Shabbat Shalom everyone, what an awesome joy and privilege it is to be together in the Mighty Name of יהוה, Selah!
I want you to do just that – pause and think – think about what an awesome privilege it is that we can be together and gather in fellowship. We do not ‘take lightly’ our gathering as a set-apart gathering on His Shabbat as commanded in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23 and may we truly be reminded just what a delight it really is to be together in Him.
Tonight I would like to discuss and consider carefully two aspects or rather attributes that ought to be in our lives – 2 attributes that we are to richly invest in so to speak for in these there is great gain. What I am talking about is ‘reverence’ and ‘contentment’ and the key Scripture for us tonight regarding this is from Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 6:6 as we will look at the whole chapter of Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 6 as well as Bemiḏbar/Numbers 11:1-5 which is a short section from this week’s Torah portion which we will be going through tomorrow. You see, what I want to highlight and discuss tonight is the very importance of having these two attributes operating together in our lives in a message called, “Reverence with Contentment – Do You Have it?” Please turn with me to Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 6 (Read).
What we have just read is the concluding remarks or rather very straightforward instructions given to Timotiyos from Sha’ul. The words used here express that of the nature of commands given to a soldier – commands that would keep him steadfast in the battles that he may encounter – words like ‘fight the good fight’, ‘I charge you’, ‘guard the command’ and ‘charge those’ – very strong and almost military type wording that carries with it great responsibility and strict adherence, and this is exactly how we ought to receive the very Living Word of Elohim as His Word instructs us – they are His ordinances and commands and instructions that we are to obey as we have by our own confession chosen to follow our Saviour and all He commands as we express our love for Him through our diligent obedience, aměn!
As I said the key verse that stands out here for me in regards to the message tonight is verse 6: “But reverence with contentment is great gain.” Carlien pointed this verse out again this week to me and this got me mind stirring into bringing this to you as it so lines up with part of this week’s Torah portion which we will look at shortly and I find that many today actually struggle in having reverence with contentment.
Carlien and I were asked a while back if we were happy and without a pause or hesitation we responded both with a resounding yes to which the response back to us was one of surprise or rather even a little shock to our quick answer – I mean for the person who asked it sounded unreal and impossible – as they admitted that they were not and how could we be! The question was not directed at a specific area in our lives – just a general – “are you happy” question, ‘are you happy were you are right now?’ Now I guess if we had paused and pondered about this and thought about it through physical eyes so to speak in looking at the current circumstances we face and battles we have endured and continually face it may have been easier to give a different answer, but when we thought about it more and more we realised that we are in fact very happy or rather we are content!
What I have realised more and more is simply that so many people today are just not happy, they are certainly not content with their lives and where they are at or where they are headed… how about you?
There is a song sung by U2 called ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’ and as one reads the lyrics of this song you realise that it is a song that is echoed in the heart of many who are simply not content.
What is contentment?
Contentment is the quality or state of being contented. Contented is described as a feeling or a showing of satisfaction with one’s possessions, status or situation. The Greek word used here in Timotiyos is αὐτάρκεια (autarkeia) G84, which speaks of inward self-sufficiency as opposed to the lack of or the desire of outward things. In other words true contentment is more than just a feeling of satisfaction – it is a deeper sense of being at peace and being satisfied despite the past, current or even unknown circumstances of the future. It is an assuredness in knowing that you have what you need:
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.”
We must truly rejoice in what He has given us, rather than be bitter and grumble over what He has not given us as clearly as Scripture tells us that He has given us all we need for life and for reverence which we will look at shortly!
Iyoḇ put it very plainly for us:
Iyoḇ/Job 1:21 “And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I return there. יהוה has given, and יהוה has taken away. Blessed be the Name of יהוה.”
When one is not content then what happens? Well to put it plainly when one is not content then one complains or grumbles or moans and expresses how life sucks and nothing ever seems to be going right – many believers will even complain and grumble against Elohim saying things like, “Why isn’t He coming through for me!” As if they expect Elohim to be jumping to their tune because they think they have earned what they desire through seemingly what they call obedience – what they do not realise is that part of the loving obedience is trust and patience and being satisfied or content no matter the outcome of any circumstance – for in our obedient walk – יהוה has our back! It is very easy for many believers today say that they have contentment, but whether they really have contentment or not is often more truthfully known by their lifestyle and habits – do they cling to יהוה or are they chasing pleasure and materialism?
Tehillim/Psalm 23 we all know very well – the first verse makes it clear – יהוה is my Shepherd; I do not lack! We have all we need in our Shepherd!!!
Now we all know these Scriptures but let me ask you – do you believe them and apply the truth of His Word daily? Are you happy? If not – why not? Who do you blame for your troubles? Because when things don’t seem to be going the way you planned the most common reaction is to blame somebody else and even Elohim! Why so many seemingly struggle with contentment is simply that they have little or no appreciation for where they are or what they do have as “contentment is birthed in appreciation”. Contentment requires an attitude adjustment and it is of both the heart and mind. You see when problems come – what do you do? Let me remind you that problems do not necessarily make you better or worse but rather they identify the real you!!! Contentment is a learned discipline of the heart and mind and learning contentment our attitude must be right. Contentment begins where you are at – it is not a destination that you come to when you try to define it within the boundaries of your own pleasure: Listen – pleasure itself, as a goal, aims one towards emptiness: Mishlĕ/Proverbs 21:17 tells us that, “he who loves pleasure is a poor man…”
And Sha’ul tells us that the widowed woman who lives in luxury is dead while she lives (1 Tim 5:6). Now please hear me out here – there is certainly nothing wrong with pleasure – but what we must realise is that pleasure cannot be our goal!!! Walking in pure obedience to Messiah is our goal and the goal of the command is love – the goal of our faith is the deliverance of lives – it is not all about our own pleasures!
Love for Elohim is that we guard to do all He commands and with that comes great contentment and peace knowing we have all we need in Him:
Tehillim/Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have those loving Your Torah, And for them there is no stumbling-block.”
Let me ask you again – are you content? Do you love His Torah and walk in it and in so doing have great peace with no stumbling block to your peace and walk of faith? Or do you complain and grumble about what you do not have? How does יהוה feel about our complaining?
Turn with me to Bemiḏbar/Numbers 11:1-6 (Read).
We will read the entire chapter tomorrow and discuss it a little more but what we have here is the following: יהוה has delivered them from slavery and has provided for them all they need. You have got to think to yourself – when יהוה has delivered you from bondage and has set you apart, provided all you need then what is there to complain about – really!
What was there to complain about in the wilderness? They were in יהוה’s care, in His order – we have read about the divisions in the camp and how each was to move in order – there was order – there was food and more importantly יהוה was with them in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. Perhaps the people resented at having to move at short notice as they were unable to plan accordingly – imagine you are there and the cloud moves – what does that mean – a month’s notice or two? No! it’s pack up and move!!! Oh but I just got by veggie garden ready to plant some stuff, we can’t leave now! I have just redecorated my tent! I just got used to the view! Can you imagine some of the murmurings that were going on? We are not told exactly why or what they were grumbling and complaining about which teaches us that must stay away from all forms of grumbling!
What I did find very interesting is the similarity in two words, although spelt differently are transliterated almost the same:
1 – the Word for complain is אָנַן (˒ānan ) –Strong’s H596 used in verse 1
2 – The Word for cloud is עָנָן (`anan) – Strong’s H6051 used in verse 25 – this word for cloud also can mean covering!
Very similar ‘sounding’ words yet very different indeed! In understanding that the Hebrew word for cloud also means covering it speaks of our protection and provision – our safety and refers to the presence of יהוה and so by seeing these two very similar sounding yet contrasting words which differ only by the first letter – the word for cloud/covering begins with an ע ‘ayin’ and the word for complain begins with the letter א ‘aleph’ – and for me this speaks a very important message for us tonight! When people try to assume their own covering – their own ways and means of provision and care they will always come up short and never be satisfied and will always complain!
What does complaining reveal? It simply reveals ingratitude for יהוה’s care! Here the Yisra’ĕlites had all they need, and more than that they had the presence of יהוה in their midst! They neglected His covering and sought their own in terms of pleasures they would rather have had and so they ended up complaining about what they didn’t have; they complained about what they used to have and they also complained about what they had at the time! Have you ever found yourself complaining like this? You don’t have what you want, you don’t have what you used to have and you don’t like what you have now – does this sound familiar to some? The danger and problem with complaining is that it is contagious! Your complaining will affect and even infect others into complaining and before you know it it can end up like we have just read – a mixed multitude of grumblers lusting for selfish pleasure!
Sha’ul tells us in:
Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all matters without grumblings and disputings, 15 in order that you be blameless and faultless, children of Elohim without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”
Don’t grumble and complain for then you cannot shine as lights in the world!
Being ‘under the cloud’ is the emphasis in Bemiḏbar/Number 9 as it is used 11 times in 9:15-22 – 11 times in 8 verses!!! The emphasis was being under the guidance and direction of יהוה yet they were in one sense trying to be what we could call their own ‘cloud-makers’ trying to rely on self in leaning back toward slavery rather than relying on the covering of יהוה and this is what made יהוה angry!
Complainers – all they do is complain and in the process are destructive rather than constructive and the wrath of יהוה consumed the outskirts of the camp – perhaps where most of the complainers were. Have you noticed that it is always those on the outskirts or the side-lines that tend to be the ones who chirp the most and offer up the most criticism? Those who are never willing to actually get involved and be committed will always moan and groan about something – and that is the problem – idleness – no commitment to fellowship and building and this sadly results more often than not into a crew of complainers, complaining about what is not, what was better somewhere else and what sucks here!!! Hey I am just speaking as straight as the Word is! In verse 6 these complainers basically were saying, “All there is here is manna!”
Let us consider that for a moment – יהושע said that He is the True Bread that came down from Heaven (Yoḥanan/John 6:31-33) – And this is what this ‘manna’ represented or foreshadowed and so to reject this honey like food is a picture for us today of rejecting Him! Remember that we discussed last week that the Wilderness journey is a time for us to listen and hear His voice and so what we see as a picture here is how sadly many are complaining about the ‘Bread of life’ – “All there is to eat here is Torah and the Truth!” What we must ask ourselves is do we want יהושע to simply taste like the earthly ideas that do not require us to die to self-daily or do we have a hunger and a thirst and a taste for who יהושע really is according to the truth of His sweet Word, rather than what man has tried to twist in their presentation of who He is?
“Give us meat!” the complainers cried out. Now for starters you have got to ask yourself the following – they had a lot of meat in the camp – there were daily sacrifices of lambs, rams, bulls etc. – why was there no meat. Well here is the answer – they didn’t appreciate what they had – what was given freely to them and they certainly would not give up of their own for others – they were selfish! They started dreaming about all the fish and veggies they used to eat – and had absolutely no appreciation for the wonderful provision they had been given by יהוה and so could not be content, always looking for what one does not have without realising what one does have!
The Hebrew term for meat can also mean ‘glad or good news’ – They loathed the manna but wanted meat! They wanted a good message that they could stomach! They could have eaten meat, but like I said it would have cost them – it wouldn’t have been free – they would have to slaughter their own animals! In Mitsrayim/Egypt they were probably used to getting a prepared meal while working and were not used to preparing any meal from the point of slaughter.
People want a quick fix – a ready-made meal – fast food – that is what it is like today with the Word – switch on the TV and listen to anyone who claims to know the Word – may even have a doctorate of some degree in man’s theology – and simply accept the fast food they are given not realising that it is killing them – “but hey it tastes nice” – it is a message they can stomach! They reject the Living Torah for junk food of twisted doctrine and they complain when they are presented with Torah Truth and this angers יהוה!
So why did they complain – they had all they need for life and reverence?
The problem is that although they had all they need for life and reverence – they didn’t use it! They had no reverence!!!
What is reverence?
Reverence is respect or honour shown to another, back to Timotiyos Aleph 6:6 – the Greek word for reverence is εὐσέβεια (eusebeia) – Strong’s G2150 and carries the meaning of well-directed reverence and at its roots it carries the meaning to be true and to adore speaking of devout worship and 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 reflects both an attitude and a way of life.
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 4:7 tells us to stay away from old wives tales and rather exercise ourselves to reverence! This tells me that this is not an automatic condition that happens – it must be exercised and effort – great effort must be put into reverent living unto Messiah! Let me be very clear – it is possible to fake “eusebeia” – that is to have a form of reverence only in appearance while not having the real thing – this is what many do – they put on a show having a form or reverence but no power to actually live it out! The sad reality is that ‘fake “eusebeia”’ may be and more often than not is used for personal profit by false teachers which Sha’ul is clearly warning Timotiyos about here!
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 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 – claim all the promises without actually walking in obedience – wanting the presence and promise of יהוה – yet turn their noses up at the Manna!
In verse 8 we see Sha’ul making it clear – when we have ‘food’ and ‘covering’, we shall be satisfied – in the Wilderness they had food (manna) and covering (cloud) of יהוה – yet they were not content! Today we have His Torah – the Living Word and a Covering – one who has covered our shame and removed our guilt, delivered us from darkness – we have יהושע Messiah – we shall be satisfied in Him – He is our food and covering – we have all we need for life and reverence – combine that with contentment and you have great gain!
But how do we do this you ask?
Just as Sha’ul instructed Timotiyos and us today:
1 – FLEE – that is to escape, flee away from or vanish – flee from love of money and from things that draw you out of His covering and favour
2 – PURSUE: the Greek word διώκω ‘dioko’ (Strong’s G1377) carries the meaning to follow after or to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing or earnestly endeavour to acquire and can also mean to suffer persecution! Suffer persecution: Timotiyos Bět /2 Timothy 3:12 “And indeed, all those wishing to live reverently in Messiah יהושע, shall be persecuted.”
Listen when you live in reverence toward Messiah you will be persecuted – be content with that and pursue…
- A)– Righteousness – Debarim/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.”
- B)– Reverence
- C)– Faith
- D)– Love
- E)– endurance
- F)– meekness
The message and solution is clear – flee what is bad and pursue what is right knowing that doing what is right will cause you to face persecution – but Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness sake – because theirs is the reigns of the heavens (Mattithyahu 5:10)
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 3:14 “But even if you suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.1 “And do not fear their threats, neither be troubled.”
Reverence with contentment is great gain – will you live it? The choice is yours – I charge you in the sight of Elohim to live the right way – His way and fight the good fight of belief holding on to the confession of your faith in Messiah by walking the talk, do what you are commanded to do – guard the commands – hear – guard and do! And trust in the Living Elohim, not in the uncertainties of things that perish! And decide to do good – be rich in good works being generous ready to share!
Are you able to do that – for in that you will find peace and contentment and together with reverence you will find great gain in all you do and all you be in Him.
Let me leave you with a couple of verses to strengthen your faith:
Tehillim/Psalm 110:10 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom; all those doing them have a good understanding. His praise is standing forever.”
Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:12 “So that, my beloved, as you always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much rather in my absence – work out your own deliverance with fear and trembling”
Miḵah/Micah 6:8 “He has declared to you, O man, what is good. And what does יהוה require of you but to do right, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?”
Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the entire matter: Fear Elohim and guard His command, for this applies to all mankind!”
Are you happy? – there is reason to be – we have all we need in Messiah – we have food and covering in Him – now that is great reason to be – for Reverence with Contentment is great gain – pursue it and do not be like the complainers in the Wilderness but fight the good fight and acknowledge Him in all your ways knowing He will never leave you nor forsake you!!!