11th of the 5th month 2016/2017
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6:10 “For the rest, my brothers, be strong in the Master and in the mightiness of His strength.”
These words of Sha’ul were very important words that he was speaking to the believers in Ephesos, as he had given them much encouragement in helping them recognise that they who were once dead in their trespasses had now been made alive in Messiah, having been purchased by His blood and adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High. He gave them clear instructions on putting off the things of the flesh and made it clear that they should no longer walk as the nation’s walk as they put on the new man and walk in set-apartness. His words to the believers back then are as alive and applicable to us today as it was for the body of Messiah back then. These words ‘begin’ the closing of his letter’s instructions by encouraging the believers to be strong in the Master and the mightiness of His strength, after which he gives them clear instructions on how to do this as he describes the armour of Elohim that believers are to put on, in order to stand, stand and keep standing!
Many would have certainly taken heed and applied these instructions, yet it would not take long before the believers at Ephesos had become weakened by the battles of life and had neglected the ability to properly put on the armour of Elohim and be strengthened in the mightiness of the strength of Elohim! What happens when we do not put on the complete armour of Elohim? Well it is obvious… we become vulnerable to attack and the damaging effects of not being properly dressed. We have discussed at length in the past how the ‘Armour of Elohim’ is likened to being dressed in the ‘Torah of Elohim’, as we are dressed in righteousness and serve as a faithful priesthood, as we can take great lessons from the collective parts of the armour that Sha’ul describes to the garments of the High Priest as described in the Torah. We, who are the body of Messiah, our High Priest, must be dressed in His righteousness and the how to do this is clearly given to us in:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25 “And it is righteousness for us when we guard to do all this command before יהוה our Elohim, as He has commanded us.”
We are also told in:
Ḥazon/Revelation 19:7-8 “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him praise, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife prepared herself.” 8 And to her it was given to be dressed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the set-apart ones.”
Guarding the commands is righteousness for us and becomes our fine linen that sets us apart as His Bride that is making herself ready for marriage of the Lamb and therefore we see how the proper guarding of the commands is how we put on the complete armour of Elohim and love Him and guard against losing that love!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:2-3 “By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and guard His commands. 3 For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy”
Yoḥanan Bět/2 John 1:6 “And this is the love, that we walk according to His commands. This is the command, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”
What I am simply highlighting here as a clear foundation is that in order for us to properly love Elohim and walk in His love we must be dressed in His righteousness by guarding to do His commands, and to do so with joy, for it is not a burdensome thing if one truly loves Elohim and does not let go of that love by clinging to His Word, even in distressing times. In Ḥazon/Revelation 2:1-7 we are given the message that was to be spoken to the assembly in Ephesos. While they had done many works and had endurance, we take note of the clear thing that the Master had held against them and that was that they had lost their first love. They were commanded to remember from where they had fallen and repent and do the first works! Ephesos was the most important commercial city of Asia Minor. Sha’ul brought the Besorah to Ephesos and stayed there for 3 years and all Asia Minor heard the Good News because of that which Sha’ul did when he separated the taught ones and reasoned daily in the school of Turannos for two years. He later sent Timotiyos to oversee the assembly here. Yoḥanan, in his later years, moved to Ephesos – and this once very vibrant assembly had lost its first love! This letter was written at least 35 years after Sha’ul had established this assembly, which teaches us how quickly true fervent and zealous love can grow cold. But how does it grow cold so quickly? The answer is very simple! When you continue to walk as the nation’s walk then you will grow cold in your love for the Truth!
Sadly this once vibrant loving assembly had allowed the practices of the nations to influence them and lose their first love of guarding the commands. Many may have been influenced by the worldly patterns while others may have dropped their guard under the threats of the enemy and the harshness of the times that made it very tough to guard righteousness, especially when many were quickly letting go from what once had united this assembly. What is clear is that in less than 50 years this assembly had stopped being strengthened in the Master and the mightiness of His strength as they had resorted to other means for finding strength only to find that their position of love had been greatly weakened and unless repented of they risked being destroyed. This is a vital lesson for us today too as we take heed of the loving words of our Master who calls us to repent of all falsehood and the seeking of strength in anything other than Him!
In a message tonight called, “יהוה IS MY STRENGTH AND MY SHIELD!” I want us to be able to make this bold declaration with great confidence as we put on righteousness and stand armed in His Truth and are equipped to faithfully love Him as trustworthy ambassadors that are living in the midst of chaos, sin and deceit!
Please turn with me to Tehillah/Psalm 28 which is a very powerful Tehillah/Psalm of Dawiḏ from which we can learn a great deal! (Read).
Like Tehillah 7 and Tehillah 17, this Tehillah/Psalm 28 is also an individual lament by Dawiḏ who felt the threat of his enemies and had no one to help him but יהוה (Yahweh). We are certainly able to learn so much from the Tehillim of Dawiḏ as many a time they can become very personal cries to us as we identify with his words as our own before יהוה, especially when the pressures of trying circumstances begin to increase in an attempt to squeeze the life out of us!
Dawiḏ begins this Tehillah with a plea to יהוה to hear his cry for help; then begs יהוה to not punish him but rather punish his enemies. In response to יהוה’s favourable answer to his plea, Dawiḏ praises יהוה for answering him and he closes this song with words that could make this Psalm suitable for congregational worship, as the petition is given to יהוה to save His people and be their Shepherd, for יהוה is the strength of His people!
This Tehillah is an earnest cry for help that Dawiḏ cries out to יהוה for as he needed help against his enemies, who are also enemies of Elohim and then praises יהוה for His answer and strength and then prays for all of יהוה’s chosen people!
That is a summary of this Tehillah yet we can glean so much as we take a look at a few key elements contained herein, which are certainly able to equip us in recognising where our help and strength comes from!
In his opening cry Dawiḏ addresses יהוה as his ROCK! Dawiḏ knew who His sure foundation was and upon whom he could stand and put full trust in! In the song of Mosheh that was spoken in the hearing of all the assembly of Yisra’ĕl, Mosheh declares the following, in:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:4 “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are right-ruling, an Ěl of truth and without unrighteousness, righteous and straight is He.”
Dawiḏ knew who The Rock is as we also take note of his words in:
Shemuʼěl Bět/2 Samuel 22:3-4 “My Elohim is my rock, I take refuge in Him, my shield and the horn of my deliverance, my high tower and my refuge. My Saviour, You save me from violence. 4 “I call on יהוה, the One to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”
We take note of the words of our Mighty Elohim and Rock in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 44:7-8 “And who is like Me? Let him call and declare it, and lay it before Me, since I appointed the everlasting people. And the events that are coming and those that do come, let them declare these to them. 8 ‘Do not fear, nor be afraid. Have I not since made you hear, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there an Eloah besides Me? There is no other Rock, I know not one.’ ”
יהוה (Yahweh) is our ROCK – there is no other!!!
Sha’ul confirms to us the clear fact of who יהושע is – He is our Master and Elohim, our Mighty Rock upon whom we can stand and be armed in His Truth and equipped to praise Him!
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 10:1-4 “For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brothers, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were immersed into Mosheh in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed, and the Rock was Messiah.”
יהושע (Yahushua) is our Rock!!!
Shemuʼěl Bět/2 Samuel 22:32 “For who is Ěl, besides יהוה? And who is a rock, besides our Elohim?”
Shemuʼěl Bět/2 Samuel 22:47 “יהוה lives! And blessed is my Rock! And exalted is my Elohim, The Rock of my deliverance.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 26:4 “Trust in יהוה forever, for in Yah, יהוה, is a rock of ages.”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘rock’ in all these verses comes from the root word צוּר tsur – Strong’s H6697 which means, ‘rock, cliff, stones, strength, block of stone, boulder’.
The phrase ‘my rock’ in Hebrew is written as צוּרִי tsuriy – ‘my rock’
The Hebrew word for ‘The Rock’ is הַצּוּר ‘hatsur’, and in the ancient pictographic script it looks like this:
Hey – הַ:
This letter is used to express ‘The’, and the original pictograph for this letter is , a man standing with his arms raised out. The meaning of the letter is ‘behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation’ from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out. It also carries for us the meaning of surrender as we lift up our hands and submit to יהוה as we lift our hands in praise, declaring His authority under which we humbly submit!
Tsadey – צּ:
The Ancient picture for this letter is , which is ‘a man on his side’, and it can represent the act of lying on one’s side in order to hunt or chase, when crouching I concealment, as well as ‘laying one’s self down for another’. We can also see how this can represent that which comes forth from the side! This can also picture for us a fish hook, giving us the meaning of ‘hunt or fish’.
Waw/vav – וּ:
The Ancient picture for this letter is , is pictured as a peg or ‘tent peg’, which was used for securing or tying the tent or other items. The possibility of it having a Y-shape is to show that it prevents the rope from slipping off. The root meaning of this letter is ‘to add, secure or hook’.
Resh – ר:
The Ancient picture for this letter is , ‘the head of a man’. This letter has the meanings of ‘head or man’ as well as ‘chief, top, beginning or first’.
As we consider this word used in Scripture for ‘The Rock’, when looking at the ancient pictographic letters we are able to render the following meaning when understanding the clear prophetic shadow picture of Messiah, The Rock in whom we find strength and Living Waters contained herein:
Behold, the One who shall lay down His life for us and secure for us the Covenant, is our Elohim and Head.
Do you know THE ROCK! While many may claim to say ‘yes’, Yoḥanan tells us how we shall know that we know Him:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3-5 “And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. 4 The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
Dawiḏ knew who THE ROCK was because he guarded His commands and could therefore confidently stand on His Word and cry out for help in times of distress and petition יהוה to hear his cry and not be deaf to him. He then petitions יהוה to hear the voice of his prayers, not only when he cries out to Him, but when he lifts up his hands toward the Set-Apart Speaking Place. This is clearly a powerful metaphor of submission, as the ‘lifting up of one’s hands’ speaks of surrender and praise to Him who sits enthroned on High. Lifting hands to the Set-Apart Speaking place also signifies a clear picture of hands that are submitted to do the Word of יהוה, which comes forth from the Set-Apart Speaking place – in other words Dawiḏ acknowledges that he is not able to do anything without the Word of Elohim as His hands are lifted to יהוה in praise and surrender to the will of Elohim! What we can learn from this powerful plea and cry for help is that many may be crying out for help yet their hands are not ‘lifted toward the Set-Apart Speaking Place’. By that I mean that many are crying out for Elohim to help them while their hands are busy with other things that are not pleasing to Elohim and clearly show, by the fruit of their lives, that their works are not in complete set-apartness yet demand help from above while they are not firmly standing on The Rock with hands lifted high!
Tehillah/Psalm 50:14-17 “Offer thanksgiving to Elohim, and pay your vows to the Most High. 15 And call upon Me in the day of distress – let Me rescue you, and you esteem Me. 16 But to the wrong Elohim said, “What right have you to recite My laws, or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 while you hated instruction and cast My Words behind you?””
Dawiḏ petitions יהוה to not be deaf to him for if יהוה was silent to him then he would be like those who die. This opening petition teaches us the vital need for us to be standing firm on the Rock with hands lifted high to the set-apart speaking place, which is a clear metaphor for standing in the Truth and guarding the Truth by doing it and not turning aside to falsehood, but pursuing set-apartness by hearing, guarding and doing of the Word, for then we have the assurance that יהוה our Rock will hear our cry.
Dawiḏ asks יהוה for His help and asks that he is not drawn away with the wicked who pretend with their lips while their hearts are far from יהוה. This also teaches us how we need to ask יהוה to not let us get led astray by smooth talkers that may say all the right words yet their hearts are not rooted in the Rock as they compromise set-apartness and do not guard the Truth. Bad company corrupts good character and Dawiḏ asks יהוה to keep him far from that which can corrupt.
Dawiḏ knows the fate of the wicked and knows that יהוה rewards each one according to their works and with Dawiḏ calling on יהוה to punish and reward the wicked for their wrongdoing he is not being arrogant and cruel for he knows the Word of יהוה. These words would also be a sobering reminder to Dawiḏ to not be led astray by wickedness for the fate of the wicked is clear. In the midst of great battles and trials it could be easy to be led astray by smooth talkers who tickle your ear and this is what Dawiḏ is asking to be kept clear from. In times of distress where do you go to for help, or who do you go to for help? Do you go to those that may have sweet sounding advice yet they do not guard the Torah?
How often do you find yourself seeking the help of some who do not even know יהוה and you neglect to seek יהוה, the Rock that you should be standing on while being armed in His Truth? Where does your help comes from? While we certainly may find much resources and aid from people and things, we must never forget that our help comes from יהוה and we must be on guard against the dangers of being led astray from our true Rock and Help through the misleading help of some that can cause us to compromise our set-apartness.
Dawiḏ blesses יהוה for hearing his cry and answering his plea for help, guidance and support. This was a well-constructed song that teaches us to have full trust and reliance in יהוה who will help us as we call unto Him; and the resulting praise that we are able to bring to Him for answering us in our time of need. This is a confident faith that knows that יהוה has heard his cry. How confident are you when you pray to יהוה? Do you sometimes doubt whether יהוה has heard your cry for help or are you confident in your faith and trust in Him and can therefore give a blessing of thanksgiving, even in the midst of distress that you are crying out from?
Pilipiyim/Philippians 4:6 “Do not worry at all, but in every matter, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to Elohim.”
Dawiḏ faced much persecution and threats on his life, yet he knew who his Rock was and could confidently cry out to יהוה with the ability to bless יהוה in the confident trust that יהוה hears his voice as he remained steadfast on His Rock and did not turn aside to falsehood!
Dawiḏ understood the need to bless יהוה at all times:
Tehillah/Psalm 34:1 “I bless יהוה at all times; His praise is continually in my mouth.”
Some may think that it is easy to say this when all is going well, yet we must take note that these words of Dawiḏ were composed when it was not going so well.
This Tehillim/Psalm 34 was composed during the 4 years Dawiḏ was being violently hunted by Sha’ul, and after the first time he came before Aḵish and pretended to be mad! After having been hunted like a dog for 4 years by wicked king Sha’ul, Dawiḏ came to Gath and when he came before Aḵish the servants of Aḵish tried to accuse Dawiḏ of being a huge threat to Aḵish, and he acted like a madman before Aḵish, who then sent him out, and Dawiḏ fled to the cave of Aḏullam, where his family had joined him; and many who were in distress, in debt and bitter, under the wicked reign of Sha’ul was gathered to Dawiḏ. After some time Dawiḏ returned to Aḵish and Aḵish gave him Tsiqlaḡ, were he dwelt until Sha’ul died.
Why I am mentioning this is to highlight the clear trust Dawiḏ had in יהוה in all circumstances and could declare that he blesses יהוה at all times! How about you? How confident are you in knowing that יהוה hears the voice of your prayers?
How ready are you to bless יהוה at all times, even when faced with intense trials and difficult circumstances?
Dawiḏ was bold and confident, yet not arrogant! He could be because he knew who his Rock was and he guarded righteousness! He could bless יהוה at all times because he knew that יהוה was his strength and his shield!
Is יהוה your strength and your shield or do you find yourself seeking strength from other sources or even from within yourself and find yourself hiding behind excuses instead of facing battles and letting יהוה be your shield by putting complete faith and trust in Him and His Word?
The phrase, ‘יהוה is my strength and my shield…’ is written in Hebrew as יהוה עֻזִּי וּמָגִנִּי – ‘יהוה uzziy umaginniy’ and the word used here for ‘my strength’ is עֻזִּי – uzziy, which comes from the word עֹז oz – Strong’s H5797 which means, ‘strength, might, fortress, power, stronghold’, and this comes from the root verb עָזַז azaz – Strong’s H5810 which means, ‘to be strong, be brazen, prevail, display boldness’.
The Hebrew word used here for ‘and my shield’ is וּמָגִנִּי – umaginniy, which comes from the word מָגֵן magen – Strong’s H4043 which means, ‘shield, buckler, defence’, and is also understood as representing ‘a wall of protection’.
This kind of shield being spoken of here would often be as large as a door that would cover the whole man or even a door which could also cover the entrance to a cave; and many of the ancient shields were typically made of wood and covered with animal’s skins. When we think of the picture of this kind of shield, we can immediately see this pointing to יהושע Messiah, who is The Door, and in reference to the Tabernacle, we remember that the Set-Apart Place that had coverings of animal skins, we are able to understand that יהוה is our shield and we find our refuge in Him!
Can you say…
יהוה עֻזִּי וּמָגִנִּי
יהוה uzziy umaginniy
Dawiḏ could because he knew who the Rock of his deliverance was and he recognised the need to guard righteousness and not be led astray by the wicked who deceive with their vain lip service. He could bless יהוה at all times and declare:
“יהוה is my strength and my shield” – יהוה uzziy umaginniy
Dawiḏ says in verse 7 that because his heart has trusted in יהוה that his heart exults and with song he gives thanks.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘exults’ is עָלַז alaz – Strong’s H5937 – This word is used 16 times in the Tanak and carries the meaning of ‘rejoice, become jubilant, triumph, exult’:
Ḥaḇaqquq/Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree does not blossom, and there is no fruit on the vine, the yield of the olive has failed, and the fields brought forth no food, the flock has been cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I exult in יהוה, I rejoice in the Elohim of my deliverance. 19 יהוה the Master is my strength. And He makes my feet like those of deer, and makes me walk on my high places. To the chief singer with my stringed instruments.”
Straight up we can learn that our ability to exult and be jubilant in our Master cannot (and must not) be determined by the circumstances we find ourselves in, but rather we must always be able to exult and give praise to Him, regardless of how good or tough it may be! Because we know who our Rock is and our feet are firmly planted in His Word as we stand in Him armed in His Truth with the complete armour of Elohim.
Dawiḏ then makes it clear that יהוה is the strength of His people and calls upon יהוה to save His people and His inheritance and be their Shepherd!
As we consider the words of this Tehillah/Psalm 28 we must take time to reflect and ask if we are able to declare as Dawiḏ declared:
“יהוה is my strength and my shield” – יהוה עֻזִּי וּמָגִנִּי – ‘יהוה uzziy umaginniy’
Are you able to bless יהוה at all times because you know that you know Him because you guard His commands and are not being led astray by falsehood and ear tickling words that deceitfully lead astray and cause division or have you found yourself doubting about whether or not יהוה hears your prayers with thanksgiving? If there is any doubt then perhaps it is a sure sign that the complete armour of Elohim is not being properly worn and both feet are not firmly rooted in love, as compromise may has caused a drifting away from set-apartness with the first love actually been lost!
Can you, with song, thank Elohim, our Rock and shield?
The Hebrew word for ‘I thank Him’ in verse 7 is אֲהוֹדֶנּוּ – ‘ahoḏennu’ which is constructed from two root words:
1) הוּא – huw – Strong’s H1931 which is a pronoun that means, ‘he, she, it, him, her’, and:
2) יָדָה yaḏah – Strong’s H3034 which literally means ‘to throw, shoot or cast, to confess, laud with praise, extol, i.e., make a public confession of the attributes and acts of power of a person’ and comes from the word יָד yaḏ – Strong’s H3027 which means ‘hand’ and so the expression of giving thanks is understood in the Hebrew as ‘extending the hands in praise’ – that is why Sha’ul tells us in Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 2:8 that men everywhere should lift up their hands that are set-apart in prayer – our expression of giving thanks with the extended hands that are set-apart is in our willing obedience to working unto Elohim (extending the hand) in all we do – and at the same time giving Him esteem and praise. Giving thanks is not a silent matter and it must be seen in our work ethic too, as our actions may often speak louder than words! With the Torah of Elohim written on the tablets of our heart – our giving thanks to Him with all our heart is a bold declaration of our loving-commitment to walking in total obedience and guarding to do all He has commanded us! It is from this root word יָדָה yaḏah – Strong’s H3034 that we get the name יְהוּדָה Yehuḏah – Strong’s H3063 which means, ‘praised’.
How are your hands? Are you praising? How are you blessing יהוה? Can you lift your hands toward the set-apart speaking place and bless and praise His Name in all circumstances because your feet are firmly planted upon the Rock of our Deliverance or have the deceptive words and teachings of smooth talkers that lack heart caused you to doubt, drift and compromise, causing your ability to bless, praise and raise your hands be non-existent due to trying times?
Have you found yourself drained and crushed? Then wait on יהוה and He will renew your strength – for He is our strength and shield! As we consider how crazy the world is getting and how the wickedness of man has reached the levels of the depravity of the days of Noaḥ we must take courage and comfort in seeking our refuge and strength in Elohim alone, knowing that despite the imminent days of distress that shall soon be found, we need not fear – but rather acknowledge and declare that:
“יהוה is my strength and my shield” – יהוה uzziy umaginniy
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to and give you shalom!