Shabbat Shalom! Yes it is Shabbat – and we praise our Elohim, יהוה of Hosts, for by His loving-commitment toward us He has put His Name upon us and blesses us with His shalom that protects, strengthens and enriches us in every way!
Tehillim/Psalm 18:1-3 “I love You, O יהוה, My strength. 2 יהוה is my rock and my stronghold and my deliverer; My Ěl is my rock, I take refuge in Him; My shield and the horn of my deliverance, my high tower. 3 I call upon יהוה, the One to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”
Great words that declare our trust and complete confidence in our Mighty Elohim, especially in tough times.
How many of you have been facing some tough trials of late? I am sure many of you may take a deep sigh in response to that question as you have been experiencing some tough battles; and tonight I want to encourage you in the Truth, so that you can to make the bold declaration that Dawiḏ makes! I would like us to look at more of Dawiḏ’s words and be strengthen in being a people who offer up a continual thanksgiving offering of praise, in a message to night called, ‘STRONG COURAGE AMIDST PERILOUS TIMES’. Please turn with me to Tehillim/Psalm 27 (Read).
This is a very powerful Psalm that truly captures the great heart behind our desire and willingness to continually be in the presence of יהוה, be it in good times or bad times and tonight I want us to look at quite a few of the Hebrew words contained herein, so that we get a greater understanding behind some very powerful words and phrases being written here by a man who was a man after יהוה’s heart. The trust that Dawiḏ expresses in this Psalm, even while surrounded by his enemies, is strikingly powerful and greatly encouraging for us to be a people who will follow his example of active and intense faith!
So let us take a journey through some of the words and be enlightened in our understanding of what true trust in יהוה calls for.
In verse 1 we see straight up his bold statement of faith in יהוה in recognition of who יהוה is to him on a very personal level. Dawiḏ says that יהוה is his light and his deliverance and that יהוה is his refuge. Having said that let me show you the essence of what he is expressing here as a very bold statement at a very testing time of his life.
The word for ‘my light’ is אוֹרִי – ˒ôri – which at its root is the word אוֹר or – Strong’s H215 meaning, ‘to be or become light, give light, shine’ and this infinitely profound Name of Elohim, as his light, is only found here in this passage, of which there is only one other expression in the Scriptures that can be compared to it, which is found in Yeshayahu/Isaiah 60:1 in the phrase “… your light has come…”, which in the Hebrew is בָא אוֹרֵךְ – ḇa ôrekha – and is a clear reference to Messiah – the Light of the world!
Yoḥanan/John 12:46 “I have come as a light into the world, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.”
What Dawiḏ is acknowledging here in the bold confession of his faith, was that even if the darkest hour of night was to break out upon him, or any trouble or spiritual conflict should come up against him – he has יהוה as his light; and as long as he is “in” יהוה, his Light, then he does not need to fear any danger of an ‘eclipse or darkening/hiding’ of the light so to speak. Dawiḏ understood that the fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Set-Apart One is understanding, that comes with walking in the Light.
We are children of light and must not walk in darkness – יהוה has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. In Hebrew darkness carries with it the understanding of ignorance whereas light can symbolise or mean knowledge. We have been called out of ignorance into the knowledge of His Truth and we must not walk in ignorance any longer:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 1:6 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and are not doing the truth.”
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light.”
His confidence in perilous times was as a result of walking in the fear of יהוה. Dawiḏ also declares that יהוה is his deliverance, which is expressed as וְיִשְׁעִי – v’ yish’iy – which literally translated means, ‘and He saves me’ – Strong’s H3469, which comes from the root יָשַׁע yasha – Strong’s H3467 which means, ‘deliver, brought salvation, saviour, saves’. When I saw this I saw exactly what Dawiḏ was declaring – that it was יהוה who saves him, and is his deliverer – not an agent of יהוה – but the Light Himself, with the emphasis being placed on who it is that saves – ‘He’ – the Light – יהוה Himself!!!
Furthermore Dawiḏ declares that יהוה is ‘the refuge of my life’ – מָעוֹז־חַיַּי – ma’oz ḥay’iy, and the word מָעוֹז ma’oz – Strong’s H4581 means, ‘a place or means of safety, protection, defence, fortress, helmet’.
Why am I stressing the obvious here? Well because I want us to understand the clear declaration Dawiḏ is making here – he is openly acknowledging that יהוה is a personal Elohim, He is not just the Light and Deliverer and Refuge, but Dawiḏ proclaims – He is my Light, and my Light saves me and My light who saves me is my protector and in Him I am safe! Within this declaration of the first verse Dawiḏ asks 2 questions – firstly, “whom should I fear ?” and secondly, “whom should I dread?”. There are two different words used here in the Hebrew for ‘fear’ and ‘dread’.
The root word used for ‘fear’ is יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 which means, ‘to fear, be afraid, reverence, respect’ and in the tense this is written in (qal active), it actually carries the meaning of, ‘to stand in awe of, be awed, to reverence, honour, respect’. And the word for ‘I dread’ is אֶפְחָד – ephchad – and is from the root פָּחַד pachad – Strong’s H6342 which means, “to dread, to shake or be in dread or terror” and can mean to “have an attitude or emotion of severe distress over impending danger or trouble, with a focus that it can be so intense that it will cause physical trembling and shaking”. It can also mean “to be in a state of profound awe and respect, so intense the body may react with trembling and shaking”.
What Dawiḏ is declaring here could be best expressed as follows:
“יהוה is my light, and He saves me – now whom should I fear or whom should I stand in awe of or show respect and have reverence for?” – the answer is obvious – יהוה – our Light and Salvation!!!
Then he asks the second question which in essence is saying, “because יהוה is my strong tower and refuge for my soul, whom shall I be afraid of or who should cause me to be in distress or terror?” – again the answer is obvious – no one!!!
Romiyim/Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to this? If Elohim is for us, who is against us?”
יהוה is his salvation in regards to everything that oppresses him and is the stronghold of his life in regards to everything that exposes him to peril!
Just as Dawiḏ can confidently declare this, so too should we, and it gets even better!
In verse 3 we see that he says that no matter what comes against him he would not be afraid, and even in the toughest battles he would be trusting! The Hebrew root word used for trusting is בָּטַח bataḥ – Strong’s H982 which carries the meaning, ‘to trust , be bold, confident, be secure, courageous’, and it is written in the tense that carries the meaning of saying, “I will be a truster” – something that he would continue to be. In other words it is as though he is saying, “my trusting will be thing that I am, not just what I do”; and I see this as very powerful indeed and to trust in יהוה is not just something that we do as an active response to a particular circumstance but rather it is who we are – we are ‘trusters’ – continually trusting יהוה in all things, aměn!
It is this kind of confident declaration that can dispel any fears or worries we may face and the more we meditate on the power of these words we cannot help but get encouraged by the reality of declaring such truths over our lives!
In verse 4 Dawiḏ continues his confident praise and says that there is one matter that he desires, besides the full satisfaction of having יהוה right with him in the midst of all his troubles and battles, yet he says that he ‘asked’ one thing and that he will seek – this wording is both in the past tense together with the present and expresses an ardent longing which extends out of the past into the future, and therefore runs through his whole life – this is what he has always desired and the one thing he would continue to seek – and this ardent passion to seek was not just as a result of the perilous circumstances he was faced with as enemies were breathing down his neck! Today so many claim to ‘seek’ יהוה only when things are going rough – not Dawiḏ – he always longed for and sought to dwell in the House of יהוה, and once again as we look at some key words here in verse 4 we get a greater sense of a man who we can learn a great deal from, in how our intense lovingly committed relationship with our Creator involves our all!
In the Hebrew the phrase, ‘I seek’ is אֲבַקֵּשׁ ‘eḇqash’ and is from the root word בָּקַשׁ baqash – Strong’s H1245 which means, ‘to seek, aim, search, look, inquire’, and it is written in the ‘piel’ form which expresses an intensive or intentional action and could therefore be expressed as, ‘seek earnestly or seek the face, seek to find, demand, desire, ask’. This kind of ‘seeking’ is intense seeking with a purpose, and this intense seeking was ‘to dwell’ which is written as שִׁבְתִּי ‘shoḇtiy’– and is from the root word יָשַׁב yashab – 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 ‘sitting/ dwelling’ 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! The idea of sitting in the Hebrew mind-set here is to learn, and not to simply sit and vegetate but rather sit and pay attention to the instructions of their teacher.
Dawiḏ sought with intensity to sit and learn in the house of יהוה all the days of his life; and I believe that we today need to learn to have this intense longing to grow in knowledge and understanding of our Maker, as too many today can hardly find the time to even read a chapter of the Scriptures each day – that is not earnest seeking to dwell – how about you?
Dawiḏ also longed ‘to see’ the ‘pleasantness’ of יהוה and ‘inquire’ in His Hěḵal. ‘to see’ is a verb written as לַחֲזוֹת – ‘laḥazot’ – from the root word חָזָה ḥazah – Strong’s H2372 which means, ‘to see, behold, have a vision’ and the active tense that it is written with carries the idea of seeing a vision or having visions, or seeing it continuously in the ‘mind’s eye’ – this an intense hope that sees by faith and holds on! What he had visions of was the ‘pleasantness’ of יהוה – that is his beauty, delightfulness, kindness and favour. This is what was always in Dawiḏ’s mind’s eye! What he also always asked for and sought was to inquire with intensity in the Hěḵal of יהוה. Dawiḏ did not only want to be present in the House of יהוה but wanted to seek intimacy and inquire in the innermost place.
Dawiḏ had visions of what the heavenly Tabernacle was like and longed for that – and that gave him assurance of how he could endure the days of evil that he was constantly confronted with – because יהוה kept him safe under the shelter of the Most High. We have this assurance too – that יהושע is with us – our Light and our Saviour, and it is on Him – the Rock of our Salvation that we are raised up and built into His Dwelling Place. Dawiḏ knew he had a sure footing on the Rock and so too should we!
In verse 6 we see how this realisation gave him strength to lift up his head above his enemies and give a slaughter offering of praise. The word used for ‘sounding’ is תְּרוּעָה ‘Teruah’ H8643 – which means ‘a shout or blast of war, alarm or joy’, and so is an expression of victory in battle and points us to the ultimate victory that is coming at the Trumpet Blasts that will signal in the return of our Light, Saviour and Refuge!
Dawiḏ in being confident of who he served could raise a trumpet sound and sing and sing praises which is the word זָמַר zamar – Strong’s H2167 meaning, ‘to make music (in praise of Elohim), sing praises’ and this word carries with it the idea of ‘striking with the fingers’, and more properly meaning ‘to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument’. In other words this is not difficult to see that this clearly can give the meaning ‘to make music’, accompanied by the voice and therefore celebrate or praise in song and music. This is such a wonderful picture for me, as it gives reference of making music and singing songs unto יהוה with the aid of instruments.
Based on this confident declaration that results in praise Dawiḏ raised a plea unto יהוה to not leave him and in verse 11 calls on יהוה to teach him according to the Truth! He knew who he served and made it his life’s mission to seek יהוה, to sing to יהוה and be taught by יהוה and the word for teach is יָרָא ‘yara’ – Strong’s H3384 meaning ‘to shoot or throw or flow in the sense of flowing’ and the word that is derived from this word is– תּוֹרָה– Torah Strong’s H8451 which means ‘utterance’, ‘teaching’, ‘instruction’ or ‘revelation’ from Elohim’.
Dawiḏ wanted to be taught the way of יהוה and be led in a smooth path! What is so sad is how so many today claim to be as ardent as Dawiḏ yet they despise the Torah – they are simply clueless to the intense love this man had for יהוה, and as a result they falter in daily battles as they do not walk in the Living Torah – The Way, the Truth and the Life – יהושע Messiah – The Word made flesh!
Tehillim/Psalm 25:12 “Who, then, is the man that fears יהוה? He teaches him in the way he should choose.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 35:8 “And there shall be a highway, and a way, and it shall be called “The Way of Set-apartness.” The unclean does not pass over it, but it is for those who walk the way, and no fools wander on it.”
Walking the set-apart walk is not for fools nor for the unclean to even pass over it – but it is for those who are earnestly seeking, praising and submitting under the leading and guidance of our Master and Saviour, guarding to do all He commands us!
In verse 13 we see the question Dawiḏ asks, which basically says that ‘what if he did not believe all that he sought after, inquired of and envisioned – what if he didn’t believe – -while he was still alive? How tragic that would have been!!! For many today that tragedy is a reality – they do not believe that they will see the goodness of יהוה, as they cannot see past the troubles they are engulfed in, and here Dawiḏ is saying if he had not believed he would not have survived, yet because of his firm faith he leaves us with a strong command in verse 14:
‘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’.
As we consider the great brilliance of this Psalm may we be encouraged to follow the great example of Dawiḏ, for then we will see how יהוה will cause us to exhibit strength and be strong, for this kind of confidence will dispel any dread or fear of failure or defeat and will cause us to exhibit strong courage amidst perilous times!
My hope this evening was simply to highlight some of the key words in this powerful Psalm in order to stir your faith and be encouraged to be as confident as Dawiḏ was, knowing who we serve – for our Light, Salvation and Refuge is with us, aměn!
If you have been facing or are currently facing some intense heat amidst the battles of life – then meditate on this Psalm and be strengthened as you wait on יהוה, as He call us to have strong courage amidst perilous times!