083 and means, ‘dust, powder, ashes, ground, mortar, debris, dry earth’. I am sure that we can all imagine the picture here – like any building site – as building progresses the rubble or debris heaps up and if not removed can become a problem!
This is also a figure of worthlessness for us as we also take note that rubble/rubbish is … rubbish… it is worthless!!!
This word comes from the primitive root verb עָפַר aphar – Strong’s H6080 which means, ‘to throw dust’ and also means, ‘to be grey or even to pulverise’. I find this is a very important picture lesson here in that we can recognise the things that can cause us to want to quit – when there is a huge rubble heap of rubbish standing in your way!!! This can also speak of having those ‘grey’ areas in your life – where compromise has a way of settling in where it shouldn’t because one overlooks certain key areas of obedience and shadows them over with justification and false reasoning, causing a matter or subject to be a grey area and therefore left un-dealt with! Rubbish heaps that were being spoken of here were also a result of the old broken down walls, and this was a stumbling block to the rebuilding process; and we also need to make sure that there is no rubble of the past standing in the way of our building today! Past sins/lawlessness that has not been dealt with or past theologies, traditions and lies that shaped us can also become very large rubble heaps hindering the building of the Kingdom if not dealt with and removed totally out of our lives. You cannot allow the rubble of past building blocks of lies and traditions that have been exposed, broken down and stripped away to be ‘in the way’ of rebuilding the walls of Truth in our lives, and very often theologies and dogmas of man and the holding on to inherited false teachings etc. can be a form of rubble standing in the way of building according to the clear instructions contained in the Torah.
What ‘grey areas’ of ‘rubbish’ are in your life? What rubbish heaps, if any, are standing in your way of building the kingdom by faith, which as a result of it being too inconvenient to clean up and get rid of, you have left alone and let it heap up before your eyes? Rubbish heaps eventually begin to stink and breed sicknesses! We are to get rid of rubbish that hinders building!!! This rubbish when understood as being ‘dust or earth’ can help us realise that it is also a picture for us of fleshly things that accomplish nothing in the building process of the Kingdom, and hinder the building process! What fleshly rubbish is there in your life that keeps you from being strengthened to build?
The word used for ‘build’ is בָּנָה banah – Strong’s H1129 which means, ‘rebuild, establish a family, build up’.
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, as indeed you do.”
Rubbish heaps hinder one’s ability to encourage and build others up – the thing we are supposed to be doing daily – yet when there is too much ‘flesh’ involved then the heap before one’s eyes hinders obedience and progression!
Tehillim/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.”
We can only build His way – and that is to walk according to His Torah – which is spiritual and we are to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:3 “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established”
We know that in Scripture, wisdom is often a reference to the Torah or instructions of Elohim, and so He has given His clear building plans that we are to labour according to – any other way is simply vain labour! By the Torah (instructions) of Elohim the house is built and by the ‘doing’ of these instructions that brings understanding it is firmly established upon the Rock. Building contrary to the Torah is vain labour!
Ḥaggai/Haggai 1:2 “Thus spoke יהוה of hosts, saying, ‘This people have said, “The time has not come, the time the House of יהוה is to be built.” ’ ”
Ḥaggai/Haggai 1:8 “Go up to the mountain, and you shall bring wood and build the House. And I will be pleased with it, and let Me be esteemed,” said יהוה.”
What are you building? Have you been about building יהוה’s House or about building your own security and comfort under the disguise of an assumed Torah obedience, while there are still many ‘grey’ areas of rubbish lying around or you have been holding on to past rubble that has no part in the rebuilding process, but rather only hinders the building?
Discouraged people will often affect others and cause doubt and compromise in their walk to become acceptable while doing nothing about getting rid of the rubbish heap of sin/lawlessness or worthless matters that consume their time, and this causes instability and double mindedness; and in community if we let down our guard through lies and discouragement and allow the rubbish heaps to get built up we risk endangering the lives of others!
Neḥemyah did not get discouraged, nor was he influenced by the negativity of those who were weakened in the flesh; and instead of becoming discouraged he prayed to יהוה and trusted in and relied upon on the sure Word and promises of Elohim! Neḥemyah sought יהוה and had his strength renewed:
Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 6:9 “For all of them were making us afraid, saying, “Let their hands slacken for the work, and it not be done.” But now, make my hands strong.”
He cried out to יהוה to make his hands strong! The word used here for ‘strong’ is חָזַק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2388 and carries the meaning, ‘to grow firm, fasten upon, strengthen, take firm hold of’ and can have the concept of ‘grasp between your ears, get a firm handle on the matter’.
The word for ‘hands’ is יָד yad – Strong’s H3027 and we understand in the Hebraic mind-set that one’s hand symbolises what one does or one’s ‘works’ and to us as believers it speaks of our works of righteousness – that is the guarding and doing of His commands; and here Neḥemyah in asking יהוה to make his hands strong, he was also declaring his faith in the clear instructions and provision of יהוה that would cause him to be strengthened in his ability to do what is commanded, by grasping between the ears the Truth of His Word!!!
As we consider the events of the rebuilding of the wall and the effect of the tactics of the enemy may we recognise that any rubbish in our lives can hinder the rebuilding process. Rubbish heaps will cause us to be unable to see the enemy who hides behind such heaps and heaps of rubbish take up unnecessary space which will leave no room to build as one should. Rubbish heaps makes building work harder and seem more strenuous and cause one to think that too much is being asked of them, and in the process the heaps of rubbish will cause of loss of sight and one with rubbish in their life cannot focus on rebuilding.
In verse 14 we see the charge to not be afraid and to remember the great and awesome יהוה – and fight for your family!!! We are family and we each have an important role to play in building our section of the wall and keeping our lives free of rubbish so that our building will not be hindered and cause a breach or hole in the wall, giving the enemy access to attack others in our family.
How many of you have felt weak of late? As we consider these words – ask yourself if there is any rubbish in front of you that needs to be chucked? We as a family have a great responsibility toward one another and if we allow compromise or any grey areas to be acceptable in our own individual lives, know that this will put everyone else at risk, even if they are building well! May we be as these people were, despite the threat of the enemy – people who have a mind to work, a heart to pray and ears to hear with watchful eyes as we fix them on our Redeemer and King – יהוה of Hosts!
Mind, heart, eyes and ears – all focused on the Truth – let us too be girded about with His Truth – His Torah as we labour joyously together in Yahushua Messiah and never drop our guard!
Has there been or is there some rubbish in your life (and you will know if there is as you look intently into the mirror of His Word) – that has caused you to lose focus on being a faithful builder – then –
GET RID OF THE RUBBISH THAT HINDERS BUILDING!!!
As rubbish is cleaned away, let us build one another up in the most set-apart faith – for there is work to do, aměn!
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 peace, aměn!