13th of the 10th month 2015/2016
Romiyim/Romans 2:4 “Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, and tolerance, and patience, not knowing that the kindness of Elohim leads you to repentance?”
Sha’ul was making it very clear in this Chapter 2 of Romiyim/Romans that the judgement of Elohim is according to the Truth against those who practice the wrong and improper behaviour that he speaks of in Chapter 1, which are: “unrighteousness, whoring, wickedness, greed, evil; filled with envy, murder, fighting, deceit, evil habits; whisperers, slanderers, haters of Elohim, insolent, proud, boasters, devisers of evils, disobedient to parents, without discernment, covenant breakers, unloving, unforgiving, ruthless” (Romiyim/Romans 1:29-31)
Sha’ul was making it clear that there were those who knew the righteousness of Elohim and knew that those who practice such wickedness deserve death, yet even while knowing the righteousness of Elohim they were in fact not only doing this same wrong behaviour but were also approving those who were practicing them. He then proceeds to make it clear in Chapter 2 that man is without excuse and highlights how those who were judging the wicked ways of the wrong were doing the same and were therefore unable to escape the judgement of Elohim. He gives a clear warning against despising the rich kindness, tolerance and patience of Elohim and makes it clear that those who harden their hearts and refuse to repent are treasuring up for themselves wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of Elohim, who will give each one according to his works! The arrogant and hard hearted who despise the kindness of Elohim do not realise that the kindness of Elohim leads them to repentance. In a message tonight called, “THE KINDNESS OF ELOHIM LEADS TO REPENTANCE!” I want us to take a look at a good example of this by looking at some of the events that took place in the life of Yehoshaphat, the 4th king of Yehuḏah. Before we do that I just want to highlight the 2 Greek words used here in Romiyim/Romans 2:4 for ‘kindness’. The first word translated as ‘kindness’ is χρηστότης chrēstotēs – Strong’s G5544 which means, ‘goodness, excellence, uprightness, kindness, moral goodness, integrity’, and comes from the Greek word that is translated as the second ‘kindness’, which is χρηστός chrēstos – Strong’s G5543 meaning, ‘serviceable, good, useful, upright’.
יהושע tells us in Mattithyahu/Matthew 11:30 that His yoke is ‘gentle’, and the Greek word translated as ‘gentle’ is this word used for ‘kindness’ – χρηστός chrēstos – Strong’s G5543. In other words His yoke is good, upright, useful and serviceable, meaning that His yoke is what will cause us to walk upright and walk in kindness! Messiah came to break the burdensome and heavy yoke of false traditions and commands of man that are taught as teachings; and called us to take up His gentle and light yoke by walking in complete obedience to His Torah and commands. Many who stubbornly refuse to let go of vain traditions of falsehood are treasuring up wrath for themselves, instead of recognising the wrath of Elohim that is coming as a wakeup call to return to walking in the Truth and obeying the Torah and commands of Elohim and be led by the gentle and light yoke of the Lamb who is the Great Shepherd who leads His flock to the fountains of waters of life.
Let us take a brief look at some of the events of king Yehoshaphat and learn some vital lessons on recognising the kindness of Elohim that leads to repentance. Please turn with me to Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 19 (Read).
The story of Yehoshaphat spans over 4 chapters in Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 17-20 and I encourage you to read his entire account from which we can learn some very valuable lessons of faith in being able to overcome struggles and walk in victory, as well as some vital insights as to the results of compromised unions/partnerships with the wrong.
Yehoshaphat was the 4th king of Yehuḏah, the southern kingdom, after Yisra’ĕl was split into two houses; and he followed יהוה:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 17:3-6 “And יהוה was with Yehoshaphat, for he walked in the former ways of his father Dawiḏ, and did not seek the Ba’als, 4 but sought the Elohim of his father, and walked in His commands and not according to the deeds of Yisra’ĕl. 5 So יהוה established the reign in his hand. And all Yehuḏah gave presents to Yehoshaphat, and he had great riches and esteem. 6 And his heart was exalted in the ways of יהוה, and he again removed the high places and the Ashĕrim from Yehuḏah.”
Yehoshaphat had done much, as king, to bring reform – he fortified Yehuḏah against Yisra’ĕl and their notorious leader, king Aḥaḇ, and he set himself the task of ‘cleaning up’ the land from idolatry. In the third year of his reign he sent out the priests to instruct the people of Yehuḏah in the Torah, and as a result of his actions he enjoyed great peace and prosperity and the blessing of יהוה on the people. In Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 17:3, 10 tells us that יהוה was with Yehoshaphat and he walked in the ways of his father Dawiḏ, he did not seek the Ba’al’s, and the fear of יהוה fell on all the surrounding nations and they never came against Yehoshaphat. His obedience brought protection and blessing, then in chapter 18 he allied himself with Aḥaḇ in disobedience as he compromised his obedience through an alliance by marriage to the wicked Aḥaḇ and Izeḇel:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 18:1 “And Yehoshaphat had great riches and esteem, and allied himself with Aḥaḇ by marriage.”
As a result of this wicked union he ended up going into a battle joined to Yisra’ĕl against Ramoth Gil’aḏ. His kingdom was protected from attacking enemies by the fear of יהוה on all the surrounding nations and now through his disobedience in allying with a wicked king we see here in chapter 20 that Mo’aḇ and Ammon, enemies of Yehuḏah came to attack from 3 sides. After the response of faith as recounted in this chapter we see how the protection of יהוה was renewed and they enjoyed the peace again given by יהוה on all sides.
To end his story we see in the concluding verse in Chapter 20 that Yehoshaphat once again allied himself with a wicked king in a business venture that failed:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 20: 35-37 “And after this Yehoshaphat sovereign of Yehuḏah joined himself with Aḥazyah sovereign of Yisra’ĕl. He did wrong in doing so. 36 And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Etsyon Geḇer. 37 Then Eliʽezer son of Doḏawahu of Marĕshah prophesied against Yehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have joined yourself with Aḥazyahu, יהוה shall break up your work.” And the ships were wrecked, so that they were unable to go to Tarshish.”
So as we glance through his 25 year reign we can certainly see some very positive characteristics, and how he was a man that received rebuke and acted upon it; yet one weakness he had was his seeming ability to end up being unequally yoked through compromising relationships that simply caused unnecessary trouble and hardship.
Yehoshaphat – יְהוֹשָׁפָט – Strong’s H3092 means, ‘Yahweh has judged’ and we certainly see in the reign of Yehoshaphat how יהוה is a ‘just’ and righteous Elohim who judges His people in righteousness.
As we take a closer look at the events that took place in Chapter 19 we see that the chapter begins by telling us that he returned to his house in peace! Yehoshaphat had just got home from a battle against Ramoth Gil’aḏ where Aḥaḇ, the wicked king of Yisra’ĕl, had disguised himself and made the enemies think that Yehoshaphat was the king of Yisra’ĕl. When they saw that he was not they turned back from pursuing him and Yehoshaphat cried out to יהוה who helped him. יהוה certainly defended His own on the battlefield when Yehoshaphat cried out, although he should never have been in that battle alongside Aḥaḇ; and when he got home he received some very stern words from the prophet of יהוה.
Yehoshaphat was a king we can learn valuable lessons from in terms of seeking יהוה, acknowledging the power and promises of יהוה; having a proper reverent praise and worship of יהוה; and the ability in recognising that the battle is יהוה’s and the victory ours as long as we walk in righteousness!
But one thing Yehoshaphat had a weakness in was his ability to align himself with the wrong people and get involved in the wrong situations as a result of compromised relationships; and this we must take heed of and learn from these events! The severe rebuke he received was for helping the wrong and loving those who hate יהוה!
It all started with how he aligned himself with Aḥaḇ and Izeḇel by allowing his son Yehoram to marry the daughter of Aḥaḇ, which also had some severe ramifications later on after Yehoshaphat died as Yehoram rose up and did evil in the eyes of יהוה and killed all his brothers (21:4-6).
What struck me when meditating upon this Chapter 19 was a powerful lesson we are able to see in recognising the true message of grace! In verse 2 Yĕhu son of Ḥanani the seer went out to face Yehoshaphat after he had returned home in peace, and severely rebuked the king for his wayward behaviour, to which Yehoshaphat immediately responded by appointing judges and establishing the true righteousness and right-ruling of יהוה, commanding the people to walk in the fear of יהוה, trustworthily and with a perfect heart!
The name of this prophet – יֵהוּא Yĕhu – Strong’s H3058 means ‘Yah is He’ and he was the son of – חֲנָנִי Ḥanani – Strong’s H2607 which means, ‘gracious or favourable’. I see a very powerful lesson contained herein, as we are able to recognise the clear ‘message of grace’ – and that is that “יהוה is He”!!! What do I mean by that? Well, when anyone truly acknowledges who יהוה is then a sobering reality of repentance becomes abundantly clear and the urgency to respond in complete loving obedience is acted upon in trustworthiness and fear. Many have been blinded by falsehood and are not able to recognise the message of grace – that יהוה is He! That is to say that יהושע Messiah is יהוה our Saviour, Master and Elohim! When understanding the favour that has been extended to us by Elohim, because of His loving-commitment to His Covenants of promise our immediate response should be of repentance from sin and a turning back to walking in the true fear of Elohim in all trustworthiness with a perfect heart!
The ‘message of grace’ should cause people to turn back to obedience, and the life of Yehoshaphat is a good example of that. Here in this Chapter 19 we see how disobedience was confronted and repentance was enacted by doing what is right and calling others to do so too! What was the rebuke that initiated the correct response to change?
In verse 2 he is asked the following: “Do you help the wrong and love those who hate יהוה?”
Yehoshaphat was guilty of both of these! As already mentioned he had aligned himself with Aḥaḇ and allowed his son to marry the daughter of Aḥaḇ.
In this verse 2 we are able to recognise the ramifications of helping the wrong and loving those who hate יהוה.
The prophet says to Yehoshaphat, “Therefore the wrath of יהוה is upon you.”
This could literally be expressed as ‘upon you is wrath from the face of יהוה’! This is a clear picture of the extreme anger of Elohim and not a blessing! When we think of the image of ‘the face of יהוה’, we can often be reminded of the blessing by which Aharon was instructed to bless Yisra’ĕl and have יהוה’s Name put on them:
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!
The blessing of having His face lifted up and shining upon us is vastly different to having the face of His wrath upon us!
Dawiḏ asked in:
Tehillah/Psalm 119:135 “Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your laws.”
With the face of יהוה upon us, we certainly would want the light of His face and not the wrath of His face. With the light of His face being upon us there is the clear responsibility of obedience that is required for the true set-apart, chosen and royal priesthood that serves in Spirit and Truth, while those who despise the Word and reject the Torah of Elohim, have the face of the wrath of יהוה upon them! This chapter certainly contains a clear metaphor that teaches us the reality of the wrath of Elohim that is coming upon the sons of disobedience!
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:5-7 “For this you know, that no one who whores, nor unclean one, nor one greedy of gain, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the reign of Messiah and Elohim. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these the wrath of Elohim comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partakers with them.”
With the name of Yehoshaphat meaning, ‘יהוה has judged’, we recognise that judgement has already been decreed and the Day of His wrath is coming. What we also are able to see being pictured by these events is the clear ‘message of grace’ that declares that ‘יהוה is He’, and how His kindness leads us to repentance! When יהושע Messiah came as the Lamb of Elohim that takes away the sins of the world, He came to bring the kindness of Elohim that leads to repentance and came to make it very clear that ‘He is יהוה’ who judges the world in righteousness and right-ruling!
It is with His “kindness/loving-commitment” that He draws us to Himself, and those who do not repent and stubbornly hold fast to hearts that are hardened by deceit will see the face of His wrath and not the blessing of the light of His face that saves!
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 31:3 “יהוה appeared to me from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I shall draw you with loving-commitment.”
Because of His loving-commitment to His Covenants of promise He extends His kindness to us, drawing us unto Himself!
Titos/Titus 3:3-6 “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, led astray, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in evil and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of Elohim our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 He saved us, not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His compassion, through the washing of rebirth, and renewal by the Set-apart Spirit, 6 which He poured out on us richly through יהושע Messiah our Saviour”
When the ‘kindness’ and love of Elohim appeared – this is the message of grace – declaring that the One who appeared is יהוה, and while the face of His wrath is upon all disobedience He came to call sinners to repentance, with the clear declaration that His wrath is coming, and those who do not take heed of His call will see the face of His wrath!!!
The Hebrew word for ‘wrath’ here in Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 19:2 is the noun קֶצֶף qetseph – Strong’s H7110 which means, ‘wrath, indignation, anger’, and comes from the root verb קָצַף qatsaph – Strong’s H7107 which means, ‘to be angry, enraged, furious, provoked to anger, displeased’.
This word for ‘wrath’, in terms of the ‘wrath of Elohim’ is the expression of anger that is used in various ways in order to restrain evil, correct the sinner and to punish the hardened and stiff necked rebels. This wrath of Elohim is primarily concerned with the protection of Elohim’s interests, which is His Set-Apartness, His love and the objects of His love. The wrath of Elohim is inseparably related to his love, set-apartness and jealousy that He has for His called out and chosen Bride! His wrath speaks of Him maintaining Himself completely and absolutely as a set-Apart Elohim who loves His Covenant people with an infinite passion and is therefore jealous over them! When either people from without or His covenant people themselves, profane or reject His love through a wilful disobedience he expresses His anger and displeasure and pours out His wrath. In the midst of His wrath compassion is remembered, as we remember the words of the prophet crying out, in:
Ḥaḇaqquq/Habakkuk 3:2 “O יהוה, I have heard your report, I was afraid. O יהוה, renew Your work in the midst of the years! Make it known in the midst of the years. In wrath remember compassion.”
A very stern rebuke that Yehoshaphat received, yet it was made clear to him that good matters had been found in Him, in that he had removed the Ashĕroth from the land. The term ‘the Ashĕroth’ – הָאֲשֵׁרוֹת – ‘haasheyroth’ is the plural of the word אֲשֵׁרָה Ashĕrah – Strong’s H842.
Ashĕrah was a Kena’anite deity that was represented by a carved wooden image implanted into the ground, usually adjacent to an altar that was dedicated to Ba’al. While there is no physical description given to us in Scripture of what an Ashĕrah looked like, whether it was a tree or a pole or some kind of tree symbol or image, it was an object that was constructed by man, and was made, set up and built for worship purposes. It was these man-made objects of fertility worship that Yehoshaphat had removed from the land. I find this a very fitting text in light of the time of year we find ourselves in where a rebellious and stiff necked people have set up Ashĕrah worship symbols in their homes in the form of Christmas trees, which Yirmeyahu clearly warns us against in:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 10:2-4 “Thus said יהוה, “Do not learn the way of the gentiles, and do not be awed by the signs of the heavens, for the gentiles are awed by them. 3 “For the prescribed customs of these peoples are worthless, for one cuts a tree from the forest, work for the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. 4 “They adorn it with silver and gold, they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it does not topple.”
While these good matters of removing the Ashĕroth from the land were found in Yehoshaphat he was still rebuked for having aligned himself with the wrong! Yehoshaphat not only removed the Ashĕroth from the land but he also prepared his heart to seek יהוה! Sadly we find that so many today are simply refusing to remove all forms of idolatry from their lives which highlights for us that no good matters are found in them as they are clearly not preparing their hearts to seek יהוה!
The phrase ‘good matters’ in the Hebrew is דְּבָרִים טוֹבִים – ‘deḇarim toḇiym’ which is the plural construct of the two words: 1) דָּבָר daḇar – Strong’s H1697 meaning, ‘speech, word, commandment, chronicles, message’, and 2) טוֹב toḇ – Strong’s H2896 and carries the meaning, ‘pleasant, good, agreeable, beautiful, to be pleasing, done well’.
As we have discussed on many occasions, it becomes clear that the Hebrew word for ‘good’ – טוֹב toḇ – Strong’s H2896 can carry the understanding of being functional, according to the clear and perfect design of Elohim, for when He saw all the he had made, it was good – that is that it was functioning according to His perfect Word! The word דָּבָר daḇar – Strong’s H1697 we also recognise as being a word that gives clear reference to the Word of יהוה.
Metaphorically we are able to recognise that the phrase being used here for ‘good matters’ can picture for us the ‘functional Word’ that was found in Yehoshaphat! Yehoshaphat removed the Ashĕroth because the truth of the Word was in Him, as He obeyed and walked in ways of Elohim.
Is the good functional Word of Elohim found in you? The fruit of removing idolatry and preparing your heart to seek יהוה will clearly reveal that the Good and Functional Word of Elohim is found in you!
Despite the good matters found in him, he was still severely rebuked for helping the wrong and loving those who hate יהוה.
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 6:14-15 “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 And what agreement has Messiah with Beliya’al? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever?”
As a result of this union that had now bound these two families together unequally, we see the greater effect this had on the relationship between Yehoshaphat and Aḥaḇ, as Yehoshaphat ended up compromising his military forces by agreeing to help Aḥaḇ fight against Ramoth Gil’aḏ – and he did this without seeking יהוה and this nearly cost him his life. At this point in time Yehuḏah was living in safety and had great peace, yet after aligning himself with Aḥaḇ he ended up getting involved in a fight that was not his to fight! At this point let me ask you… “what friendships have you made that are calling you to support them in their struggles and battles, and in the process causing you to be dragged down into compromising your set-apart walk by becoming a sharer in their sin/lawlessness?”
Compromised relationships will weaken you and cause you to lose your strength to stand!
When wanting to seek יהוה on whether to go with Aḥaḇ into battle against Ramoth Gil’aḏ or not, Aḥaḇ called the Ba’al prophets but Yehoshaphat asked if there was not a true prophet of יהוה they could inquire of.
Miḵayehu the prophet was then called and came and exposed the spirit of falsehood, yet Yehoshaphat did not heed the warning and went into battle and assisted Aḥaḇ. What we must recognise here is that when we wilfully ignore and violate the clear teachings of the Torah, we will end up compromising the Truth in order to only hear only what we want to hear to justify our unequal yoking with the wrong!
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be led astray, “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
Aligning yourself with and keeping friendships with the wrong will cause you to end up ignoring the Truth and disobey Scripture.
Because of יהוה’s loving-commitment he extended His message of favour to Yehoshaphat and called Him to repentance!
After hearing this stern rebuke, Yehoshaphat went out and brought the people back to יהוה, appointed judges and commanded that a proper right-ruling and the guarding of righteousness be done in the fear of יהוה, trustworthily and with a perfect heart!
The Hebrew root word that is used in verse 4 for ‘brought back’ is שׁוּב shuḇ – Strong’s H7725 which means, ‘to turn back, return, repent, recover’, which is a word that most frequently indicates man’s repentance, meaning to turn away from sin and turn back to Elohim and follow in His ways.
He responded to the kindness of Elohim, repented and went out and preached repentance, with the clear commands of what that involves – and that is a complete obedience without any form of compromise, done so in the fear of יהוה, trustworthily and with a perfect heart!!!
This is the true message of grace – a calling back to obedience so that the light of His face can shine upon his true remnant Bride and not the face of His wrath, which has been reserved for the wrong who refuse to repent.
The abominable worship that is happening at this time, by so many who claim to worship Elohim, yet refuse to let go of false traditions and corrupt teachings of man, leaves them in the position of having the wrath of יהוה upon them; and unless they repent, prepare their hearts to seek יהוה and remove all idolatry, sin and unequal yoking, will find themselves reaping the treasure of His wrath that they are storing up for themselves.
As we consider the clear life lessons we can glean from Yehoshaphat may we be encouraged to walk in the light of the face of Elohim, fear Him and walk in righteousness, guarding to do all He commands us to.
Tehillah/Psalm 89:14-15 “Righteousness and right-ruling are the foundation of Your throne; kindness and truth go before Your face. 15 Blessed are the people who know the festal trumpet-call! They walk, O יהוה, in the light of Your face.”
Let us also hear the clear rebuke for being joined to wrong ways!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with one given to wrath, and do not go with a man of rage, 25 Lest you learn his ways, And find yourself ensnared.”
Tehillah/Psalm 125:5 “But those who turn aside to their crooked ways, יהוה shall lead them away with the workers of wickedness. Peace be upon Yisra’ĕl!”
Do not help the wrong and love those who hate יהוה! While we certainly recognise the words of יהושע Messiah:
Luqas/Luke 6:35 “Rather, love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting none in return. And your reward shall be great, and you shall be sons of the Most High. Because He is kind to the thankless and wicked ones.”
We must realise that יהושע is not telling us to make friendship with the world – we are to be the light and message of His kindness and call them out of darkness by doing what is right and good according to the Torah, not the other way round by allowing them to influence us into compromising the Truth as we overcome evil with good and not be overcome by evil!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 Because all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but the one doing the desire of Elohim remains forever.”
We often need to hear the rebuke of יהוה in order to cause us to align ourselves with His truth and righteous right-ruling, being equipped to take the true message of grace to a lost and sinful people, declaring that ‘יהוה is He’, and that His kindness leads to repentance. To those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness and refuse to hear, the wrath and displeasure of Elohim awaits them and not the light of His face!
How have you responded to the kindness of Elohim? Are good matters found in you? Is your heart continually prepared to seek יהוה, as Yehoshaphat’s was? Is your heart prepared as Ezra’s was?
Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Torah of יהוה, and to do it, and to teach laws and right-rulings in Yisra’ĕl.”
Yehoshaphat and Ezra had the heart required for true set-apartness and one that had clearly responded to the kindness of Elohim. How about you? Do you see the example that is given to us by Ezra? He prepared his heart to seek the Torah of יהוה, and DO IT!!! It does not stop there either! He taught the laws and right-rulings in Yisra’ĕl! We are to do the same, as the taught one’s of Messiah, and that is that we are to seek יהוה, His Torah and not only DO IT but also teach others the clear laws and right-rulings contained therein, as we continue to be faithful ambassadors of the Kingdom of our Master and Elohim that is coming, speaking the message of grace along with the clear warning of the wrath of Elohim that is upon the disobedient!
While many have perverted the favour of Elohim for indecency and have a clear disregard for strict rules of correctness according to His Torah; and have denied the only One true Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, we who correctly respond the kindness of Elohim must be bold ambassadors of the coming reign of our Messiah, declaring that ‘יהוה is He’ and that the face of His wrath is upon the disobedient who do not respond to the clear message of His grace and kindness that has appeared to all!
THE KINDNESS OF ELOHIM LEADS TO REPENTANCE! – do not abuse His kindness but walk in it and obey, and have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them and have hearts that are prepared to continually seek יהוה and meditate upon His Torah day and night, guarding to do all He commands us to do so!!!
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!