Monday, December 20, 2010

Trust and Be Not Afraid

Tehillim/Psalms 37

Shalom everyone, I trust and hope that you have had a great week, and have been filled with great joy walking daily in His presence and now with great delight have come together to enter in to His magnificent rest as we remember to keep His Shabbat, aměn! On the other hand perhaps you have not had such a great week… come on be honest … who of you have had a really tough week, or day or even last month? Are there circumstances, people or things that have made you afraid, where you have found your faith being diminished and weakened amidst the onslaught of the wicked and their schemes in and around your life? What is it that you are afraid of? What is it that you perhaps are ashamed of? Are you even afraid of being disgraced before others, for whatever reason?
Maybe you have messed up, made some wrong choices, and afraid to try and figure it out or be set free because you are simply afraid of being embarrassed, ashamed or disgraced. Have you forgotten to trust? Or what it means to trust, and can you even trust? Who can you trust? Some easy yet often hard to answer questions!!!
While away these past few days hoping to get some much needed rest, although plagued with an upset stomach, and not finding much time to simply ‘switch off’, I did however find much delight and comfort in His Word, and as I read bits and pieces here and there, I found myself being drawn constantly back to Tehillim (Psalms) 37 and would like us to read this tonight and be strengthened and encouraged greatly by this great Psalm of Dawiḏ. I know all of you here are super strong in the faith and are great warriors for our Mighty Redeemer, yet I have a message called, “Trust and be not afraid!” Something we all constantly need to be reminded of, aměn!
But who is it we are to trust in? Although we all know the answer - YHWH of course – but why is it we often fail at applying this truth, looking often to self or others as opposed to YHWH. Before going to Tehillim 27 look first at:
Yirmeyahu/ Jeremiah 17: 5-8 “Thus said YHWH, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart turns away from YHWH. 6 “For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and not see when good comes, and shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, a salt land that is not inhabited. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in YHWH, and whose trust is YHWH. 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.

Would you rather be cursed or blessed? Be miserable or happy? Stressed or at peace? I know my answer – I want to be blessed, happy and at peace, and I am sure you do to, so let’s be reminded tonight about what this word trust really means and when trusting in the correct source what it will lead to. Turn with me to Tehillim/Psalms 37 (Read).

Perhaps you have been facing some tough faith battles so to speak – you have found yourself having had some pretty rough encounters with the wicked. Now to better understand the term wicked, which in Hebrew is ‘rasha’ and ‘poneros’ in the Greek – and refers to someone who is unrighteous – in other words refers to the one who is opposed to righteousness and opposed to the one who is righteous and refers to one who is guilty of violating the righteous requirements of the Torah of YHWH. So it is not necessarily just referring to the murderer and rapist etc., but it is also referring to one who violates the very Torah, and deliberately disobeys the Torah and even twists the truth for their own gain.
It is here in this Tehillim (Psalm) that Dawiḏ calls for a trust in YHWH despite the presence of evil and wicked men!
It is here that Dawiḏ teaches us how to survive in the land of the wicked and begins by giving us a series of proverbs from verses 1-8 instructing us and giving way to the promises that that the wicked will be punished and that Elohim upholds the just, despite the intent of the wicked to harm them. Listen the intentions of the wicked and corrupt living around you and perhaps very close to you, may just be to harm you and ridicule you and despise you and slander and hate you, yet here we are encouraged and instructed to take great joy and strength from YHWH knowing that He upholds us as we are His, aměn!
Here Dawiḏ gives us a few do’s and don’ts –

DON’TS :                                                        DO’S:

FRET (1)                                                         TRUST in YHWH (3)

BE ENVIOUS (1)                                            DO GOOD (3)

FRET (7)                                                          ENJOY YOUR BLESSINGS (4)

BE ANGRY (8)                                                DELIGHT IN YHWH (4)

FRET (8)                                                          COMMIT TO YHWH (5)

                                                                         TRUST IN YHWH (5)

                                                                         BE STILL BEFORE YHWH (7)

                                                                         WAIT PATIENTLY FOR HIM (7)

DO NOT FRET – 3 times Dawiḏ instructs us in this – so what is ‘fret’? Fret is the Hebrew word ‘charah’ and means ‘to worry or fear’ or ‘be shaken’. In other words we are not to be shaken because of evil doers, or be shaken because of those who prosper in their wickedness. How often you hear people say, it is not fair that the wicked prosper – so what – don’t let that shake you, don’t get rattled over it. Dawiḏ also tells us not to get so rattled or shaken by the wicked that we do evil.
Don’t let frustration turn to evil actions and in sense; do as the world does – NO abstain from these. Do not repay evil for evil but repay evil with good – that is the good works of obedient Torah living expressed through love. It can often be a temptation to get envious of others who are not walking in the truth and in fact are so far away from the truth yet they are prosperous:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 23:17 “Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be in the fear of YHWH all day long.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:1 “Do not envy evil men, Nor desire to be with them.
For they will wither like grass (Kepha Aleph/1 Peter 1:24)!
This is a call to trust in YHWH!
Trust is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something. It is a dependence upon one or one in which confidence is placed. It is the confidence, reliance and resting of the mind in the integrity/friendship of another person.
Who can you talk to? And how do you develop trust? What happens when you have the capacity and ability to trust?
Well simply there is a release of pressure, a freedom, an openness to confide in, to seek refuge and comfort, and find a peace and joy that comes as you trust. To trust is also to be confident of something present or future. Let me ask you right now - What are you confident for or in right now or for the future? What is it that you are trusting for – and who are trusting in?
“If only I had more faith!” you may say to yourself, but what makes faith valid is not how much you have, but what/whom we have faith in. It is not how strong our faith is, it is how strong the one we believe in is!
We are to trust in YHWH who answers prayer and stand on the sure promise that He will give you the desires of your heart!
Based on the condition that is – that you delight yourself in Him!
Delight is the Hebrew word ‘anag’ which also means to enjoy or be fond of, or take pleasure in. It carries with it the meaning of having a high degree of gratification and joy in someone or something! We all certainly want the desires of our hearts – that I am sure we can all agree upon, but how sincere and true is our ability to truly take great pleasure and enjoyment in YHWH – do we truly delight ourselves in Him? We must – but are we is what we are to ask! For when we truly have a high degree of gratification and joy for YHWH, then His desires become our desires. When you delight in someone you spend all you energy in seeking to please them. Many certainly desire to have the desires of their heart yet find no time for YHWH in their lives!!! Delighting in Him will cause the fretting to flee.
Dawiḏ moves on and tells us that we are to commit our way to YHWH. Looking again at the Hebrew word used here for: Commit – ‘galal’ means to ‘roll’ or roll away! This carries the picture of rolling oneself over to YHWH. To commit you way is not simply committing to an appointment, but rather your whole life – all your desires, your anxieties, your problems – over to YHWH and allowing YHWH to determine what your life will be and then He says He will do it! This is a challenge in itself for most, as to say I am committed carries a deeper understanding than many care to realise as it is a rolling away from self and totally over to YHWH. Carrying on with the Hebrew words in giving us better understanding to Dawiḏ’s words let us look at two more:
Be still – in Hebrew is ‘damam’ and means to be silent or to rest or to cease. We are expected to be still and quiet ourselves, which at times is impossible at the best of times as the hustle and bustle of the world around us just never seems to stop. And all too often I am sure we can all agree that His still small voice is not clearly heard amidst the ‘noise’ of our chaotic 21st century lives! Learning to be still and silenced in a noise filled world will help us and enable us to hear the Shepherd’s voice through His Word. How many of you have at times tried to read the Word only to find that there are just too many distractions and too much noise, while there are other times when you have made the effort to quiet yourself and read and suddenly able to experience the joy of His crisp clear voice bringing revelation and joy, understanding and discernment to your heart. It takes effort to be still, to cease from self and all that tries to drown out the sweet still voice of the Almighty. We must learn to be still amidst the noise, but it takes diligent practice and discipline – maybe you have to set your alarm a little earlier and start being quiet while there is quiet, so growing in the ability to be quiet in the noise!
Learning to be still will enhance and grow our ability to wait patiently for Him.
Wait – another word I find interesting - in the Hebrew it is ‘yachal’ – which means, ‘to wait, delay, also to have hope and wait with expectancy’. ‘Yachal’ here in this Psalm is used in terms of an expectation or hope which for us as believers is closely linked with faith and trust resulting in patient waiting, and so the sense of expectation is positive, waiting for good to come! I asked earlier what you are confident for – well this is a call for ‘Yachal’ – a patient waiting and expectancy – with the confidence of the assurance of that which you are waiting on will come! “Yachal” Hope is the solid ground of expectation for the righteous:
Tehillim/Psalms 130:7 “O Yisra’ĕl, wait (yachal - wait with expectancy)for YHWH; For with YHWH there is kindness. (Italics added)
Verse 34 again tells us to wait on YHWH and also to guard His way, which is put together here with great wisdom for us. For YHWH does not expect us to remain passive as we wait for Him to act and bring forth His deliverance and promises. We are to be active – active in doing His Good Works prepared in advance for us – active in guarding His Way! We are to be about walking in His Way – His Torah – walking in Messiah Yahushua as we eagerly await upon Him!
Ḥazon/Revelation 14:12 “Here is the endurance of the set-apart ones, here are those guarding the commands of Elohim and the belief of Yahushua
In the midst of troublesome times – faithful endurance – continuing to be steadfast in obedience to the commands of Elohim and holding fast to our faith in Yahushua is called for as we know that He is with us and He never will leave nor forsake us!
We have an inheritance!!! 5 times here in this Tehillim (Psalm) Dawiḏ tells us who will inherit the earth: It is those who faithfully and obediently wait upon YHWH, the meek, His blessed ones, the righteous – those who wait upon YHWH and guard His way! The wicked may have much prosperity and riches, but the earth will be ours!!!
Dawiḏ’s encouragement to us here is to not fret and worry what the wicked may do or even try to do to us – we must find ourselves delighting in, committing to, waiting on and being still before YHWH, walking in righteousness and YHWH will not withhold from us any good matter, aměn!
Dawiḏ goes on to explain why we can have such confident hope – the wicked will be punished! He uses 5 contrasts to form the basis of his affirmations given to us who wait upon YHWH:
1 – The wicked may devise evil against the righteous – yet YHWH laughs at them
2 – The wicked may attack the meek and those whose walk is straight – yet their own violence will kill them
3 – It is better to be righteous with little than to be wicked with plenty – for their works will be destroyed and the righteous will be sustained
4 – YHWH protects the way of the upright and they are satisfied even in famine, while the wicked will perish and vanish like grass and smoke
5 – The wicked will borrow and not repay and be cut off, while the righteous shows favour and gives and receives the inheritance of the earth!

One thing is sure – in YHWH we have safety and a sure future. YHWH establishes the way of the righteous, provides food for them; He loves and protects the just who do good and gives them security in the land and the righteous speak with wisdom as the Torah is upon their heart!
We know that there is a struggle between the wicked and the righteous and it will become even greater in the days that lie ahead, yet Dawiḏ here contrasts the plot of the evil to try to destroy the righteous with YHWH’s power to preserve and by this he reveals the solution to the problem of the wicked. While the wicked may lie in wait to destroy the righteous – YHWH will not forsake His own!
He who trusts in and waits upon YHWH will enjoy security and the upright in heart will enjoy a secure future whereas the wicked will perish! They may seem to be flourishing right now – yet they will be cut off!!!!

Perhaps you may at times feel ashamed - as you have looked back on the year and reflect on shameful acts, sinful acts/thoughts/desires, or simply realise a lack of commitment or follow through to complete something you so willingly set out to achieve – what now? Well today I want to tell you that no matter what the circumstances you face or have been through, if you would simply put your trust in YHWH, put your present and future confidence and hope (joyful confident expectation) in Him then you need not be ashamed. When we put our trust in YHWH our creator – then we have the confidence and assurance of our salvation, provision, and every need and desire to be all that He has created us to be.
Romiyim/Romans 10:11 “As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.
As long as you trust in Him, you can be assured of never being put to shame or as one translation says ‘never be disgraced’. You can therefore find refuge, rest, assurance, protection and confidence in Him, and you have the ability to confide in Him. He knows your heart, even though the heart is deceitful above all things, when you put your trust in Him you will be able to verbalise your heart with YHWH and commune with Him in a loving relationship which casts out all fears and finds rest in Him alone.

We will at times find ourselves in a place of suffering and here I would like to give you 12 proper reactions to suffering enabling us to Trust and not be afraid:
1 – Expect suffering
Timotiyos Bet/2 Timothy 3:12 “And indeed, all those wishing to live reverently in Messiah Yahushua, shall be persecuted.
Yoḥanan/John 16:33 “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.
2 – Commit to YHWH – ‘roll’ over to Him with your all!
Kepha Aleph/ 1 Peter4:19 “So then, those who suffer according to the desire of Elohim should commit their lives to a trustworthy Creator, in doing good.
3 – Don’t always try to understand the reasons for your suffering!
Romiyim/Romans 8:28 “And we know that all matters work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to His purpose.
4 – Realise others suffer!
Kepha aleph/1 Peter 5: 8-9 “Be sober, watch, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the belief, knowing that the same hardships are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
5 – Pray in your suffering!
Yaʽaqoḇ/James 5:13 “Is any of you suffering evil? Let him pray. Is anyone in good spirits? Let him sing psalms.
6 – Don’t faint or lose heart because of your suffering!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:10 “If you falter in the day of distress, Your strength is small!
7 – Patiently endure suffering in a steadfast way!
Romiyim/Romans 12:12 “rejoicing in the expectancy, enduring under pressure, continuing steadfastly in prayer
Timotiyos Bet/2 Timothy 2:3 “Suffer hardship with us as a good soldier of Yahushua Messiah.
8 – Thank Elohim in your sufferings!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in all circumstances give thanks, for this is the desire of Elohim in Messiah Yahushua for you.
9 – Rejoice because of your sufferings!
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in YHWH always, again I say, rejoice!
Acts 5:40-41 “And they heeded his advice, and having called for the emissaries, beating them, they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Yahushua, and let them go. 41 Then indeed they went rejoicing from the presence of the council, because they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.
10 – Do not become a self-made martyr because of your sufferings!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:12-13 “So, strengthen the hands which hang down and the weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned aside, but instead, to be healed.
11 – Don’t suffer needlessly!
Kepha aleph/1 Peter 2:20 “For what credit is there in enduring a beating when you sin? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure, this finds favour with Elohim.
Kepha aleph/1 Peter 3:17 “For it is better, if it is the desire of Elohim, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
12 – Weigh your current suffering against the coming esteem!
Romiyim/Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the esteem that is to be revealed in us.

Wow – a mouthful of Scriptures – but the heart behind these is to be encouraged as Dawiḏ encourages us in Psalm 37 – and that is to not be afraid of what we may face but to trust in YHWH!
Trust in YHWH leads us to be surrounded by His mercy and favour; enjoying perfect peace, happiness and safety from danger, and will find stability and strength as we stand firm on the Rock of our Salvation! Trusting in Him keeps us from fear and from sliding into sin and lawlessness.
In Daniel we find a great example of trust in YHWH:
Daniel 3:28 “Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar responded and said, “Blessed be the Elah of Shaḏraḵ, Mĕyshaḵ, and Aḇĕḏ-Neḡo, who sent His Messenger and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and changed the sovereign’s order, and gave up their bodies, that they should not serve nor do obeisance to any elah except their own Elah!
Shaḏraḵ & co. are an excellent example of putting total trust in YHWH, facing death, yet trusting in YHWH. How willing are we to trust Him totally? Can you trust YHWH? If not, why? Is it because you do not know Him well enough? Scripture declares and proves over and over that YHWH is Sovereign and worthy to be trusted. The question we may also ask ourselves or should ask ourselves is that can we be trusted? Can we walk in the footsteps of Yahushua and be trusted with the love and gifts He has entrusted us with by His grace and mercy through the Blood of Yahushua. Are we allowing the Ruach HaQodesh to empower and equip us to live a life worthy of being a child of the Living Elohim?

I find that the more I am able to put my trust in YHWH the more I am able to be trusted with the things of YHWH. My ability to walk out a life of obedience is determined by the ability I have to put my trust in YHWH. Trusting in YHWH is a key to immeasurable blessings that are for now and forever, why would anyone not choose to trust YHWH? It just does not make sense. The Yisra’ĕlites continually stopped putting their trust in YHWH and we see the pattern of destruction and disaster that comes when man puts their trust in others or even themselves. It is just not a formula that works. There is only one formula – Trust YHWH!
Perhaps today you are being challenged with the ability to trust YHWH, maybe for a specific thing or for life in general. Whatever the situation, I hope that you are able to open your heart and confide in Him and begin to rely, depend and put confidence in YHWH our Elohim. Perhaps the challenge is for you to get to know Him more for it is difficult to trust someone you don’t know. What I do know is that as you grow in intimacy and knowledge of Him the more you will trust in Him, and the more blessed you will be and be able to face anything in life.
Where is your trust today? Trust in YHWH is a must!
Be encouraged to know that as Dawiḏ tells us that the wicked will have their day and will perish – let us rejoice in our Elohim and trust Him, aměn! Can you say with me with great confidence:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 12:2 “See EL is my deliverance, I trust and am not afraid. For Yah, YHWH is my strength and my song; and He has become my deliverance.

Go on repeat this Scripture aloud and say it with intensity and meaning, meaning what you say!!!
Be blessed in YHWH!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Yeshayahu/Isaiah 35

Shalom everyone, it is good to be together and be able to praise our Mighty and Wonderful Creator and lift up his Name in praise – halleluYah! More and more we are hearing of and each of us I am sure can bear witness as to how we are all facing greater challenges and difficulties. The times we are living in certainly calls for us to do as the Word says, and encourage and be encouraged by one another daily. As we look at the world around us today, it can be very easy at times to be caught in the trap of negativity, depression and fear, causing us to despair and give up hope. Have any of you ever felt like that? You have at times felt like just ‘giving up hope’, or running away and hiding? Now we all know that hiding and running accomplishes nothing but more despair and fear and can just lead to a constant spiral of a state of depression, unable to see a way out. There are many today in this predicament – and in an attempt to alleviate some of the pressure they seek alternative ways and means of trying to satisfy the increasing demands and hardships of this life. In other words they may try any path that looks like it may help, yet find themselves constantly jumping form one road to another, confused and lost, and in danger of resigning to the notion that there is no better way of navigating through each day, month and year than just doing whatever seems the easiest option or road to take, even if it leads to destruction!
There is a saying that comes form of old that says, “all roads lead to Rome”, and at one time the road system of the Ancient Romans consisted of over 80,000km of paved roads that radiated from the centre of Rome, and the design was done with the intention of declaring that Rome was the epicentre of the world’s trade and economy and making a statement that no matter which way you travelled it all led to Rome.
This way of thinking has certainly caused many to be led to their downfall, as there are many who declare that all roads lead to the Creator, and this we know is certainly not true, as there is only One Way – Yahushua Messiah is The Way, the only way to life! My message tonight is called “All Roads DO NOT Lead to Rome!
For we know that there is One Way that does not lead to Rome and that is YHWH’s Road – as I said last week, the road less travelled. It is a road less travelled as it is against the flow of the world for it leads away from Rome or from the Babylon or Mitsrayim of our day, and it is a straight and narrow way, and the only way we will reach our destination in Him is by walking on His road – ‘derek ha qodesh’ – The Way of Set-apartness!
Just as the words of the prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) encouraged those in captivity in the 6th century B.C.E, may we too allow the Word of YHWH spoken through Yeshayahu encourage us today, helping us to not lose our focus, as we fix our eyes on the Prince and Perfector of our faith! How many of you have found at times that due to stuff that just happens in and around your life, you have seemingly lost focus on your walk of faith? Turn with me to Yeshayahu 35 (read).

Yehuḏah had turned their backs on YHWH by walking in disobedience and were facing the discipline because of their sins. The nation was under attack by the brutal Assyrian army and the people were terrified and obviously concerned about their future, and in the midst of these difficult and trying circumstances, Yeshayahu stands before them as a prophet of comfort and hope, encouraging them with what is to come and the road they must walk – return to His Torah, for there is a Day coming where YHWH would deliver them and cause them to live in peace in the land He had Promised.
This was also a prophetic message as Yeshayahu was looking forward to the Millennial Reign of the Messiah which is sure to come.
Yehuḏah was in a state of depression, having abandoned obedience to the Torah, yet YHWH had not abandoned them, for He had made an everlasting Covenant with His chosen people and after having shared with them of coming judgement in Chapter 34, Yeshayahu encourages them to not lose sight of what is to come. Here Yehuḏah are as strangers in the land, under siege and in a nutshell the cry of their heart is one of, “Why are we not there yet?” Have you ever travelled a long distance and either you as a child kept asking or one of your children kept asking, “Are we there yet?”
We are on a journey, sojourning here as foreigners or strangers in this world yet, our destination are close at hand – His coming kingdom reign! So from this passage the encouragement is for us to not lose focus!

This chapter describes the land which is to come – that which the nation had so longed for, since it was first promised to Aḇraham. This chapter speaks of our long and anticipated hope where peace and fertility prevail, and this will come we know for sure yet not until YHWH’s judgements come upon the world which I said is referred to prophetically in the preceding chapter. This is a very important chapter for us today, as it rules out the teaching road of pre-millennialism, which teaches that the world will become increasingly better and bring in the Kingdom reign followed by Messiah’s return! This chapter in Yeshayahu also puts to naught the teaching of a-millennialism, which teaches that there will be no earthly kingdom as the “O.T.” promises to Yisra’ĕl are seemingly being fulfilled by the church today! Yeshayahu was teaching Yisra’ĕl that YHWH will re-gather believing Yisra’ĕl and will establish His long awaited Kingdom on earth. This promised restoration is not being fulfilled in any way whatsoever by the church today! YHWH will bring both Ephraim and Yehuḏah together, and in no way has the church replaced Yisra’ĕl!

But what is this chapter showing us today?
Well for one thing we know that times of trouble are coming, tribulation will be a reality in the near future for which faithful endurance is called for on the part of the set-apart ones!
YHWH’s promises are yes and aměn in Messiah and the hope we have of his coming reign must encourage us to walk His Way!
I find it encouraging to realise how YHWH is clearly speaking to us as a family in Him, for last week in the message we looked at Elisha taking the road less travelled, unhindered by the distractions of many and here tonight we are looking at this road – the way of set apartness. YHWH is calling us to Set-apart living amidst the Babylon of our day and the only road that we are to find ourselves upon is His Way – the way that does not lead to Rome or any Roman doctrines, traditions and festivals of man, but rather to continue steadfast in the Only True Way of Life – walking in Yahushua Messiah!
Yoḥanan Aleph (1 John) 2:6 “The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.
To ‘stay’ in Him is to walk His Way and it is a set-apart way. We have all sinned and fallen short of the esteem of Elohim, and we have all in the past walked the ‘low’ life road:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, as also the rest.
But praise be to YHWH our Elohim who has set us free from sin and death and the disobedience of the flesh, that when we accepted Yahushua as our Saviour and Master, and His call to follow Him on His path, He set our feet on a secure road – His Way that is the way of righteousness that leads to life!
Tehillim/Psalms 40:1-3 “I waited, waited for YHWH; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. 2 And He drew me Out of the pit of destruction, Out of the muddy clay, And He set my feet upon a rock, He is establishing my steps. 3 Then He put a new song in my mouth; Praise to our Elohim; Many do see it and fear, and trust in YHWH.
The way of righteousness is a set-apart way – set-apart unto YHWH, and from the world – from the Roman rule of man-made doctrines. YHWH calls us to and expects us to be set-apart:
Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.
YHWH calls us to and expects us to refrain from all wickedness, even the appearance of evil:
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:22-23 “Keep back from every form of wickedness. 23 And the Elohim of peace Himself set you completely apart, and your entire spirit, and being, and body - be preserved blameless at the coming of our Master Yahushua Messiah!

When we walk His Way, He sets us apart, preserving us for our coming Master! Yahushua said that His sheep known his voice and He is the Good Shepherd. His voice is His Word – His spoken Word – His Torah, instructions and commands that guide and lead us on His path or road. To walk the set apart life is to walk in righteousness doing His commands:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3-4 “And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. 4 The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2: 15 “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.

As we see from Yeshayahu – the highway of set-apartness is not for fools – it is not for those who wander and stray, stagger or stumble – for His way is pure and is found by staying in His Word.
The Hebrew word used here for 'fools' in verse 8 is ‘eviyl’, (prounounced – ev-eel), which means to be perverse (that is those who have turned away from what is right or good) and speaks of those who despise wisdom – there are those who say that all this learning of the Word is making us mad, just as they accused Sha’ul, and they despise the wisdom of Elohim – why? They do not fear Him – for the fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom. Those who do not fear YHWH are fools and will not walk His Way. The fools referred to here also speak of those who mock when guilty – how true is that today – the fools who are guilty of lawlessness will be the first to mock – but blessed is the man who sits not in the seat of scoffers! It speaks of those who are quarrelsome and who are licentious meaning they lack legal or moral restraints and are marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness! Praise Yah! That we are not fools, aměn, for we walk the set-apart way adhering to his instructions!

As we walk His path – the road that does not lead to Rome and the wickedness of man’s perversities, but rather leads us to His coming reign, we are assured that His path is protected. No lion is there. We know that the devil is ‘like’ a roaring lion seeking those he can devour, but as we walk on paths of righteousness we are kept safe from the dangers of temptation, evils and lusts. The temptations and lusts are there and when the violent enemy comes at us who are walking the Kings Way, must realise that we are to and can resist the devil as we walk the Kings way and the devil will flee – it is a sure promise, based upon our submission to His Way of set-apartness!
Kepha Aleph/ 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, watch, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the belief, knowing that the same hardships are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. We are all going through hardships – we must stand firm in the faith!!!
Yaʽaqoḇ/James 4:7 “So then subject yourselves to Elohim. Resist the devil and he shall flee from you.
There is safety in obedience walking the road less travelled – the Kings Way of set-apartness!

His way leads us home! Verse 10 speaks of the returning to Tsiyon with singing and joy. There is gladness and joy and sorrow and sighing will flee away! May we realise that there is an esteemed city that is coming at the end of the Way. In Revelation 21 & 22 we can read of the New Yerushalayim where there will be no more tears or mourning.
As we journey through this Wilderness of life, may we hold on to the hope we have in Messiah who will come and rule and reign with a rod of iron.
This is a message to keep walking and do not look for exits along the way – stay the course for the Kings way leads to home!!! It is a joyous way and the redeemed shall return with singing – that means that signing must start right here and now as we walk set-apart.

Along the way may we not be distracted by detours that the enemy tries to throw at us in his attempt to get us off the set-apart, righteous way. One of Yeshayahu’s favourite themes was the Highway way of set-apartness and gives the reassurance on many occasions that there will always be a Way for the remnant of YHWH’s people! We have been given that Way to walk in Yahushua Messiah and we better be found staying on this Way!!!

In a typical Highway we know that there are signs along the way to help us stay the course and so too may we heed the signs YHWH gives us through His Word, for in His Word there will be markers and signposts for us keeping us on course and protected from danger! In the theme of a highway or road, here are a few ‘sign posts’ that our Kings Highway has for us:
1 – Yield sign – We must constantly be aware of our need to yield to YHWH and His Word, allowing Him to direct our paths and we yield to His Authority, giving Him right of Way in our lives.
2 – Stop sign – We are to put a stop to sin and rebellion and stay off those particular roadways that lead to ‘Rome’ or destruction!
3 – Caution sign – YHWH’s Word will always caution us to refrain from walking after the flesh and this world and warn us to remain true to His path, even when there is no clarity ahead and we proceed with great caution, keeping our eyes fixed on Him.
4 – No passing sign – Do not get ahead of yourself and do not get ahead of YHWH’s timing! Let the Ruach lead you and do not be found wandering off on your own in your own strength only to find yourself aimlessly lost and asking “Where is YHWH!”
5 – Merging traffic sign – As we walk out our life, sojourning here, there will always be those who attempt to cut us off or slow us down in our walk with YHWH. They will often even seem to have the appearance of being on the same journey, yet their true destination is quickly revealed as they turn aside to go after the things of the world and traditions and doctrines of man. Be warned by this sign not to merge with other paths – stay on His Highway – remaining true to His call on your life staying in your lane running with perseverance the race He has set before you with great joy and gladness, not being merged, mixed or yoked with unbelievers!

His Highway is a clean way – there is no room for compromise or sin, and as we walk on His Highway we experience His:
Peace, Presence, Pleasure Protection and Provision.

The encouraging words here from Yeshayahu ought to encourage us to as it did back then as we know what is coming; the wilderness will become filled with great fruitfulness. Lebanon, Karmel and Sharon were 3 of the most beautiful places of the time and here Yeshayahu says that the wilderness will be even better than all of those three places together! And this is a call to live according to YHWH’s Covenant stipulations – strengthening the hands and knees to walk in set-apart living right here right now!

Yaʽaqoḇ/James 5:7-11 “So, brothers, be patient until the coming of the Master. See, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You too, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Master has drawn near. 9 Do not grumble against each other, brothers, lest you be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brothers, as an example of suffering and patience, take the prophets, who spoke in the Name of YHWH. 11 See, we call those blessed who endure. You have heard of the endurance of Iyoḇ and saw the purpose of YHWH, that He is very sympathetic and compassionate.

My encouragement to you tonight is that although the Way of set-apartness may get hard and tough and at times our strength may seem to fade – but there is no better way through this wilderness of life we are now in than to walk the King’s Way.
Are you walking the King’s Way or have you perhaps found yourself not heeding the signs on the road and have found yourself having taken a detour due to sin and lawlessness. All Roads lead to Rome the world says – and in the worlds ways, maybe that is true, but may I remind you that there is a road that does not lead to Rome – and that is the:
derek ha qodesh’ – The Way of Set-apartness!

Perhaps you, like Yehudah have found yourself in a state of despair and have been discouraged by circumstances, some that are beyond your control. Take heart and as the Word says, say to those with anxious heart, “Be strong, do not fear! See your Elohim comes with vengeance, with the recompense of Elohim. He is coming to save you!”
May He fully open our eyes to see and our ears to hear and our mouths to praise as the water of his Word gushes forth and streams of Living Water begin to flow out of the desert and parched places of your heart, because there is a way – His Way it is called ‘derek ha qodesh’ – The Way of Set-apartness!
Now walk the road that does not lead to Rome!

Monday, December 06, 2010


Melaḵim Bět/ 2 Kings 2

First of all welcome family; it is good to be together in the Name of Yahushua our Messiah, aměn! I am sure that many of you have had a very challenging week; at times it seems as though the days just fly by and before you know it the week is almost up. Well we are here to embrace the joy and wonder of our Maker and King and come and enjoy His Sabbath made for us to enter in to His rest, that we may be strengthened to continue in our faithful walk in Him. Life’s a journey – enjoy the ride – a very popular slogan also used by a well-known car manufacturer, but let me ask you – how many of you actually enjoy ‘the ride’ so to speak? Or in essence are you on the right ride? Often this slogan can be loosely used to signify being careless and being able to do what you want as “it doesn’t matter anyway” kind of mentality, yet this journey we are on in life does matter, in fact it matters a whole lot, and the only way to walk in the fullness of this journey we find ourselves on is to walk in total submission and obedience to the Torah and instructions of YHWH, walking fully in Yahushua as we walk as He walked – and as we all know very well – it is not always an easy path, a path few choose to take. As we look tonight at the transition of ministry that takes place between Ěliyahu and Elisha, I have a message called, ‘Life’s journey – taking the road less travelled!” Please turn with me to Melaḵim Bět/ 2 Kings 2. (Read)

This is such an exciting chapter that carries such great insight and teaching for us, from which we will glean some of these lessons contained in these verses as we look at the life of Elisha.
In summary of these events we can see that both Ěliyahu and Elisha depart from a place called Gilgal on toward Bĕyth Ěl (Bethel), and Elisha had learned (perhaps from Ěliyahu himself) that this would be Ěliyahu’s last day or journey here on earth and was so determined to be with his father in the faith till the very end and so he refused the suggestion by Ěliyahu to remain at Gilgal. As one understands from history, it was often the case that a dying person would pronounce blessings upon others, and it is clear that Elisha was not going to miss out on the very opportunity in receiving a blessing of YHWH from Ěliyahu for his life and ministry that was ahead of him.
At Bĕyth Ěl there was a school of prophets who also had the knowledge of Ěliyahu’s imminent departure that was about to take place by YHWH and they told Elisha to which he plainly responded that he also knew and asked them to be silent about it – perhaps so as to not draw a crowd or also in a sense saying that he doesn’t want any more sorrow added to him over the coming departure of his spiritual father and mentor in the faith. He was basically saying, “Ok I know so stop reminding me!”
This day Elisha was tested once again by Ěliyahu in his commitment to continue in walking with him by suggesting he stay at Bĕyth Ěl instead of going with Ěliyahu on to Yeriḥo (Jericho). Having been tested twice now, Elisha remained steadfast in his commitment to staying with and following Ěliyahu, showing great zeal by refusing to leave Ěliyahu. Once again there was another school of prophets at Yeriḥo who gave Elisha the same info the gave him at Bĕyth Ěl to which he responded in the same way he did to the previous group, showing his commitment to not changing his mind, even while many were telling him of the soon to be tragic loss of Ěliyahu!
Another test for Elisha – the third in one day! Ěliyahu once again suggested that he remain at Yeriḥo to which he refused again and in a sense was showing his zeal in refusing to put his own comfort ahead of the blessing of walking with Ěliyahu all the way and with the hope of receiving a great blessing from YHWH! So they both headed for the Yarděn (Jordan).
When they arrived at the Yarděn, 50 men of the sons of the prophets (students of prophets – prophets in training) stood at a distance and watched, knowing that Ěliyahu was about to depart, to see what would happen. It is an interesting picture here in that the same is seen today – many are aware of what lies ahead yet they are standing at a distance to see what is going on yet will not come to the point of dying to self and walking in total obedience – a picture of those who will always comment from the side-lines yet never have the courage to get on the playing field and give their all for their team, they are always the ones who will criticise every move yet never actually apply the very faith they are called to!
At the bank of the Yarděn, Ěliyahu rolled up his cloak, which is the Hebrew word ‘addereth’ which is also translated as mantle, mantle carrying the meaning of a cloak, outer garment, and esteem or can also be a figurative cloak that symbolised pre-eminence and authority, that is the accepted mantle of authority. Ěliyahu’s outer garment was his symbol of authority with which he took off to strike the water – using it as a symbol of YHWH’s power that had been placed upon Him by YHWH. A prophet’s cloak symbolised his authority under YHWH with which YHWH had clothed and empowered him.
The water dried up and the 2 of them crossed on dry land just as the Yisra’ĕlites had done through the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea) and the Yarděn hundreds of years before and this very event was a symbol of one of the similarities between the ministries of Moshe (Moses) and Ěliyahu. Moshe was a prophet who led Yisra’ĕl to Mount Sinai to receive the marriage contract – the Torah in writing as a covenant. Ěliyahu was a prophet who would call the adulterated Bride to repentance and back to the Torah!
At this miraculous event Elisha was quickly reminded that the same Elohim with the same power that brought Yisra’ĕl out of Mitsrayim was alive and active in Yisra’ĕl!!! May we today too be reminded that the same Elohim with the same power is still very alive and active in Yisra’ĕl, aměn!
Elisha having travelled with Ěliyahu and having been tested 3 times and enduring through these tests, having ‘crossed over’ the Yarděn is now asked by Ěliyahu what he could do for Elisha before he would be taken from him. And here Elisha request a double portion of his spirit, in effect the assumption is made that he is asking for the rite of the firstborn, as it would be that the firstborn would receive a double portion of the inheritance from their father. But here Elisha was in a sense Ěliyahu’s only son, so how could he receive double of all the Ěliyahu had to give? What he was asking for was difficult and not for Ěliyahu to be able to give – it was only YHWH who could grant such a request! Elisha was asking to be Ěliyahu’s successor who could be privileged in carrying on the ministry of Ěliyahu under YHWH! Ěliyahu was correct in saying it is a difficult thing as it is not man who calls man into positions of spiritual authority – it is YHWH! And we know from these events recorded here as well as many other examples in Scripture that before YHWH appoints a man He first tests the man – and Elisha had certainly been tested this day in His journey with Ěliyahu.
The sign of him receiving his request would be that he would be able to see Ěliyahu being taken away from him. This of course was not a condition to receive what he asked for but rather the evidence that he would receive what head asked for.
All of a sudden while they were talking, a chariot of fire with horses of fire came and separated the two of them and Ěliyahu was taken up in a whirlwind into the heavens. Can you imagine this awesome event? There was great anticipation I am sure but when this happened and Elisha got to see it happen!!! The whirlwind is a picture of the very presence of YHWH that led Yisra’ĕl through the Wilderness and the very fire that had come done and passed through the animals in the covenant being made with Aḇraham. The fiery horses and chariots were symbols of YHWH’s supreme authority and power in battle – He is YHWH, YHWH of Hosts – the commander of the Heavenly Host! In those days chariots and horses were the highest means of warfare and YHWH was revealing unto Elisha that His power and might is superior and far greater than any military might. It was this very power that Elisha had seen demonstrated in the ministry of Ěliyahu and to which Elisha had valued and esteemed so highly:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 31:1 “Woe to those who go down to Mitsrayim for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Set-apart One of Yisra’ĕl, nor seek YHWH!
Elisha knew where his help comes from!!! Can you picture this event in your minds – Ěliyahu is taken in the whirlwind, possibly with bolts of thunder and flashes of lightning, with a whole host of heavenly forces and Elisha gets to see all this and he cries out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Yisra’ĕl and its horsemen!”, and by this statement it shows that he regarded Ěliyahu as a powerful instrument whom YHWH had used to wage war against the idolatry in Yisra’ĕl and that Ěliyahu had been his predecessor in calling people back to YHWH – back to His Torah, which now Elisha would begin to do empowered by the Ruach of YHWH of Hosts! Elisha tore his clothes in mourning the great loss of a mighty warrior but now the mantle had been passed to Him and he would wear the cloak of Ěliyahu and would serve with the authority and power it symbolised!
As we think on this events as a ‘foreshadow’ of our Messiah and we see how He has clothed us from on High with great authority in His Name, we must recognise the wonder, privilege and responsibility of walking in His anointed and called authority and purpose in our lives! When Yahushua was too taken up into the clouds while His Talmidim (disciples) looked on and after 10 days at Shavuot the Ruach was poured out as they were praying in the Temple – as the very fire of YHWH descended upon them and they went out in great power of the Ruach in the Name of Yahushua, so too this event pictures or foreshadows this and shows us today that we who are called and are willing to go the whole way with our Saviour can and must walk under the anointing and power, under the mantle of righteousness in Yahushua Messiah.
Elisha now began his journey back – and so he too took the cloak and struck the Yarděn, and now ‘pumped’ and equipped in great faith Elisha shouted out, “where is YHWH Elohim of Ěliyahu?’ and the Yarděn parted! When the sons of the prophets who were watching from a distance saw this they declared that the spirit of Ěliyahu now rested on Elisha and so witnessed this magnificent transferral of anointing by YHWH. Ěliyahu means “Yah is El” or “Elohim is Yahweh” and Elisha means “El is salvation” or “Saviour is Elohim”.
Elisha’s desire was certainly to serve YHWH and not his own comfort and flesh – he desired to walk in the spirit and we now that Sha’ul (Paul) tells us that if we are not to walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
As we think on the power and authority that Elisha went in we see a significant truth in what was recorded – according to what was recorded he seemingly performed twice the amount of miracles than Ěliyahu - the emphasis was not on being better and doing more but rather walking in the authority of his teacher and becoming like him honouring him by the continuation of the work that had begun. We know that Yahushua tells us that His talmidim in
Yoḥanan/John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he shall do also. And greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father.
Ěliyahu went to the father and so Elisha would not only get to do what Ěliyahu had done but even greater things – showing the greatness of the Power of YHWH being given to those who will but believe and walk in that believe obediently!
From the accounts mentioned here, I am intrigued by the picture of our journey we walk daily in Yahushua and how the 4 different places mentioned in this account of the travels of Ěliyahu and Elisha together carries great significance for us today as we assess our walk of obedience unto our Father.
I would like to briefly look at these four towns or cities and see what each one represents for us,
We see in verse 1 that this is where they went from. Gilgal in Scripture was very significant in its picture of new beginnings. This was the very place where upon entering in to the Promised Land all the males were circumcised and the Covenant was renewed which you can read of in Yehoshua (Joshua) 5. It was the place where they celebrated their first Pesaḥ (Passover). It was the first site of the Yisra’ĕlite camp west of the Yarděn and east of Yeriḥo. It was a dwelling place of prophets and the name means ‘wheel’ or ‘to roll’ as YHWH had rolled away the reproach of Mitsrayim from Yisra’ĕl!
This means the House of Elohim. This is where Yaʽaqoḇ (Jacob) had stopped and slept for the night and dreamt of a ladder from earth to heaven and saw messengers of Elohim ascending and descending on it, and where YHWH gave him the promise of this land for him and his seed. When he awoke he realised what had happened and called what was formerly Luz, Bĕyth Ěl and set up a stone as a standing column for Elohim’s house – a wonderful picture of Yahushua the Chief Cornerstone.
This was the first city they encountered and defeated after crossing the Yarděn – the very first victory in the Promised Land. This was a border town and to go beyond this was seen as going in to wild new territory.
The Yarděn River represented the boundary to the Promised Land and to pass over it meant to enter in to death and its name is significant of this as it means ‘descender’ as this river would descend down for a distance of around 320km toward the Dead Sea

Ok so now we have these four places of great interest to the application of the lessons from this chapter, but what are they? Well I believe that they can represent for us various key moments in our lives where we either choose to remain at or move on to greater things growing in obedience by faith.

Gilgal – new beginnings – we all start somewhere and yes we have all had ‘new beginnings’, especially in regards to our walk with Yahushua – coming out of Mitsrayim and Babylon etc. Some people though never leave their Gilgal and end up spending their entire lives at their Gilgal, the place where their journey began and has never gone any further, unable to ‘grow’ past this place of beginnings. You see there is a temptation to remain here as it is easy, yet you never grow and all you do is drink the milk and never move on to the meat of the Word staying baby believer’s all lifelong!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 6:1-6 “Therefore, having left the word of the beginning of the Messiah, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of belief toward Elohim, 2 of the teaching of immersions, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of everlasting judgment. 3 And this we shall do, if Elohim indeed permits. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Set-apart Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good Word of Elohim and the powers of the age to come, 6 and fall away, to renew them again to repentance – having impaled for themselves the Son of Elohim again, and put Him to open shame.

There is a danger of not leaving your Gilgal – and that is to end up falling away being unable to be renewed to repentance.
Those who are dull of hearing – that is stubborn to hearing the Truth and walking in the fullness of it never move on to the meat of the Word, to their own detriment!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 5:12 “For indeed, although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first elements of the Words of Elohim. And you have become such as need milk and not solid food.
There are many today, who by now ought to have been teachers yet they have never left Gilgal so to speak and need milk all over again!
Bĕyth Ěl – place of dreams – Some leave Gilgal and so begin to step out in faith but get stuck at Bĕyth Ěl. What do I mean by this as there is certainly nothing wrong with the House of Elohim – for we would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of Elohim than the highest position the world could offer! What I mean here is that from understanding our journey of faith (a very narrow road), we find that many will catch the vision so to speak of what is to be done and they see the needs and feel the urging of the Ruach drawing them to so much more, yet never leave the place of dreaming about what they might do for YHWH one day! They sadly remain there and never step out and do what HE has called them to do and so in essence remain asleep – for a vision to become a reality one needs to ‘wake up’! Yaʽaqoḇ had to move on, Elisha was tempted to remain here, yet pressed on the road less travelled. Walking out the call of YHWH on your life is a lonely road, one that many struggle to do and so stay in the dream and never take another step of faith!
Yeriḥo – past victories – Some do venture on and wake up from there slumber until they get to Yeriḥo and stop as they reminisce on the ‘good old days’ and victories of the past that they lose sight of what lies ahead! There was a saying long time ago of those who fled from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as being known as ‘when we’s” as all they could do was talk about what had been and how successful the past was as they wallowed in the struggles of the present.
It is easy when going through tough times to quickly think back and try to turn a blind eye to the present and the faith required to move on and get stuck in the yesterday victories. Looking back at victories is certainly not wrong as it reminds us of whom we serve and He is YHWH of Hosts, but often people get stuck in their yesterday’s and soon forget that the same Elohim who blessed them back then and delivered them back them is the same Elohim who desires to do the same today – to bless and deliver them. Yeriḥo also represented not only victories but also defeats, as just as Yeriḥo was the first victory in the Promised Land and certainly not the last, the very next battle – the battle against Ai they were defeated due to sin in the camp - Aḵan had taken that which was not allowed from Yeriḥo which resulted in a defeat of a nation in battle and losing 36 men as well as Aḵan and his family and his livestock being stoned. The next battle was victorious, so what we can see from Yeriḥo is that obedience will bring the victory and disobedience will bring defeat. You cannot rely on past victories to keep you victorious; walking in obedience will keep you victorious! So some have come this far in their journey and are stuck on how obedient they were in the past and have since wandered from the Truth, thinking that once saved always saved is the answer and it is not! Each one must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling – living in the past will keep you from moving forward in faith – yesterday’s faith is no good for today – fresh new faith as given through the fresh Bread of His Word daily will keep you walking in victory
Yarděn – place of death – there are few who come to this part of their journey in Yahushua – we know that the 70 who did great things and marvelled at the authority they had in the Name of Yahushua, yet when asked to eat of His flesh and drink of His Blood they turned away and only his 12 stood there willing to go on. The Yarděn represents the barrier between self-life and the spirit life, between dying to self and living to Messiah or simply living for self! This is the barrier between flesh and spirit – a place where very few truly find themselves having counted the cost, dying to self and going all the way with Elohim.
Elisha didn’t remain at a distance; he went through the Yarděn, while 50 sons of prophets – prophets in training stood at a distance. Elisha alone, as a son of a prophet too, had the faith to cross over and go with Ěliyahu and so received a double portion!
As we look at this magnificent journey we must learn that we must not allow the opportunities to faithfully walk in the full obedience to Yahushua to ‘settle down’ and become as dead along the way and so find our progress being hindered. But rather by faith in His Word we must press on and proceed in Him and watch as He the Elohim of Hosts removes those barriers from before our eyes!
Elisha stood steadfast in His commitment to walking in and following in the footsteps of his father Ěliyahu – 3 times he was tempted to pack it in and resolved not to stay behind. What stood as a barrier to receiving that which he desired – the Yarděn was no obstacle to his faith! And so we too must realise that obstacles will hit our path, those things that YHWH has permitted along the journey in order to test and mature us, and we can be steadfast in knowing as Sha’ul says in Romiyim/Romans 8:28 – YHWH works it all out for our good – we who are called according to His purpose!

As Elisha took his journey back he went back across the Yarděn doing what his father had done in striking the water and seeing it part, and went back to Yeriḥo and Bĕyth Ěl, all testimonies to the power of YHWH now operating in his life by faith, yet interestingly enough he did not go back to Gilgal on this trip, he went on to Mount Karmel and then to Shomeron. He didn’t go back to the beginning; he walked on in faith and remained committed to growing in the call on His life. He who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom – Elisha was not only fit but faithfully fit for service.

Where are you at today? Have you taken the road least travelled – or have you found yourself having begun on this road yet found yourself stopping along the way at becoming stuck at one of these destinations? Life’s journey in YHWH calls for faithful endurance on the part of the set-apart ones. And I believe that many today still need to understand just what set-apart means – being totally set-apart is a road less travelled – will you commit today to walk the walk and talk the talk of our Master Yahushua? Have you perhaps found yourself at one of these destinations – Gilgal – just have never moved on to maturity out of fear – or Bĕyth Ěl – you are still dreaming about what you want to do but have not woken up to His Truth – or Yeriḥo – living and relying on the past, yet failing in the present – or have you come to the Yarděn and died to self – this is a daily call. Yahushua has clothed us in righteousness and we need to walk in that – walking daily in faith in steadfast obedience to His commands, even when everyone else is not.

Will you resolve not to stay in the milk, or in the dreams or in the past but move on up and become a daily living sacrifice equipped with power form on high to go on and do all He has prepared in advance for you to do. This is a call to keep walking in life’s journey taking the road less travelled!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010



Praise our Wonderful and Mighty Maker – YHWH our Elohim, we are to praise His Name, and our ability to truly praise Him and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, despite the circumstances we find ourselves in, becomes greater the more we walk in and trust in His Word. Shabbat Shalom everyone, blessed be YHWH our Elohim who has given us His Shabbat! This week I was intrigued by a passage in Yeḥezqĕl and the more I meditated on it, the more I saw this is for us living today as much as it was for Yisra’ĕl back then. We are entering in to a season that is a much worshipped and served pagan festival, yes we all know what I am talking about – Christmas. A very pagan feast that has sadly been adopted by many well-meaning confessed followers of the Saviour. This is nothing other than a pure abomination unto YHWH and should be to us too. The sin that is so prevalent in our time – in worshipping false deities must come to an end – at least for those who claim to be followers of Messiah. Yeḥezqĕl was a watchmen for Yisra’ĕl and he continually warned them of coming judgement that would come upon the land – the whole land that is where none would be able to escape. In two messages that Yeḥezqĕl delivered unto Yisra’ĕl, we see that YHWH was the source of these messages given in chapters 6 & 7 as they both began with, “And the word of YHWH came to me, saying.” The first message was on Yisra’ĕl’s idolatry and the cause for judgement and the second, in chapter 7, depicted the nature of the judgement. It is chapter 7 that I want us to look at tonight in a message entitled, “A lesson on sin”. What jumped out at me while reading this was the repetition of YHWH repaying for their abominations, abominations that were in their midst – in other words – sin that was still very much alive and active! Turn with me to Yeḥezqĕl 7 and let us look at this very stern message of YHWH spoken through His prophet. (Read)

Yeḥezqĕl‘s message was that the end had come on the four corners of the land. He used the word ‘end’ five times, at the beginning of this message. The events about to unfold on Yisra’ĕl would bring a new revelation of YHWH’s character; the people would realize that YHWH, being righteous, punishes sin. YHWH vowed to unleash His anger against Yisra’ĕl without pity. He would judge her according to her conduct and repay her for her detestable practices. These judgments were repeated for emphasis. Then she would know that He is YHWH, a clause that appears again at the end of this message.
So what is this passage all about? Well, we know that YHWH hates sin and that there will come a day where he will judge all according to their works. This is an eschatological message, speaking of the day of YHWH – it is at hand. And it was a warning to Yisra’ĕl to turn from their wickedness or else… as we have just read what would happen!
We know from the messages Yeḥezqĕl gave to Yisra’ĕl that the sin that caused the judgment of YHWH was:
1 – Idolatry – at which he called the people to account for their disgusting behaviour – they had set up sun-pillars, were worshipping false idols and had high places of worship and slaughter-places unto pagan deities. Sounds the same today, especially as we see the pagan feast of Christmas, also known as saturnalia approaching! Mixing worship is an abomination to YHWH.
2 – Greed – the love of money made them stumble in sin.
3 – Bloodshed – the land was filled with crimes of bloodshed and violence.
4 – Pride – YHWH was going to break down their pride and destroy their set-apart places of adulterous worship!
The severity of this impending judgment would be:
1 – Continuous disaster and calamity – there would be terror after terror with no one to guide – they would seek peace yet not find any.
2 – Without YHWH’s pity
3 – Death by plagues in the city and by sword outside the city.
The words here in Yeḥezqĕl can be very alarming and should be, as the message is very clear regarding YHWH’s view on sin and idolatry – He will not tolerate it and the day is coming when He will repay according to the abominations that are in the midst of His people.
I would like us to look at sin, which as we know is the Hebrew word “ḥa-ta”  and means to miss the mark. What mark? The Torah! Torah in its root meaning carries the understanding of aiming in the right direction and moving in that direction. How do we aim – we fix our eyes on the author and Prince or Perfector of our faith – Yahushua Messiah – the Living Torah! So if we are not looking intently in to the Torah of YHWH and moving in that direction, where are we looking and moving to? Well you would be missing the mark and so be in ‘sin’. This chapter shows us a lot of lessons regarding sin, lessons that ought to help us adjust our focus on to the right mark – His Torah!
Galatiyim/Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be led astray: Elohim is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap. 8 Because he who sows to his own flesh shall reap corruption from the flesh, but he who sows to the Spirit shall reap everlasting life from the Spirit.

May we be found to be a people who sow to the Spirit – and we know that as Sha’ul tells us that the Torah is spiritual – that we may reap everlasting life from the Spirit!
As we look at this chapter we can certainly see the result of sowing to the flesh – the results of sin, so let us briefly take a closer look at sin as we find the inescapable truth that we find woven through this chapter and that is YHWH’s judgment is a result of sin -Sow righteousness and reap mercy, sow sin and reap judgment.
Yisra’ĕl were about to bring in a bumper crop of judgment, at the end of which they would acknowledge that YHWH is Elohim and there is none besides Him. What we can learn from these words is clear – get under grace – that is receiving his free gift and sow righteousness – that is to guard to do all His commands, for we do not want to reap the crop that sin grows! Let us look at 6 aspects of sin here in Yeḥezqĕl 7:

Micah had spoken about a hundred years earlier that YHWH would destroy the entire nation, yet because of His great mercy he had withheld judgment until NOW! YHWH has His appointed times – He has a day appointed for judgment. We know that YHWH is longsuffering with us – He put up with our sin since the Garden and has done everything necessary to save us from the consequences of our sin – giving us His Word in the flesh, yet His appointed time is drawing near. As in the days of Noaḥ - it is YHWH who shut the door and sealed it – so too will it be Him who ‘closes the door’ so to speak before He pours out His judgment and all who are not ‘in the boat’ will suffer the result of judgment of sin!
Sha’ul in Romiyim/Romans 1:18-32 makes it clear that those who continually refuse to accept the grace of Elohim will eventually cross a line of no return - a point at which they have given themselves so wholly over to sin that YHWH gives them over to it and the judgment that it brings.
Pharaoh first hardened his heart and then YHWH hardened his heart! As long as we have breath, may we praise our Elohim!

2 – WAGES OF SIN (v5-9)
It is interesting to note the repetition of the word repay is used four times here in regards to their sin. Listen I know there are a lot of things we would like repayment for but sin is not one of them! In Romiyim/Romans 6:23 Sha’ul reminds us that ‘the wages of sin are death, but the favourable gift of Elohim is everlasting life in Messiah Yahushua our Master’.
The point is this, disobedience in whatever form – be it a wrong thought, motive or every ungodly word spoken earns itself a wage – death and judgement. There are some today who are six figure sinners and have earned a whole lot of death. A price we could never pay – but thanks be to Yahushua who became our sacrifice and paid the price for our sin and given us access to His unlimited grace which teaches us to say no to sin and yes to His Torah. YHWH’s judgment on Yisra’ĕl here is a sober wake-up call that sin increases our spiritual debt and if not dealt with can bring about a very bitter ‘pay-day’!
The only way to avoid YHWH’s repayment of our sin debt is to have our debt cancelled by the Blood of Yahushua, aměn!
The choice is clear – either choose to walk in His favour and sow righteousness through obedient living according to His Torah or sow sin and reap its wages!!!

3 – HARVEST OF SIN (v10-13)
Here in verse 10 YHWH uses an interesting picture of a budding rod of pride. The budding rod is certainly a picture Yisra’ĕl would understand and know! Remember Aharon’s rod – when there had been a rebellion among the people who thought that they should have a share of the ministry of the priesthood. YHWH judged Qoraḥ and his followers and set up a unique demonstration to show which people YHWH had chosen to serve as priests. Each tribe placed a rod in the Tabernacle and the miracle of Aharon’s budding rod demonstrated YHWH’s selection. Now in view of that understanding, to which Yisra’ĕl was very familiar, here in verse 10 we see that YHWH has selected Yisra’ĕl, not for service unto Him but for judgment!
We must recognise that the harvest is coming. There are two harvests – the good kind and the bad kind. Yoḥanan (John) 4 speaks of a harvest that is ripe now of those souls, whom YHWH has called, for which we may not have laboured yet we can go out and reap. Ḥazon (Revelation) 14 speaks of the harvest of the wicked who will be put into the winepress of the wrath of Elohim. As we know in farming, harvest time is dictated by the ripeness of the fruit, and one thing is sure the fruit of sin and rebellion against YHWH is very ripe. Our prayer should be that before that harvest comes that YHWH would grant us more of the harvest of salvation of souls for righteousness.
What you sow you shall reap; may we not be found sowing to the flesh and reap corruption but rather sowing righteousness and be secure in our faithful endurance of everlasting life.

4 – WEAKNESS OF SIN (v14-17)
A severe consequence of sin is that it weakens the sinner in their ability to stand against the enemy, and will cause you to fall before your enemies! In verse 14 it says the trumpet call for battle has gone out, but no one goes out to battle – why? Because their sin had weakened them and they had no strength whatsoever to fight. How many of you have found this true in your life that when you are not walking wholeheartedly in His will, in other words you are in sin, that you just cannot muster up the strength to fight the very sin that is weakening your ability to stand in Truth?
You see the reality of Yisra’ĕl’s strength was not in their great numbers or in their military power, or even in their leaders – it was in their ability to walk in obedience to YHWH’ instructions! Walking in right relationship with YHWH strengthens you for the battles of this life, yet sin weakens!!!
In Wayyiqra/Leviticus 26:7-8 we see the promise of victorious results through faithful obedience:
And you shall pursue your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. 8 ‘And five of you shall pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you pursue ten thousand. And your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.
Gideon and his 300 men against 150 000 is a testimony to this truth! Yet here Yeḥezqĕl is predicting that Yisra’ĕl would, as a result of their sin, find themselves weak and so would see a fulfilment of YHWH’s Word in the event of disobedience:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 26:17 “And I shall set My face against you, and you shall be smitten before your enemies. And those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.
What is the Word showing us here? The answer is simple – sin weakens you for battle and you will not be able to stand, however walking in His Torah will cause you to stand, stand and continue to stand dressed in the full armour of His Word, able to endure the battles that rage against you in the spirit! We see in verse 17 that he says that all hands go limp and all knees become as water! In Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:12-13 we are told to strengthen the hands that hang down and the weak knees and make straight paths for your feet – that is to walk in the Torah and do the good works of Torah that He has prepared in advance for us to do – do not be found weakened by lawlessness or sin!

5 – SHAME OF SIN (v18-23)
Sin brings shame, for we know as Dawiḏ says that our sin is forever before Him. Yisra’ĕl would recognise their weakness and shame would be on every face and they would shave their heads. They would put on sackcloth, which was a course cloth woven form long goat or camel hair and its dark colour rendered it appropriate for serious somber occasions, and to put on sackcloth was a sign of grief and mourning and repentance.
Yaʽaqoḇ/James 4:8-10 “Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded! 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Master, and He shall lift you up.
When the shame of sin hits home the result must be one of repentance and not merely being sorry because you got caught, but rather a true turning away from sin. Too many people today are ‘laughing’ at their sin or rather their ‘lawlessness’ and take lightly the wickedness of their ways! There are so many who profess to ‘know’ Yahushua yet they are not keeping His Torah – they have brought His Name to naught and replaced it with pagan deity titles and incorrectly translated names that speak not of our Saviour but rather of false pagan deities. The Sabbath is not being kept by the ‘masses’ who claim they ‘know’ Him – in other words I see a picture here of the ‘church’ as we know it today are by their ‘lawless’ actions ‘laughing’ at their sin and have not seen the shame of their sin.
Here, in Yeḥezqĕl 7, we see what the result would be from their shame and disgrace of their disobedience and lawlessness. They would ‘throw out’ their silver in the streets and their gold become ‘as filth’! The idea here is that they would recognise that they had allowed materialism or rather the worries of this life (you know the ‘I got to have’ pressure) and the deceitfulness of wealth to become sin in their lives, and so would throw it out realising that those things cannot save them on the day of YHWH’s wrath. They would realise that the very wealth that they had pursued could not provide them security from their enemies, nor bring satisfaction in life nor buy food in the famine. And so throwing it in the streets they were recognising its lack of true value.
This is a picture for us to ‘throw out’ the old life – throw out that which does not truly satisfy, but only steals away your obedience to YHWH! What things do you value so much that actually has become a stumbling block or sin in your life? By that I mean what has such value to you that it steals away your time and obedience unto YHWH? Have you found that because of those things your ability to endure battles is almost non-existent? You see until you see the shame of it – you will not throw it out, and it may continue to weaken you, emotionally, spiritually and physically!

Sin not dealt with will only lead to desolation and destruction! YHWH said that their enemies would possess their houses and their pride would cease and their set-apart places be profaned. They would seek peace yet find none! They would seek a Word from YHWH and find none! And a result of this entire calamity would be that they would know who YHWH is!
Now I do not know about you but I want to know who YHWH is through obedient living, not through calamity and destruction because of disobedient living! Sin leads to destruction and we are to have no part in it.

When Yeḥezqĕl speaks saying 5 times the end has come, may we realise that there is an end that should come now, and that is:
1 – An end to our sin
2 – An end to indecision – how long will you waver between two opinions?
3 – An end to the gloom of doubt and half-hearted service! The night is far spent and the day is at hand, so wake up o sleeper!

Hear these words from Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John:
1:7-10 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, (we can ‘fellowship with one another as we walk in the Light – as we walk in Torah we can be in unity and able to truly fellowship – it is His Torah that unites us in fellowship as a body in Him!) And the blood of Yahushua Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin (a progression if walking in the Torah and in fellowship is the ability for His Torah to teach and guide us and cleanse us from lawlessness). If we say that we have no sin, we are misleading ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us the sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.

2:1-2 “My little children, I write this to you, so that you do not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Intercessor with the Father, Yahushua Messiah, a righteous One. And He Himself is an atoning offering for our sins, and not for ours only but also for all the world.

2:12 “I write to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His Name.” (We have been forgiven on account of His Name - His Name declares His Work - Yahushua - Yahweh is our Salvation - there is no other name which saves - not Jesus or any other - only the Name of YHWH - Yahushua our Messiah, and on account of His Name we are forgiven!)

3:4-6 “Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Everyone staying in Him does not sin. Everyone sinning has neither seen Him nor known Him.(Yahushua is the Living Torah – if we are in Him then we are not in lawlessness or sin! If we are walking in sin ((that is apart from His Torah)), we are then not ‘staying’ in Him – I spoke a message last week on ‘staying in Him’)

3:8-9 “The one doing sin is of the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of Elohim was manifested: to destroy the works of the devil. Everyone having been born of Elohim does not sin, because His seed stays in him, and he is powerless to sin, because he has been born of Elohim.

4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved Elohim, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be an atoning offering for our sins.

5:18 “We know that everyone having been born of Elohim does not sin,1 but the one having been born of Elohim guards himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.

We know that the righteous Torah of Elohim is eternal and will never end, and His Love is eternal and there is no end to His grace – for His loving-kindness endures forever! We also know that there is a day of judgement of YHWH. May we receive His favour (grace) with great joy, not as a licence to sin or walk torahless, but to walk in obedience!
We know that this word speaks clear today – a call to righteous living. The role of the prophet was to lead people back to Torah, and if they would not listen then they were told what their end would be. May we take this message of Yeḥezqĕl to heart and make sure that we are done with sin!

We all reap a harvest – what kind of crop do you want to bring in? Will you sow righteousness and fully walk in His ways, throwing out that which is not pleasing to Him, or will you sow to your own flesh reaping the corruption of the flesh. This chapter 7 in Yeḥezqĕl is a lesson in sin, a lesson we all need to heed and take careful note of and may we truly walk in the fullness of His righteousness and so guard ourselves that the wicked one will not touch us. Realise that on account of His Wonderful Name, our sins have been forgiven and let us therefore be strengthened to stand, enduring faithfully through every battle that lies ahead. Let the ‘end’ that we hear here be the end of unrighteousness, that we may bear much fruit – fruit that will last.

YHWH bless you and guard you, YHWH make His face shine on you and give you favour, YHWH lift up His face to you and give you peace!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holding on to Joy

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 4:12-19

Shabbat Shalom everyone, Praise our Wonderful Creator, YHWH our Elohim that we can be together and rejoice in Him. Joy… what is joy? Joy can be described as a positive human condition that can be either feeling or action. The Scriptures uses joy in both senses – as a feeling, joy is brought forth by well-being, success or good fortune in which a person automatically experiences joy because of favourable circumstances. This responsive joy cannot be commanded, as when the shepherd would find his lost sheep, or how the multitude felt when Yahushua healed a woman bound by Satan for many years. The believers in Antioch were also filled with joy when they heard the response from the Yerushalayim council that they did not have to be circumcised to keep the commands of YHWH. However joy is not only a condition based on a feeling, but also as a result of an action. An action is an active response to the will or choice that a person makes. Our actions are based on our choices; our act or action of faith in Messiah is based on our choice to obey His commands. Now, there is a joy that Scripture commands! That joy is action that can be engaged in regardless of how the person feels. Yahushua instructed His disciples to rejoice when they were persecuted, reviled, and slandered (Mt 5:11–12). Sha’ul (Paul) commanded continuous rejoicing (Phil 4:4; 1 Thes 5:16). Yaʽaqoḇ (James) said that believers are to reckon it all joy when they fall into various trials because such trials produce endurance (Jas 1:2). Joy in adverse circumstances is possible only as a fruit of the Ruach HaQodesh being present in our lives. Today I want is to talk about holding on to joy, and that is my message for tonight, “Holding on to joy!
How many of you have truly been struggling or have struggled to really be joy-filled? How many of you have in the face of persecution and suffering lost your joy? What often happens when a believer goes through trials of many kinds, joy gets quickly ‘chucked out the window’ and the ability to actively respond to a circumstance with joy just seems to not be an option readily available, and we, as believers in Messiah, need to learn to heed the Scriptures command to rejoice – and to ‘rejoice’ means to be full of joy, be glad or to possess joy. Often when circumstances are rough and persecution is coming at us, especially from people we did not expect, we can so easily be caught in drawing away from Elohim, and find that our attitude toward Him has diminished and lost its joy. As children of the Most High we are called to excel in our attitude toward Elohim in our suffering.
How is your attitude in suffering? More specifically how is your attitude toward Elohim in your suffering? Because your attitude toward Him with determine your attitude toward others! Yahushua Himself told us that we will face some tough stuff and be persecuted for His name’s sake – so we know that we are in for some pretty hard times – the question is “are we truly equipped to handle them?” In the first century, the believers under the persecution of Emperor Nero faced immense persecution and suffering for the sake of the Name of Yahushua! Nero was a very cruel ruler who persecuted the believers in unimaginable ways. He had some sewed up in skins of wild beasts, and then attacked by dogs until they expired; and others he ‘dressed’ in shirts made stiff with wax, fixed to axletrees, and set on fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate them for show. This persecution grew and grew and yet did not diminish the fervent spirit of the early believer’s. Sha’ul and Kěpha were both martyred in the first century under this intense period of persecution, and it was either during this time or in anticipation of what was to come that Kěpha wrote his first letter to the believers in the Roman Empire. If his work was given a title it may have been something like, “The believer’s behaviour in a hostile world”. There are more references to suffering in this epistle than any other letter in the Messianic writings (N.T.).
What Kěpha seeks to show us is that suffering is the inevitable lot of those who serve and follow Yahushua. Not only will we suffer the many problems common to humanity, we will also suffer unique problems because of our faith in Yahushua Messiah. What is your attitude when you have to suffer for Messiah's sake? If you were to be ridiculed for being a follower of Messiah, or left out of someone's plans, or lost association, or perhaps even were discriminated against on the job how would you view this? What if we had to face governmental persecution for our faith? How would we handle it?
I believe that just as it was back then so too are these kinds of persecutions going to increase in these last days toward the True believers. In his letter, Kěpha tells us how to live in a hostile world, and how our attitude should be toward our persecutors, as well as toward each other. Today I want us to look at his instructions for us regarding our attitude and response toward Elohim when we suffer. Please turn with me to Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 4:12-19 (read).

As we know from the Scriptures, we are in for some tough times in the end of days, as we need to be prepared to be well equipped in our ability to rejoice for the sake of His Name and the persecution that comes with it. A faith that is not tested cannot be trusted and so as we look forward with great joy to the return of our Messiah, it is of critical importance that we understand the need to daily make the choice to rejoice and hold on to the joy of our salvation. I want to share with you from this passage 5 facts to keep in mind as they pertain to rejoicing while suffering for his Name’s sake, or rather 5 reasons why I can rejoice in the midst of suffering and persecution:
Do not be surprised! All too often I think when we go through a trial or suffering of some kind we tend to react in the wrong way toward Elohim and wonder why YHWH would allow us to suffer if we are His child! We must realise that we live in a corrupt and fallen world, plagued by sin and those who are lost stand opposed to those who take a firm stand in Yahushua Messiah! Let me ask you - How many of your friends and even family have turned a cold shoulder toward you because you have taken a stand for the Truth and walked away from the lies that have been handed down?
How many of you have been shrugged by those who called themselves friends simply because you have now chosen to call on His True Name, keep His Feasts, walk in His Torah as you are learning it and are holding on to what you have that no one takes your crown as Yahushua instructed the Philadelphia assembly in Revelation? How many of you have been chastised by others because you have taken a stand against sin, which is lawlessness – without Torah?
There are numerous accounts of many who have lost friendships, family and their jobs for taking a stand for the Truth. Some have lost their jobs because they have chosen to keep Sabbath and not work! It is a sure thing that when we go out there and live in this world according to the Word of YHWH by faith as seen in our action and speech, that we will be avoided, ridiculed, mocked, ignored, neglected, overlooked, cursed and the list could go on…!
And here in verse 12 Kěpha (Peter) is telling us to not be surprised when all this happens… and believe me when I tell you that these things will happen more and more in increasing measure as we see the Day of YHWH speedily approaching! Be not surprised at this, just as YHWH Himself is not surprised – He knows what is going on – He knows everything from beginning to end, and Yahushua Himself told us that we will have trouble and persecution, however we can take heart for He has overcome the world and as we walk in Him with great joy we can be more than conquerors and not be surprised when the ‘expected’ unexpected happens to us for His Name’s sake!
So then what do we do when we suffer rejection, neglect, slander, hatred etc…? Well that is easy! We choose right! We choose to believe YHWH and take Him at His Word – He promises that HE will meet our needs and that He is always with us and that He has our best interests in His mind – if we will but only choose to trust and follow Him by His Word.
In other words then, I can be sure that my suffering does not and will not catch me by surprise and I can live a life of rejoicing because I believe the Scriptures and abide in the Truth – If YHWH be for me, who can be against me, aměn!
All too often people base their responses to pain and suffering and trials solely upon their emotions and feelings generated by circumstances. Let’s be honest here, no one ‘feels’ like rejoicing through intense suffering and pain. But what Kěpha (Peter) is calling for here is not simply an emotional response but rather a choice to rejoice, a choice that goes beyond emotions! Yaʽaqoḇ (James) tells us in his letter that we are to ‘count’ it ‘all joy’ when we go through trials of many kinds, and the word for count means to ‘consider or reckon’. In other words - make a mental evaluation as opposed to an emotional response. The early believers faced intense persecution for their faith, yet could respond with rejoicing as they truly considered it worthy to suffer for Messiah. When Polycarp, a first century believer, who sat under the teaching of John, was martyred he was filled with only praise for Messiah. They placed him on a stake and set fire to the stake (all the time while he praised Yahushua Messiah) – the flames, according to Josephus (a first century priest, and historian), went all around Polycarp and did not burn him. A guard was then instructed to pierce his side, after which the blood burst out of his body killing all the flames of the fire! After he had then died they burnt his body. There are many gruesome factual events that took place in martyring many followers of Messiah – all who considered it pure joy – for the sake of His Name and the esteem and blessing of Messiah being revealed through them! How about you? Are you willing to rejoice under trial and persecution, or do you simply get you knickers in a knot when somebody you know just rejects you and accuses you of trying to be ‘Jewish’ simply for following the Torah and keeping the Feasts of YHWH? That is not persecution – it is time for the Bride to grow up in the Word and stand firm, because intense persecution is ahead in the last days! We must not allow a few simply words of ignorant onlookers to cause us to want to throw in the towel in following Messiah wholeheartedly – it is time that we learn to hold on to joy! The early believers understood that suffering is graced by Elohim’s glory/esteem, as He Himself goes with us through it all – just as He was with the three men in the blazing furnace as recorded in Daniel 3. He was with Daniel when at around 80 years of age was thrown into the lion’s den. He was with Stephen when he was being stoned to death for preaching the Good News of Messiah as recorded in Acts 6. Here in this passage, Kěpha writes that ‘the Spirit of Esteem and of Elohim rests upon you” – the esteem or glory of Elohim rests upon you and where His esteem is there He is too. Going through pain and sufferings for the sake of the Good News is hard and going it alone is even harder, but the knowledge that Elohim is with us by his Ruach (Spirit), gives us peace, joy and strength to endure whatever we face. We are truly blessed by His presence amidst trials, which is revealed in and through us when we suffer in this life and therefore “I can rejoice!” Anything we suffer for the sake of His Name is a privilege, not a penalty!
Kěpha makes it clear that we are not to be suffering because of our sin. It is possible to suffer for both the right and the wrong reasons. Let us make it clear if you are in sin and not living according to the Torah and as a result find yourself suffering the consequences of your sin and disobedience, then do not be a hypocrite and try to claim that the suffering you are facing is a result of living in Him. For when you sin or are disobedient you are separating yourself from Him. Suffering as a result of sin, does not call for rejoicing but rather mourning and repentance as you draw near to Him that He may draw near to you. The suffering we are talking about here is the kind Yahushua said we will face because of Him and His Name – that is assured and we cannot get away from that. If we suffer as a Messianic or follower of Yahushua Messiah then we need not be ashamed but rather praise Elohim that we bear His Name!
Many people today, even professing believers, suffer simply as a result of their wrong choices and find themselves unhappy and uncomfortable, as YHWH allows the natural result of their unwise and often disobedient choices that were sown to be reaped. Some are reaping the suffering of what they have sown in the past while some are suffering as a result of the discipline of YHWH possibly because of unconfessed sin. The suffering we are talking about here tonight is what you could call as ‘acceptable suffering’. Suffering for the right choices we make in Him – right choices we make each day in following Yahushua and the ability to not draw back or compromise in any way. We are not to suffer as a sinner, but rather as one who suffers for being a believer.
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:19-20 “For this is favour, if because of conscience toward Elohim anyone bears up under grief, suffering unrighteously. 20 For what credit is there in enduring a beating when you sin? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure, this finds favour with Elohim.
Persecution is not an excuse for lawlessness – just because we may face a little persecution, even from our family or those close to us, we must not compromise and give in under pressure to neglect our faith walk!
We who suffer because we are sincerely following Messiah are called to rejoice and not be ashamed. This is what the body of Messiah needs to embrace – we are to hold on to joy at all costs! I can rejoice in my suffering if I am suffering for the right reasons!
Let us not be ashamed for suffering for the Good News. In Roman law at the time of this letter each citizen was required to pledge his loyalty to the emperor and once a year would have to go and sprinkle incense upon the altar and declare that ‘Caesar was Lord and Master’. But for the early believer this could not be done as they would openly confess that YHWH is Elohim and Yahushua is the Messiah, and so would wilfully refuse to bow to Caesar. Often the officials would write the name of Messiah in the road or on the wall and command believers to trample upon or spit on the Name of Messiah and if they refused would be arrested, tried and often killed in the most cruel way – the True believers rejoiced under suffering not being ashamed of the Name of Messiah and the Good News – we must learn from their example and not be ashamed to declare our faith in the True Messiah – whose Name is not ‘Jesus’ but Yahushua – Yahweh is our Salvation! Today, sadly, many are spitting upon and trampling upon the True Name of our Saviour – Yahushua and bowing to the Roman rule of ‘church governance’, and we as true believers must not be caught bowing to a system that is only headed for destruction. When I am suffering I should ask myself why I am suffering – am I ashamed (as a result of sin) or am I glorifying the Messiah as a result of obedience - rejoice in the suffering for His Name’s sake!
Here Kěpha asks the question that if it is now time for the House of Elohim to suffer then how bad do you think that it is going to be for those who are in a sense causing us to suffer or those who are simply disobeying the Good News of Messiah.
Listen it is far better to suffer now for obedience sake than later for disobedience sake! Those who are living and doing as they please now – in other words not living or walking in righteousness by faith and pleasing Elohim will have to one day face Him face to face and it isn’t going to be pretty! We can rejoice in our suffering now, as we can be assured that it is only temporary!
YHWH never fails! We can therefore trust in His unfailing Word and sure promises of His Word. We are therefore able to rely on Him and commit to fully serving Him with all joy – His joy! Committing our lives to a trustworthy Creator, doing the good works he has prepared in advance for us to do – and that is to walk in His ways – will cause us to truly rejoice regardless of the suffering we may face as a result of obedient living. He has good plans for us and will fulfil His plans for us. The charge here is to simply continue to live, and to do good – that is to walk in His Good Word – walk in His Torah – living in Messiah – and to continue to actively rejoice, no matter what you face or what others may do or say against you – because we serve and follow a faithful Elohim! To commit is a banking term which carries with it the meaning of depositing for safekeeping:
Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 1:12 “For this reason I also suffer these matters, but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to watch over that which I have entrusted to Him until that Day.
When you deposit your life into YHWH’s bank you will always receive greater eternal dividends on your investment! This commitment is a continual constant attitude – not a single act – committing every area of our lives every single day to walking in His ways, obeying His Word and rejoicing in the process!
Unsaved people have a present that is being controlled by their past – we who are in Yahushua have a present that is controlled by our future!
What we are talking about here today is joy, joy even in trials. Joy is derived from love – YHWH’s love not ours and is therefore closely associated with love in Sha’ul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit. Since it is a gift, every believer is called upon to share in the joy of Messiah by a daily obedient walk and as messiah we too are to love righteousness and hate wickedness that we may also receive the anointing of His joy:
Hebrews 1:9 “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. Because of this, Elohim, Your Elohim, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
It is when we truly love righteousness – that is to walk in obedience to His commands (Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25), and hate lawlessness – that is to rebel against obedience to Commands – then the anointing of His joy will come!
It is a joy to share in the sufferings of Messiah:
Sharing in the sufferings with Messiah results in:
1 – Joy with Messiah (1 Peter 1:6)
2 – Fellowship with Messiah (Philippians 3:10)
3 – Exaltation with Messiah (Romans 8:17)
4 – Reign with Messiah (2 Timothy 2:12)
We who take part in suffering with Messiah will take part in His glory when it is revealed at His second coming!
What Kěpha is giving us here in his letter is a warning of what is to come and stressed the mental readiness required – are you going to be found holding on to joy, when persecution comes your way!
Let me ask you – have you been suffering? Has it been for doing good or as the result of making some really dumb choices? If your suffering is due to sin or disobedience – then confess to Him and let his Word cleanse you from all unrighteousness and restore to you the joy of your salvation. If you are or have been suffering for doing good, because of your witness of Messiah as you bear His Name holding on to His commands – then well done and congratulations – YHWH is with you in a unique way and will keep you standing – so use your suffering for Him as a time of rejoicing.

We as the body of Messiah must start holding on to joy – His joy imparted to us by His Ruach (Spirit) and encourage one another, support one another and rejoice with one another. One of the things that the enemy is very hard at trying to do is to get us to lose our joy and we cannot and must not allow this. Suffering under trial as we walk in obedience against the stream of the world’s ways and even against the western pagan gentile church and its institutionalised living, we are to do with great joy – for we have the Joy Giver with us, aměn!
So fellow brother and sisters, do not be surprised at the persecutions and trials that will come for the sake of His Name and walking in obedience to His Torah – rejoice and be blessed, being not ashamed but committed to doing good for the sake of our trustworthy Creator! And may we continually be found to be holding on to joy!!!