2nd of the 6th month 2016/2017
Shalom to you all,
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:6 “A son esteems his father, and a servant his master. And if I am the Father, where is My esteem? And if I am a Master, where is My fear? said יהוה of hosts to you priests who despise My Name. But you asked, ‘In what way have we despised Your Name?’”
This verse struck me once again this week and as I meditated on the very clear questions being asked by our Father and Master, יהוה of Hosts, I realised that these questions are as relevant for us to hear today as it was back then when Mal’aḵi received this message of the Word of יהוה that was to be given to Yisra’ĕl.
As we consider the piercing questions that are being asked here in Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:6 we can still identify how these same questions are being asked today, and so in a message called, “WHERE HAS THE ‘FEAR’ IN ‘THE FEAR OF יהוה’ GONE AND WHERE IS HIS ESTEEM?” let us recognise how critical it is for these words to be properly heard so that the body of Messiah can truly walk in the fear of יהוה and bring the proper esteem that is due to Him, in Spirit and Truth!
The ‘name’ or ‘title’ that is given here of מַלְאָכִי Mal’aḵi – Strong’s H4401 means, ‘my messenger’, which comes from the word מַלְאָךְ malaḵ – Strong’s H4397 meaning, ‘a messenger, ambassador, envoy’. There is some thought that this term מַלְאָכִי Mal’aḵi – Strong’s H4401 was used here as a title, rather than a name as we take note that this word does not appear anywhere in Scripture as a proper name. This word מַלְאָכִי Mal’aḵi (My Messenger) appears in this form 4 times in Scripture: (Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:1 // Mal’aḵi/Malachi 3:1 // Shemoth/Exodus 23:23 // Shemoth/Exodus 32:34)
What we are also able to take note of in Scripture that a Messenger of יהוה that speaks the Word of יהוה speaks with the authority of יהוה as if it is יהוה Himself speaking, and we are also able to take note from various accounts in Scripture that while יהוה has certainly sent His Messengers to speak His Word, be it Messengers from above or appointed prophets, there are times in Scripture where יהוה is His own Messenger. For more on this please see the article called, “THE MESSENGER OF יהוה!” on our site (Http://atfotc.com) under the ‘articles’ menu, or by clicking on the following link:
The reason that I am mentioning this is to make it clear that any messenger of יהוה that speaks His Word is the same as if it is יהוה speaking Himself, directly to the ones to whom the message is directed and so we are able to recognise that all of His servants the prophets that He sent are also His messengers, yet so many do not listen!
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 7:25 “From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Mitsrayim until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them.”
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 25:4 “Moreover, יהוה has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear”
יהוה’s appointed prophets are His messengers and those who do not listen to His messengers are in effect not listening to יהוה. As we consider these words in Mal’aḵi/Malachi we take note that it does not matter whether this was the physical name of a prophet who spoke the message of the Word of יהוה to Yisra’ĕl, but rather what is more important to recognise is that this is יהוה’s message of His Word and therefore it is יהוה who is speaking directly to Yisra’ĕl, bet it by a messenger He appointed for this task or by Himself as His own Messenger!
The Hebrew word מַלְאָךְ malaḵ – Strong’s H4397 meaning, ‘a messenger, ambassador, and envoy’ is used in:
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 2:7 “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and they seek the Torah from his mouth, for he is the messenger of יהוה of hosts.”
From these words we are able to take note that the priest should guard knowledge and speak the Torah of Elohim for he is the messenger of יהוה. Sadly in this book we see severe rebuke being given in chapters 1 and 2 to the priests, as they had not guarded the covenant of the priesthood given to the tribe of Lĕwi and had corrupted the covenant and caused many to stumble. In fact both prophet and priest and scribes had acted in falsehood and defiled the Word and this is where the reality of there being no true fear of יהוה was being exposed and that they were not bringing the proper esteem due to His Name. The priesthood had become defiled and in the redemptive work of our Master, we are able to see how the order of the priesthood was changed from Lĕwi to that of Malkitseḏeq where Messiah is our High Priest who lives forever as He renewed His covenant with Yisra’ĕl and Yehuḏah in His own blood and established His covenant of a set-apart priesthood, which we now are in Messiah, to serve Him in righteousness forever!
There is a twofold lesson we can take from these words in Mal’aḵi and that is that we are to be on guard against false ear tickling teachers that twist and corrupt the Word for their own gain, while at the same time we are not to neglect the need to listen to and obey those that the Master has appointed in the body for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, so that the Body of Messiah can be equipped for every good work.
Sha’ul warned Timotiyos that there would be a time when people would not bear sound teaching, but according to their own desires, they will heap up for themselves teachers tickling the ear turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to myths. That time is certainly upon us and many are being led astray by false teachers, while at the same time we also take note that because of the corruption that has happened there are those who refuse to submit to and obey the true given ones of the Master. We are also therefore able to recognise that those that our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, has appointed to teach and equip His body to maturity are His messengers (Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:11-16); and those who do not listen to the given ones He has appointed to speak and teach His Word are in effect not listening to Him, which then reveals that those who are not listening do not have the fear of Elohim and are not bringing proper esteem to His Name!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:7 “Remember those leading you, who spoke the Word of Elohim to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their belief.”
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:7 “Obey those leading you, and be subject to them, for they watch for your lives, as having to give account. Let them do so with joy and not groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
This book of Mal’aḵi/Malachi was written around 500 B.C.E. while Yehuḏah was back in the Promised Land by permission of the king of Persia, after having been in exile in Baḇelon. After Ḥaggai and Zeḵaryah had encouraged and inspired the people to rebuild the temple under the leadership of Zerubbaḇel and after Ezra had brought back thousands more from exile, Neḥemyah had made some major reforms such as bringing justice to the poor, ending marriages to foreigners (no unequal yoking), reinstating the proper keeping of Sabbath and restored the proper bringing in of tithes and offerings. It did not take long for these new reforms to be backslidden from after Neḥemyah had returned to his post in Persia, which prompted him to come back and bring some necessary correction and strict rebuke. While Neḥemyah was gone many of the priests had gone to find work in the fields as no tithes and offerings were being brought in, which caused the service in the Temple to be corrupted and almost non-existent, the poor were not being treated fairly and the Sabbath was not being kept and the feasts were not being kept as instructed which rendered them as being regarded as dung before Elohim and totally unacceptable.
It is around this time that the message of the word of יהוה to Yisra’ĕl by Mal’aḵi was given. The Hebrew word that is used for ‘message’ in Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:1 מַשָּׂא massa – Strong’s H4853 and means, ‘bear, carry, support, tribute (which is carried or brought), a load, lifting’, which comes from the primitive root נָשָׂא nasa – Strong’s H5375 which we looked at the start of this Torah portion meaning, ‘to lift, carry, take, accept, accepted, arise, brought, bring forth, borne’.
When understood in the context of the message of this prophetic book we take note that this word can have the meaning of being a a prophetical speech of a threatening character and is mainly a rebuke, hence it being regarded as a burden or something that is heavy to bear but must be lifted up and delivered!
Yehuḏah had quickly backslidden into corrupt ways and these words were ‘heavy words’ that needed to be given in a severe rebuke for the lack of the fear of יהוה and the proper esteem that was to given to His Name! Despite the returning exiles being greatly inspired by Ḥaggai some years before, this once fervent Elohim fearing exiles had now digressed and had become complacent and mediocre as they would typically just go through the motions of religious routines with no reverence or esteem for יהוה.
During the years of Ḥaggai, the people listened and responded yet here around 50 years or so later the people didn’t listen and rejected true worship to יהוה and had become so disillusioned that they basically began to ask whether worship, family responsibilities and giving were really worth it anymore! Sound familiar to what we see today? Many people that are disillusioned are questioning whether true worship is necessary – I want to tell you it was necessary back then and still is today. The problem that was at the heart of this backslidden Yehuḏah is that the fear of יהוה was gone and it is sadly the same problem that we see with so many today!
For the purposes of this message I want us to look closely at verse 6 which I opened with as we allow these same questions that were asked by יהוה to a backsliding Yehuḏah to be asked today to the body of Messiah who is supposed to be making herself ready for His soon return!
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:6 “A son esteems his father, and a servant his master. And if I am the Father, where is My esteem? And if I am a Master, where is My fear? said יהוה of hosts to you priests who despise My Name. But you asked, ‘In what way have we despised Your Name?’”
יהוה is making a clear statement that the hearers would be able to identify with and not be able to deny its truth and then asks: “And if I am the Father, where is My esteem? And if I am a Master, where is My fear?”
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘esteems’ is the root verb כָּבֵד kaḇeḏ – Strong’s H3513 which means, ‘to be heavy, weighty or burdensome, to give high esteem and respect and honour’ and it is from this root verb that we get the noun that is translated as ‘esteem’ which is כָּבוֹד kaḇoḏ – Strong’s H3519 which means, ‘honour, esteem, reverence, splendid’.
The verb כָּבֵד kaḇeḏ – Strong’s H3513 is often translated as ‘praise’ that is to be given to יהוה and this word is used in the 10 Words (Commandments) where we are told to ‘respect’ our parents; and so what is, in effect, being told to us here is that we must carefully consider and ‘give weight to’ the Word of Elohim and guard the Truth in order that we may live long in the land which יהוה is giving us, and not be kept out or expelled as our forefathers were for disobedience and a lack of faith!
A son treats his father with much respect and considers him to be very important. The opposite of this is to treat ‘lightly’ and give no honour to the instructions and discipline of a father. This question that יהוה was asking of Yehuḏah was clear- “If I am the Father then where is My esteem?”
This is a question of identity! The Hebrew word translated as ‘if’ is אִם im – Strong’s H518 which is a conditional participle or primary conjunction which renders, ‘if, though, either, neither, when, whenever’. The basic meaning is “if” and this meaning can be seen in most of its occurrences and is usually occurs in conditional clauses, which we are able to see very clearly here! If He is the Father… where then is His esteem? Many people want to be identified as being children of The Most High yet they give no weight to His commands and cast aside the need to obey His Torah and instructions and in the process are unable to properly praise His Name!
Lots of people today will even recite the words that our Master and Elohim taught as a pattern of how we ought to pray yet their lawlessness and compromised lifestyles reveal that they are not sons or daughters of Elohim. Many will recite the following: Our Father who is in the heavens, let Your Name be set-apart – yet are not bringing esteem to His Name as they do not take Him serious enough and have no clue what His word teaches about set-apartness! Yisra’ĕl had no clue about how they were despising the Name of יהוה which is to be esteemed! They did not see their compromised and corrupt worship and festivals as wrong, simply because the priesthood had been corrupted and no proper Torah was being taught. Blemished offerings were being brought and they even called the Table of יהוה despicable!
The Hebrew root word that is translated as ‘despise/despised’ is בָּזָה bazah – Strong’s H959 which means, ‘to despise, despicable, contempt, careless, to be vile, worthless’; and the answer to the question of how they were despising the Name of יהוה is given in the next verse:
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:7 “You are presenting defiled food on My altar. But you asked, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ Because you say, ‘The table of יהוה is despicable.’”
This rebuke of how they were presenting defiled food and calling the table of יהוה despicable, is a clear rebuke as to how they were despising the Feasts of יהוה, and contaminating their worship through a corrupt mix of pagan rooted sun-worship practices that had caused their festivals to become defiled and unclean before the eyes of Elohim, as they showed no regard for the true Table of יהוה. In today’s terms we can see this vivid display of many who say the table of יהוה is despicable, simply by their refusal to keep the Feast of Pěsaḥ/Passover and Matzot/Unleavened Bread, while they continue in bringing defiled and abominable worship in the form of the pagan feast of Easter/Ishtar. Many claim that they are worshipping Elohim when they observe falsified sun-worship feasts and ‘present defiled food’ so to speak as they eat yeast products during a feast where no leaven is commanded!!! Hot cross buns and all the Easter eggs are defiled food, and when confronted about this, most Christians will refuse to hear the truth and will call the True Feast of Pěsaḥ/Passover and 7 days of Unleavened Bread/Matzot ‘despicable’, which is also from the root word בָּזָה bazah – Strong’s H959!
While we can recognise how false worship systems are clearly despising יהוה we also must recognise how there are many who claim to be walking in the Truth and are ‘keeping the Torah’, so to speak, yet they too are despising the Table of יהוה by defiling it through the adherence to false rabbinic traditions and man-made customs that bring no esteem to יהוה whatsoever.
The word ‘despised’ is explained in the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as: ‘to look down on with contempt or aversion; to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful’, and herein lies a very severe warning to those who regard the Torah as negligible, worthless or distasteful, and treat with contempt the Name of יהוה.
The choice is clear – fear יהוה and walk in straightness as true upright ones of the Most High by waking in His Torah, or walk in your own ways and despise Him and face the fate of the wrong!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 14:2 “He who walks in his straightness fears יהוה, but he whose ways are crooked despises Him.”
This parable highlights for us the clear problems that were being faced when the message of the Word of יהוה to Yisra’ĕl was given by Mal’aḵi – for Yisra’ĕl were not walking in straightness due to the lack of fear for יהוה as their ways were clearly crooked! This teaches us a vital lesson that any departure from total straightness is a crooked way which despises יהוה rather than fears Him! What is being clearly contrasted here is straightness with crookedness, and the resulting actions of one versus the other toward יהוה – you either fear Him or despise Him – there is no middles ground!
The Hebrew word for ‘in his straightness’ is בְּיָשְׁרוֹ – ‘b’yashro’ which comes from the root word ישֶׁר yosher – Strong’s H3476 meaning, ‘straightness, uprightness, correctly, honesty’ and comes from the primitive root verb יָשַׁר Yashar – Strong’s H3474 meaning, ‘straight, right, pleasing, be level, upright, just and lawful’.
The poetic term ‘Yeshurun’ – which means ‘upright one’ is used as a symbolic term of all 12 Tribes of Yisra’ĕl serving together in unity!
יְשֻׁרוּן Yeshurun – Strong’s H3484 comes from the word יָשַׁר yashar – Strong’s H3474 which means, ‘straight, right, pleasing, be level, upright, just and lawfull’.
This is what יהוה has chosen Yisra’ĕl (His called out Bride) for – to be straight and upright and walk in His Torah, shining the Light of His Besorah (Good News) amidst a crooked world.
The upright ones who walk in straightness fear יהוה!
This is what is being addressed here in this message of the word of יהוה – where is His fear and esteem?
He not only uses the picture of how a son esteems his father but also highlights how a servant esteems his master and then presents another conditions clause by saying:
“if I am a Master, where is My fear?”
Is He Master or not? If He is Master then where is His fear? This is a sobering wake up call to many who claim to call Him Master yet do not do what He says:
Luqas/Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Master, Master,’ and do not do what I say?”
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:21-22 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens. 22 “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ 23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’”
We also take note of the words of our Master and Elohim, in:
Luqas/Luke 16:13 “No servant is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cling to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve Elohim and mammon.”
If He is The Father and if He is Master then where is His esteem and fear?
The Hebrew word used here for ‘where’ is אַיֵּה ayyeh – Strong’s H346 which comes from the word אַי ay – strong’s H335 which means, ‘where, how, what, whether, why’. אַיֵּה ayyeh – Strong’s H346 is used here as an interrogative adverb which means, ‘where’, with reference to position as part of a rhetorical question.
WHERE IS MY FEAR!
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘fear’ is מוֹרָה morah – Strong’s H4172 which means, ‘fear, dread, terror, respect, reverence, what they fear, who is to be feared’ and comes from the root word – יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 which means, ‘to fear, be afraid, be in awe, show reverence and respect’. True obedience and set-apart servanthood begins with the proper fear of יהוה, which was greatly lacking back then and is still lacking today! The root word יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 is used in:
Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the entire matter: Fear Elohim and guard His commands, for this applies to all mankind!”
This word יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 is used to describe the reverence and respect we ought to have for Elohim, by being dutiful in our obedience;, yet when one is disobedient this ‘fear’ is not out of reverence, but is rather a fear as a result of being afraid for being disobedient and the consequences of the punishment for disobedience that are due!
It is used in:
Berěshith/Genesis 3:10 “And he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
Here Aḏam was afraid because he had sinned, however we see this same root word – יָרֵא yare – Strong’s H3372 being used in a positive sense in:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:13 “Fear יהוה your Elohim and serve Him, and swear by His Name.”
The one that fears יהוה will refrain from doing that which is displeasing to Him. Fear of Him does not cause us to shrink back as one would from a fierce enemy or wild beast, but rather it causes us to draw near to Him and fills us with a reverent awe with the urgent zeal and desire in doing our utmost to please Him in every way!
Proper fear of Elohim will lead to a proper service unto Him, revealing who His true set-apart servants are – which are those who guard His commands and hold fast and overcome!
Ḥazon/Revelation 21:7 “The one who overcomes shall inherit all this, and I shall be his Elohim and he shall be My son.”
Ḥazon/Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are those doing His commands, so that the authority shall be theirs unto the tree of life, and to enter through the gates into the city.”
While many may have claimed that they did indeed fear Elohim their actions said otherwise. They had defiled the Table of יהוה and were bringing blemished offerings as we see in:
Mal’aḵi/Malachi 1:8 “And when you present the blind as a slaughtering, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Bring it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favourably?” said יהוה of hosts.”
These are clear rhetorical questions that are being given here as a severe rebuke for the pathetic display of an assumed fear and esteem that they were bringing before יהוה. Of course it is evil to present the blind, lame and sick as a slaughtering:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 15:21 “But when there is any defect in it, lame or blind, or has any evil defect, do not slaughter it to יהוה your Elohim.”
This speaks about not bringing to יהוה what is blemished!!!
What we can learn from this is that when we understand that we are to be a living sacrifice, and as we are ‘in’ Messiah who is the ‘firstborn’ among the dead and of all creation, we must realise that we cannot bring unto יהוה a blemished or defective walk of faith! A blemished offering is simply that which is not perfect according to the Word and many are bringing a defective offering of their lives as they are riddled with compromise and the constant justification for their disobedience and lack of proper submission to guarding the Truth in fervent love!
If there is any defect in our daily walk, then we are unable to present our bodies as a living sacrifice! So many people give their second best to יהוה, while they will ensure that they give their best to their employers and friends. For instance, a simple example would be how many today have no regard for their care for proper time-keeping when it comes to the Feasts of יהוה, and will always have an excuse why they were either late or could not attend the commanded set-apart gatherings, yet they will never be late for a business meeting in fear of them losing their jobs!!! Where then is the true fear of יהוה? I think that many employers would be disgusted with the work ethic of their employees if they compromised as much as they do with the lack of properly obeying the commands of Elohim – do not bring a defective worship to Elohim!!!
Why do people bring blemished offerings? Because they do not fear יהוה! Where has the fear of יהוה gone and where is His esteem? This is a question that this message in Mal’aḵi/Malachi was asking back then and continues to ask the Bride of Messiah today! We must have a proper reverence for our Master and Elohim and to do that we must also understand the fear of יהוה:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Set-apart One is understanding.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 2:1-6 “My son, if you accept my words, and treasure up my commands with you, 2 so that you make your ear attend to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; 3 for if you cry for discernment, lift up your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures, 5 then you would understand the fear of יהוה, and find the knowledge of Elohim. 6 For יהוה gives wisdom; out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
We all want to understand the fear of יהוה and to do that I encourage you to please go through the notes of a message called, ‘THOSE FEARING ELOHIM LISTEN!’ which can be found on our site under the ‘sermons 2011/2012’ menu or by clicking on the following link:
I also encourage you to go through the commentary and word study of the Mishlĕ/Proverbs for more on the above verses that are quoted, which can also be fund on our site under the ‘proverbs’ menu.
We are told in:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 8:13 “יהוה of hosts, Him you shall set apart. Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”
The Hebrew word used here for ‘fear’ in the above verse from Yeshayahu/Isiah 8:13 is מוֹרָה morah – Strong’s H4172 and the Hebrew word that is translated as ‘dread’ comes from the root verb עָרַץ arats – Strong’s H6206 which means, ‘cause to tremble, oppress, feel dread’, and here it is written in the ‘hifil’ verb tense which is the ‘causative’ tense that can render the meaning, ‘to regard of treat with awe, to inspire with awe, terrify’. What is clear is that we should be caused to be in awe and true reverent fear of יהוה, while at the same time realise the terror of not doing so!
We are to tremble at His Word so that we pay close attention to hearing as we should and do what is commanded so that we do not bring that which is defiled!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 66:5 “Hear the Word of יהוה, you who tremble at His Word, “Your brothers who hate you, who cast you out for My Name’s sake, said, ‘Let יהוה be esteemed, so that we see your joy.’ But they are put to shame.”
The Hebrew word for ‘tremble’ is the adjective חֲרֹד ḥaroḏ – Strong’s H2730 which means, ‘tremble, fearful, afraid’ and comes from the root verb חָרַד ḥaraḏ – Strong’s H2729 which means, ‘trembling, to be terrified, frightened, afraid’.
The true remnant hears and comes trembling at His Word and brings the proper esteem that is due to יהוה of Hosts, while those that do not tremble at His Word and have no fear of Elohim will be swayed by every wind of teachings and doctrine of falsehood that tickle and soothe their ears to their own destruction!
This word חֲרֹד ḥaroḏ – Strong’s H2730 is also the name of a place that Giḏ’on and his men had camped at:
Shophetim/Judges 7:1 “And Yerubbaʽal, that is Giḏ’on, and all the people who were with him rose up early and encamped by the fountain of Ḥaroḏ, so that the camp of Miḏyan was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.”
All who were with Giḏ’on, encamped at the ‘fountain of Ḥaroḏ’, which in Hebrew is עֵין חֲרֹד En Ḥaroḏ – Strong’s H5878 which means, ‘spring or fountain of Ḥaroḏ’. This comes from the two words:
1) – עין ayin – Strong’s H5869 which means ‘eye, sight, fountain’, and is often used to depict the spiritual faculties, as when Aḏam and Ḥawwah sinned their ‘eyes’ were opened and they lost their innocence and were aware of their nakedness, both physical and spiritual. Eyes can be blinded to the Truth of the Torah of Elohim through compromise and sin, and eyes can be opened by Elohim, and we are told in Tehillah/Psalm 19:8 that the commands of Elohim enlighten the eyes!
2) – Ḥaroḏ comes from the root word חָרַד ḥaraḏ – Strong’s H2729 which means, ‘trembling, to be terrified, frightened, afraid’.
Giḏ’on and his gathered army were at the fountain of Ḥaroḏ, the place where the first testing or sifting would take place – the place that would reveal those who are afraid of the task that was at hand! Miḏyan was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh! מוֹרֶה Moreh – Strong’s H4176 means, ‘teacher’, and this in itself carries a great encouragement for us, especially when we understand the full story of Giḏ’on, who overcame huge terrifying obstacles and frightening enemies, as he trusted in and fixed his eyes upon יהוה. Here we recognise that in the face of danger and terrifying circumstances, which in Scripture is often represented as coming from the north, we are able to face battles and struggles as long as we have the hill of Moreh in our sights – meaning that we have our eyes on our Mighty Teacher and His clear instructions that gives us confidence and faith to stand and fight the good fight of faith! In Hebrew the word for ‘north’ is צְפוֹן Tsephon – Strong’s H6828, which is from the primitive root – צָפַן tsaphan – Strong’s H6845 meaning, ‘to hide, treasure up, ambush, concealed’. We have a Teacher of Righteousness – and as good, faithful students we must take careful heed to hear, guard and do all He teaches us through His Word – then we will be equipped to face the tough battles in life – even those battles and struggles that may be hidden from our sights, causing us to not be in fear of what lies ahead, but be equipped to press on in fervent faith as good soldiers of Messiah as we put the proper fear back in the fear of יהוה bringing esteem to His Name!!!
What I find extremely interesting is that the word used for ‘fear’ as in ‘where is My fear’, which is מוֹרָה morah – Strong’s H4172 and the word used for ‘teacher’, which is מוֹרֶה Moreh – Strong’s H4176 are both spelt with the same letters but have different vowel pointing; which can be a very important lesson in terms of this message or question of asking ‘where is My fear?’; as we take note that when our eyes are truly fixed on our Teacher of Righteousness and are properly guarding His Word as we do not look to the left or the right but meditate on His Word day and night, then we are walking in the true fear of יהוה. Where are your eyes looking? Are they fixed on the Good Teacher or do you find that they wander from side to side and find that your walk has become distracted by falsehood and deceit which causes you to lose the proper fear of יהוה, rendering the attempts at bringing esteem to His Name as being nothing but a blemished offering that is unacceptable in His eyes! This can also be a reminder of being careful as to who you are allowing to teach you as we take note that there will be many false teachers that will tickle ears which most who do not walk in the fear of יהוה will gather around themselves to satisfy their compromised lifestyles that they are unwilling to change. We also recognise, as mentioned that there are some who the Master and Elohim has given to teach and to disregard those he has given and appointed is the same as disregarding the Master Himself, for they are His Messengers!
What is worth taking note of as we consider the message of the word of יהוה to Yisra’ĕl by Mal’aḵi is that we are constantly reminded in Mal’aḵi/Malachi Chapters 1 and 2 that it is a message from יהוה of Hosts!
The compound title יהוה צְבָאוֹת – ‘יהוה tseḇaoth’ means, ‘יהוה of Hosts’ and the word ‘Hosts’ comes from the word צָבָא tsaḇa – Strong’s H6635 which means, ‘army, war, warfare, battle, conflict, host (of organised army)’, and comes from the root verb צָבָא tsaḇa – Strong’s H6633 meaning, ‘to wage war, perform, fight, serve, mustered, gone to war’.
He is not only our Commander and Chief who fights for us, He is also the one under whom we march and fight the good fight of belief. The question you must ask yourself is whether or not you are staying in the Master and have counted the cost of following Him and are serving as a faithful soldier in His army!
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 26:2 “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl from twenty years old and above, by their fathers’ houses, everyone going out to the army in Yisra’ĕl.”
The Hebrew word used for ‘army’ in verse 2 is צָבָא tsaḇa – Strong’s H6635 which means, ‘army, war, warfare, battle, conflict, host (of organised army)’. This was a count to see who was truly enlisted in the army of Elohim! We take note that this word is also used in the instructions given the Lěwites who were to ‘perform the service’ in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 4:23. To perform the duty of the priesthood is seen as a critical service of ‘fighting the good fight’. We must remember that the Lěwites encamped around the Tabernacle and were camped between the Tabernacle and the rest of the tribes in order to ‘guard the duty’ lest the wrath of Elohim break out to the rest of Yisra’ĕl! The Lěwites were no sissies but rather very strong and brave men who had to be fit and able to guard the charge of keeping the Tabernacle from defilement!
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of the belief, lay hold on everlasting life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession before many witnesses.”
We also take note that this root word צָבָא tsaḇa – Strong’s H6635 is used over 250 times in the Tanak as a clear title or Name of our Elohim – יהוה צְבָאוֹת – ‘יהוה tseḇaoth’ – meaning, ‘יהוה of Hosts’.
Our Father and Master is our Elohim and King and He is our Commander and Chief, unto who all esteem is to be given and He is the One to be feared as we walk in the fear of יהוה.
This word ought to be a warning against complacency and blemished worship so that the true hearers of this word can put back the fear into the fear of יהוה by guarding to do all He has commanded us to do and at the same time bring the proper esteem to His Name as we give weight and respect to His Trustworthy Word!
Many today do not have the fear of יהוה simply because they do not recognise or acknowledge who He is and that His Word far too lightly which causes them to not be able to properly trust in Him as find themselves fearing man:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in יהוה is set on high.”
What Shelomoh is addressing here is a major problem that we see today and that is the fear of man that is causing many to stumble in their need and ability to trust in יהוה. So many are more afraid of what another man can do to them than what יהוה can and will do to the disobedient and in the process many neglect to guard the Torah in the fear of offending a man.
There are so many who lack a true and proper trust in יהוה as they get gripped with the fear of a man; and a good example of this is seen how some will quickly neglect to obey the Torah when confronted by a threatening boss or family or acquaintance. Many, in fear of losing their job, will be too afraid to approach their employer and tell them that they cannot work on a Sabbath and will end up working on the Sabbath if asked too, which is a snare that leads to death! Instead of trusting יהוה to give them favour they fall prey to the fear of man and find that their ability to trust יהוה being hindered by the fear of man. This is what Shelomoh is teaching us here, for when one has the fear of man, in any way, then the ability to trust in יהוה will be lacking! To properly trust in יהוה is a blessing, for the fear of man does not grip or affect the one who makes יהוה their trust!
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in יהוה, and whose trust is יהוה. 8 “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and does not see when heat comes. And his leaf shall be green, and in the year of drought he is not anxious, nor does he cease from yielding fruit.”
Tehillah/Psalm 22:23 “You who fear יהוה, praise Him! All you seed of Ya’aqoḇ, esteem Him, and fear Him, all you seed of Yisra’ĕl!”
To give proper esteem that is due to יהוה, we must give weight and honour to guarding His presence and doing what He commands. In other words, a true life of praise does not take lightly the need to obey what His word commands, and does not give in to compromise for fear of what others may say or think!
A ‘kebeḏ’ (esteemed) praise of יהוה reflects a praise life that does not waver from complete set-apartness, and does not give in to the compromised standards of the world, or even to family members who do not walk in the Torah!
Is the weight of His easy yoke upon you, or do you buckle under the pressure of the lawless!
Does your life reflect true honour unto our Master and Elohim, or are there some dishonourable areas in your life, so to speak?
If there is compromise in your life, your ability to give esteem unto יהוה becomes greatly hindered and the fear of יהוה will be lost! Let us not ask ourselves the question that is being asked to many, which is:
WHERE HAS THE ‘FEAR’ IN ‘THE FEAR OF יהוה’ GONE AND WHERE IS HIS ESTEEM?
Let be urgent in rendering the proper fear and esteem unto יהוה that we should, as a called out and set-apart priesthood that has their eyes fixed on our One True Master and Elohim who is The Good Teacher of Righteousness!!! Let us make sure that the true reverent fear is put back into the fear of יהוה and not let the esteem of His Name be hindered in any way as we love Him with all our heart, being and might!
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!