Shabbat Shalom all,
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 9:16 “For if I bring the Good News, it is no boasting for me, for necessity is laid on me, and it is woe to me if I do not bring the Good News!”
Last week we looked at the words of our Master, יהושע Messiah, when He tells us clearly that: “No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the reign of Elohim” (Luqas/Luke 6:62); and here Sha’ul is clearly expressing how it is a great ‘woe’ to him if he does not proclaim the Besorah of Messiah and His Kingdom – he knew that if he were to turn back from doing what he should be – and that is ‘ploughing’ the field with the Besorah (Good News) – then it would be a severe woe to him. The Greek word translated here as ‘woe’ is οὐαί ouai – Strong’s G3759 which means, ‘alas! woe! (an expression of grief or denunciation)’. A ‘woe’ is typically used as an exclamation or interjection denoting pain or displeasure, and as a noun it us used to announce impending disaster or calamity. It is not always used to pronounce judgement, but can also be used as an expression of regret and sorrow over a miserable situation; yet we find it used in Scripture many times expressing a real threat of judgement that is to be unleashed upon a rebellious and stubborn people or nation.
In English we have often heard the slang expression of ‘oy!’ which over recent times has been used as a greeting as well as expressing grief and sorrow, and also it is used to warn another for doing what they shouldn’t as in “oy! what do you think you are doing?”
In a message tonight called, “OY! HEAR THE WARNING!” I would like us to look at a very severe ‘oy!’ or ‘woe’ that we need to take heed of today, lest we find ourselves neglecting our much needed duty and service of proclaiming the Besorah (Good News) of the Kingdom of Messiah! Please turn with me to Yeshayahu/Isaiah 28:1-6 (READ)
Here in this chapter we see a very severe ‘woe’ being proclaimed – and the Hebrew root word translated as ‘woe’ here is הוֹי hoy – Strong’s H1945 which means, ‘woe, alas!, ah!’ and is the prolonged form of הוֹ ho – Strong’s H1930. We often hear the term ‘hoy vey’ which in essence expresses a cry of grief or sorrow and declares, ‘woe is me!’, as one faces pain and regret; with the construction of two Hebrew words – אוֹי oy – Strong’s H188 which means, ‘woe’ and אֲבוֹי aḇoy – Strong’s H17 which is a primary interjection which means, ‘oh! Sorrow, grief’, and both of these can be found in:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 23:29 “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who feels hurt without cause? Who has redness of eyes?”… answer… :30 “Those staying long at the wine, those going in to search out mixed wine.”
LOOK AT THE VINE… NOT AT THE WINE!!!
Why I am sharing this with you is to get a clear picture of how this very emotional exclamation we see throughout Scripture, is being used as a severe warning and call to repentance, while clearly declaring the fate of those who refuse to hear and turn from wickedness and sin. When looking at the corrupt mixed wine of man-made theologies instead of the Truth will cause one to have woe, sorrow, contentions, complaints, feel hurt without cause etc…!
With Sha’ul saying it is ‘woe’ to him if he did not bring the Good News, he was simply making a very clear statement that if he did not bring the Good News then he would be under the severe threat of the woes of judgement that have been proclaimed in advance to the lawless and rebellious!
Here in this chapter 28 of Yeshayahu this woe is to the ‘proud crown of Ephrayim’, and tonight I want to dig into some of the Hebrew words found in these first 6 verses that hopefully will remind us that we, as a set-apart and called out chosen and royal priesthood, ought to be about the Master’s business proclaiming His Reign as faithful ambassadors of His Kingdom that is to come and under which we faithfully submit to here and now, obeying all He has commanded us to do!
There are many ‘woes’ given in Yeshayahu as this word is used over 20 times in a very clear warning against those who have forsaken the Truth and turned to following after their own lusts and twisted doctrines of man that has made up its own unrighteous laws that render a constructed form of vain worship under the veil of falsehood and lies, that does not submit to the Creator but rather contends with Him, as a complete disregard for His Torah is expressed openly, as the fear of Elohim has become a command of men that is taught!
Here in this chapter that we have read, we come to the heart of rebellion – and that is pride! Pride is a killer, and here is a severe warning to those who depend upon self-sufficiency! Here is the warning to those who have constructed a form of worship that may have an appearance of true worship, yet only breeds and teaches selfishness and pride.
The Hebrew root word translated here as ‘proud’ is גֵּאוּת geuth – Strong’s H1348 which means, ‘proud, swelling, majesty, excellent things’ and comes from the primitive root גָּאָה gaah – Strong’s H1342 meaning, ‘to rise up, grow, lifted, risen, highly exalted’, and when used in conjunction with the word ‘crown’ we can see the warning here to that ‘headship/rulership’ that has risen up or been exalted as the authoritive way of living for Ephrayim! Ephrayim, as we know is often used in Scripture in referring to the northern 10 tribes of Yisra’ĕl or also referred to as the House of Yisra’ĕl, and the first king of the Northern 10 tribes of Yisra’ĕl – Yaroḇ’am was from Ephrayim. In fact when you look at the record of all the kings of the House of Yisra’ĕl – the northern 10 tribes, we find that there was not one good king – all were bad!
This resulted in the 10 tribes of Yisra’ĕl being taken into Assyrian captivity and then scattered throughout all the earth, for which the True King, יהושע Messiah, came to seek and save!
The result of wicked rulership caused the complete intoxication of this Northern House of Yisra’ĕl/Ephrayim, as the lost sheep of Yisra’ĕl became drunk with the twisted theologies and dogmas of man, which has still gripped the masses today!
So here we see the clear warning against a ‘false crown’ of a people who were to be fruitful and increase, for Ephrayim means ‘doubly fruitful’. What once was a people who were under the clear authority of a beloved King, as pictured through Dawiḏ, had let the crown – the authority under which they submitted – become tarnished through pride!
This crown was not the crown of righteousness but selfishness and pride – a crown that had become very faded and had lost its splendid comeliness!
The use of these words here carry great insight for us in understanding this very fact. The Hebrew root word used for ‘fading’ is נָבֵל naḇel – Strong’s H5034 which means, ‘to be senseless, foolish, to sink or drop down, crumble, fade away, wither, lose heart’ and the root word translated as ‘flower’ is צִיץ tsits – Strong’s H6371 which means, ‘flower, blossom, wings, shining thing (plate)’ and is also translated as ‘plate’ in reference to the ‘plate of clean gold’ that was on the turban of the high priest that had the inscription: ‘SET-APARTNESS TO יהוה’ (Shemoth/Exodus 28:36).
What we in fact can see by this wording is how this warning given to Ephrayim was as a result of the sin of pride that had a fading effect of the need to be set-apart in righteousness, and the foolishness of sin that is causing many to lose heart and fade away from walking in the set-apart instructions of Elohim. A derivative of the word צִיץ tsits which is translated as ‘flower or plate’ is צִיצִת tsitsith – Strong’s H6734 which we know means, ‘tassel, fringe, lock’, and we are told in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 15:38-39 that we are to make ִיצִת tsitsith on the corners of our garments and put a blue cord in the ִיצִת tsitsith – which is for the purpose of reminding us to remember all the commands of יהוה and do them and not follow after our own heart and eyes after which we had previously went whoring! We are then further able to understand this severe ‘woe’ being given here – Ephrayim had allowed their set-apartness unto יהוה fade away as they neglected to remember to hear, guard and do all His commands and instead went whoring after the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life, which are not of Elohim but are of the world!
They had lost their ‘shine’ so to speak as they were no longer a light to the nations but had rather become as dark as the nations – and this we must take heed to guard against! Our sign of set-apartness is our obedience to His commands, and more specifically it is in keeping His Sabbaths and all His Appointed Times, for when we neglect to do this – we are in danger of allowing the sign of set-apartness to fade away, which can cause many to crumble under the pressures of this life and the deceit of wealth that choke out the Word!
This woe is to those who have become drunk by allowing the foolishness of rebellion becoming that which rules over them, as they submit to the intoxicating wine of the whore.
The Hebrew word translated as ‘splendid’ is תִּפְאָרָה tipharah – Strong’s H8597 which means, ‘beauty, adornment, splendour’ which is used to describe what the garments of Aharon and his sons were to be made for as a reflection of the character of Elohim by which He is described, and to which we are to ascribe the splendour of His Name which is to be upon us as set-apart children of the Most High. The Root word translated as ‘comeliness’ is צְבִי tseḇi – Strong’s H6643 which means, ‘beauty, honour’, which once again describes that which we are called to represent, yet Ephrayim’s splendour and comeliness had faded due to pride and self:
Shemuʼěl Bet/2 Samuel 1:19 “The splendour of Yisra’ĕl is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen!”
This was part of that which Dawiḏ ordered to be taught to the children of Yehuḏah, called ‘The Bow’, after he lamented for the death of Sha’ul and Yehonathan.
How the mighty have fallen! Pride has a way of puffing up self to a lofty position, set up only to fall and in Ěḵah we see the following verse:
Ěḵah/Lamentations 5:16 “The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!”
Sin and lawlessness will cause the crown of splendid comeliness to fall from our head – for which there is a great woe, and call to repentance!
In verse 2 we see the emphasis on who is strong and potent – the Master יהוה! While the ISR has translated this as יהוה, the Hebrew renders it as אֲדֹנָי Aḏonai – Strong’s H136, which means, ‘Master’ and is used in Scripture as a clear title of יהוה, for whom we show all reverence. The use of this term in describing His strength and potency is a very clear and powerful picture of a woe of judgement being given to a rebellious people who have turned away from the Master and in a sense have brought His Name to nought, and therefore in this woe we see how the all-powerful, strong and potent Master of ALL will bring forth judgement upon the wicked who are not marked by His Name in set-apartness!
In this verse we see the clear language of destructive judgement that will be poured out by the hand of the Master.
The Hebrew word translated as ‘downpour’ is זֶרֶם zerem – Strong’s H2230 which means, ‘a storm, flood of rain, thunderstorm, downpour’, and the root word translated as ‘hail’ is בָּרָד baraḏ – Strong’s H1259 and is also used metaphorically in Scripture in reference to the judgement of Elohim.
The word ‘destroying’ in Hebrew is קֶטֶב qeteḇ – Strong’s H6986 and means, ‘destruction, sting’ and the Hebrew word used here for ‘storm’ is שַׂעַר sa’ar – Strong’s H8178 which means, ‘storm, tempest, terror, horror’. Like a mighty flood of waters, so shall his judgement of destructive terror be cast down to the earth! What is interesting to also take note of here is that the Hebrew word used for ‘who casts down’ is – הִנִּיחַ – ‘hi’niyaḥ’ – and literally means, ‘He will cause to come down’ as it is written in the ‘hiphil’ tense of the root word נוּחַ nuaḥ – Strong’s H5117 which means, ‘to rest, come to rest, cast down, set down, permit’, and it is from this root that we get the name of נֹחַ Noaḥ – Strong’s H5146 who was the man who found favour in the eyes of יהוה, a righteous and perfect man in his generations and who walked with Elohim, doing all according to that which Elohim had commanded him. Understanding this helps us recognise this severe woe being given here as the impending judgement of Elohim is about to come down to earth, and our Master and King, יהושע Messiah, warned us that the last days will be as the days of Noaḥ – where many will have faded from set-apartness and only the remnant righteous shall be delivered in the time of Ya’aqoḇ’s trouble!
In Ḥazon/Revelation 16:21 we are also told of how big the hailstones will be – each being a talent – which is the equivalent to being between 26-36 kg’s each!!! A destructive judgement so fierce that men will blaspheme Elohim for this plague of hail.
Verse 3 further stresses that the crown of drunken proud will be trodden underfoot! This is a treading of the winepress in His wrath, which יהוה, by His own Arm, is coming to do:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 63:1-3 “Who is this coming from Edom, 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.”
Verse 4 continues to describe the destruction of the crown of the proud and rebellious – their splendid comeliness that is on their head will be eaten up, while the fruit of their deeds are in their hand! In other words destruction will come like a thief to those who are running after worthless matters, and those who think that they are eating of the fruit of their own hands, will be taken by surprise when that which they think they have is swallowed up in their own greed and will have nothing to show for themselves!
Tehillim/Psalm 21:8-10 “Your hand reaches all Your enemies; Your right hand reaches those who hate You. 9 You make them as a furnace of fire in the time of Your presence; יהוה does swallow them up in His wrath, and fire does consume them. 10 You destroy their fruit from the earth, and their seed from among the sons of men.”
While we recognise the severity of this ‘woe’, we also see the promise given to the faithful remnant, who have not allowed the crown of the splendid comeliness of set-apartness in יהוה to fade – and that is that יהוה of Hosts is to His remnant a crown of splendour and a head-dress of comeliness, a remnant who will meet our King face to face!!!
The word used for ‘remnant’ is שְׁאָר she’ar – Strong’s H7605 which means, ‘rest, residue, remnant, remainder, survivors’. What we come to recognise more and more as we walk in the commands of our Master, is that the remnant is only a ‘few’, and to us ‘few’ who hold fast to our King we have and hold on to the hope of His sure promises in יהושע Messiah, who is coming soon to be with us forever!
Verse 5 stuck out as a powerful witness for me, of how we are able to walk according to the Spirit, in the midst of a darkened and fading world! Here we are told that יהוה gives us, the faithful remnant, a spirit of right-ruling and He gives strength to those who repent and turn back to Him and submit to His Kingdom authority.
A spirit of right-ruling to those who sit in right-ruling!!!
The Hebrew word used here for ‘right-ruling’ is מִּשְׁפָּטִ ‘mishpat’ – Strong’s H4941 which means, ‘right-ruling or judgement’, and the plural of this word is – mishpatim’ – מִּשְׁפָּטִים – which is the name of the weekly Torah portion from Shemoth/Exodus 21:1-24:18, which Yisra’ĕl, after having heard יהוה speak the Ten Words, asked Mosheh to hear from יהוה all that they were to receive as instructions, and said that they would do all that he would come and speak to them. These are the rulings or further instructions that Mosheh came to deliver to the nation of Yisra’ĕl. These expand further on the words they heard, and express the rules required for living as a righteous nation, set-apart unto Elohim. These ‘mishpatim’ are the ‘legal procedures’ or firm ruling that are non-negotiable – this was how community would be ruled and how any issues that would arise would be dealt with in a prescribed way that is just and fair. These are what we could call the ‘social laws’ that clearly teach us how to get on with each other and how we are to behave and how we are to live according to how we have been created to be in יהושע.
Now here in Yeshayahu we are clearly told that יהוה gives a ‘spirit of right-ruling’ to him who ‘sits’ in right-ruling! The Hebrew word for ‘sits’ is יָשַׁב yashaḇ – Strong’s H3427 meaning, ‘sit, dwell, remain, abide, inhabit, sitting still’, and a modern word derived from this word which is translated as school is ‘yeshiva’. And to ‘sit’ or ‘sitting’ in the Hebraic min-set is an idiom for learning; and it is at the Master’s Feet that we come and sit and drink of His Pure and Clear Living Water and get great clarity and insight and strength to sojourn with joy! What is being clearly expressed here is the fact that “when you sit and learn His right-rulings, you receive the Spirit of His right-rulings”. This is very powerful indeed!
Each week on Shabbat we come together and we, as a remnant family of our Master, come and sit to hear and learn His right-rulings by which we are instructed to live; and in doing that we begin to receive the spirit of His right-rulings and not the letter alone!!! So many people who reject the need to guard the Sabbath and gather as a family for a proclaimed set-apart gathering, are never able to fully grasp the Spirit behind the letter, and in the process are never able to understand the life that the Spirit gives! It is by our faithful obedience in gathering as commanded that we begin to experience the true spirit behind the Word which gives us life and leads us in righteousness, and those who will not sit in right-ruling will never be able to worship the Father in Spirit and Truth, for His Word and His Spirit work together as they are One working in unity to build His House – that is us His Body:
Ḥaggai/Haggai 2:4-5 “And now, be strong, Zerubbaḇel,’ declares יהוה. ‘And be strong, Yehoshua, son of Yehotsaḏaq, the high priest. And be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares יהוה, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares יהוה of hosts – 5 the Word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Mitsrayim, and My Spirit is remaining in your midst, do not fear!’”
יהוה has always given His Spirit to those who are faithful and obedient in coming to sit and learn His ways, in order to guard and do them – and this is the promise we have as He gives us His Spirit with greater wisdom and understanding as we study His Word and walk in His ways!
He gives strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate – this is a call for repentance, as we know that the gate of a city represented the place/seat of authority where the judges would sit and rule. We also know that Messiah tells us that the gate is narrow and the way is hard pressed which leads to life, and there are few who find it; but those who turn back the battle at the narrow gate and repent from lawlessness and sin shall find life and right-ruling and strength!
The word for ‘turn back’ is שׁוּב shuḇ – Strong’s H7725 which means, ‘to turn back, return, repent, restore’. When true repentance and a turning back to יהוה occurs, then obedience is a natural response to a changed attitude and mind, with the willingness to hear, guard and do what is instructed from the Torah of Elohim that strengthens us to stand firm!
While there is more that we could dig into in this chapter, I wanted to bring a clear message of encouragement, in that while we may be few – in our obedience to walking the narrow way we are given the assurance of being strengthened and equipped to walk upright amidst a crooked generation and walk according to the Spirit; while at the same time we must take heed to hear the warning – the ‘WOE’ – against any form of pride or selfishness, so that we may continue to bear abundant fruit of righteousness and proclaim the Kingdom of our Messiah, lest we find ourselves on the wrong side of His coming Judgement!
May we share the same heart and spirit of eagerness as Sha’ul did and be able to also say ‘it is woe to me if I do not bring the Good News!’ – and by ‘bringing the Good News I mean living it, doing it, speaking it and proclaiming it – guarding His commands with our all – knowing that it is ‘woe’ to us if we do not!
As you look intently into the mirror of the Word of Elohim, are there any areas of pride and self that need to be let go of – or are there any areas in your life that has caused the splendid comeliness of total set-apartness to fade due to compromised living standards that you have set up as being acceptable to live by, while it runs contrary to the Word? And if there is – before you take too long to do what you know is right – then let the clear ‘woe’ be a reminder to you to turn back to the Truth:
OY! HEAR THE WARNING!
Now get those צִיצִת tsitsith on and remember to HEAR – GUARD – DO all the commands of our King – lest you forget and rebel!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you shalom!