Saturday, September 10, 2011
MAINTAINING AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 16
Shabbat Shalom…praise the mighty Name of יהוה our Wonderful Creator, aměn! In continuing from last week on the theme of praise and singing unto יהוה, I find it very important for us to grasp the vital need for us to have true and pure joy-filled worship unto our Saviour and Redeemer, and by that I simply mean that we ought to embrace the right attitude in our worship. How many of you have, in being honest with yourself, had at times an attitude that sucks? How many of you at times have an attitude that in no way reflects the picture of joy that a redeemed child of the Living Elohim ought to have in their daily walk? Tonight in a message called, ‘Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude’, I would like us to be reminded once again of the importance of having the right attitude that reflects a life of thanksgiving unto יהוה. As we are drawing closer to Yom Teruah and Sukkot, the Feast of rejoicing, I believe that the Father is reminding us to ensure that our attitudes are in check and that we have the right attitude in our ability to faithfully rejoice in Him. So flowing from last week’s call to sing let us continue in realising just how we are to sing and worship our Maker – please turn with me to Diḇre haYamim Aleph/ 1 Chronicles 16 (Read).
This is such a wonderful chapter with many insights and instructions on how we can and are to maintain the right attitude of gratitude toward Elohim. And for the purposes of understanding just how this attitude ought to ‘look’ we will look a little closer at some of the words used here – words that are very descriptive in revealing to us the nature of a spirit filled worshipper of the Living Elohim and how we can and are to build a continual attitude of gratitude toward Him.
The setting of this chapter is as follows: The ark of Elohim was brought back and placed in the tent that Dawiḏ had prepared for it. The ark had been stolen by the Philistines and set up in their pagan temple alongside their false mighty one, Daḡon, only to discover the first morning that their Daḡon had fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of יהוה, and set it up again only to discover the next morning that not only had it fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of יהוה, but both its head and palms had been cut off – imagine how this must have freaked them out! Then יהוה’s hand was heavy on the Ashdoḏites and wasted them and smote them with tumors – the Hebrew word being ‘ôphel’ – meaning tumor or haemorrhoids as it comes from the root ‘âphal’ – meaning to swell – the sound of this Hebrew word is similar to our word ‘awful’ and it was! At this they resorted to sending back the Ark of Elohim back to Yisra’ĕl. You can read of these events in Shemuʼĕl Aleph/1 Samuel 5-7. The Ark of יהוה went to Bĕyth Shemesh and then to Qiryath Yeʽarim where it was in the house of Aḇinaḏaḇ for 20 years – King Sha’ul had never even thought of bringing it back to Yerushalayim and in some ways may have even been forgotten about by many! In Shemuʼĕl Bet/2 Samuel 6 we read of how King Dawiḏ went down to Aḇinaḏaḇ’s house and brought the ark back, yet they carried the ark on a wagon instead of the priests carrying it on their shoulders and Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of Elohim when the oxen had stumbled and Elohim struck him there and he died. Dawiḏ was afraid and the ark ended up in Oḇĕḏ-Eḏom’s house for 3 months, after which Dawiḏ came back after hearing reports of how Oḇĕḏ-Eḏom’s house had been blessed, and brought the ark back to the tent which he had prepared.
Why I am sharing this brief history with you is simply because it is important in understanding the presence of יהוה and how important that is for us to embrace and maintain. By the ark of Elohim being captured away by the Philistines, it is a picture of יהוה’s presence being taken from Yisra’ĕl, as the ark represented His very presence and where He dwelt. The enemy thought that they could gain something by capturing the ark and have the blessing of יהוה with them while having their form of mixed worship entangled with the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl and have much fertility and blessing. This they obviously found out would not happen and they suffered the consequences of thinking that they could steal away the presence and manipulate the Elohim of all the earth! At the same time Yisra’ĕl had ‘lost’ if you will the presence of יהוה, and with that they had lost provision, protection and were not walking in wholehearted devotion as they mixed their worship with worship unto other mighty ones, while their current king, Sha’ul was only interested in self.
It is here in the chapter we have read tonight that we find Dawiḏ giving great thanks to Elohim and they joy of having His presence back among the chosen people of יהוה.
I find this a very fitting setting and lesson for us today, as we see how the enemy has certainly tried to ‘steal away’ the presence of יהוה from His people and in many ways has succeeded in doing so. The Philistines with their ‘fish-god’ represent for me today the church who symbolically worship none other than ‘Daḡon’ yet they have tried to bring in the very presence or nature of יהוה into a blended form of worship with the hope to extract the blessing of fruitfulness from the Living Elohim while still giving their worship unto their false mighty ones! To put it plainly – Christianity today simply wants all the blessing without the walk of loving obedience and commitment to the everlasting Covenant between יהוה and Yisra’ĕl and so reject the need to follow Torah while claiming they have the very presence of יהוה in their midst!
Listen to these words of Tehillim/Psalm 50:16-17:
“But to the wrong Elohim said, “What right have you to recite My laws, Or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 “While you hated instruction And cast My Words behind you?”
What this is saying is very clear – what right do Christians, or any ‘claiming’ believer who does not walk in the Torah, have to recite His commands and even have His covenant on their lips declaring that they are His – while they hate His Torah and have rejected His Word of Truth!!! This is a harsh rebuke – one that so many do not see, as they overlook the severity of walking in lawlessness while claiming to have the presence of Elohim and claim to be in a Covenant relationship with Him while wilfully throwing behind their backs His instructions – His Torah by saying things like, ‘It is done away with’! This is where he says that they who do this have no right whatsoever to be even reciting His laws! So many churches may even ‘recite’ the 10 Commandments every Sun-day while clearly not walking in them as they are like Daḡon worshipping Philistines who have ‘uncircumcised hearts’! What right does anyone, who has rejected the Torah as having been done away with and regard as no longer applicable, have to take His Covenant in their mouth – None whatsoever! And He is very serious about this!
So many today have ‘stolen’ His presence in a manner of speaking in an attempt at worship which is none other than an abomination.
Yoḥanan/ John 5: 43 “I have come in My Father’s Name and you do not receive Me, if another one comes in his own name, him you would receive.”
What Christianity has done is reject the Living Word – for a counterfeit! יהושע said that He had come in His Father’s Name – that is that His Name יהושע carries the Name of the Father! Look at the Names: יהוה (YHWH or Yahweh) and יהושע (Yahushua). יהושע = יהוה is our Salvation/Saviour – “Yah” is our Saviour! He has come in His Father’s Name and has been rejected by so many as they have cast His Words behind them and labelled it as ‘Old Testament’ that no longer applies while they gladly receive the Imposter – which I call the ‘J-man’ = J-E-S-U-S – where does the Father’s Name of Yahweh (יהוה) fit in there? It doesn’t, as this is none other than a fabricated attempt at trying to steal away the presence of יהוה and claim all of His blessings by ‘reciting’ His laws which they do not follow and claim a Covenant on their lips that they have no right or claim to as long as they walk in lawlessness!
The Philistines thought they could get the best of both worlds and they came up very short and sadly so are so many in these last days going to end up falling far short as they have tried to manufacture His presence through an attempt at adapting His Truth into a syncretised form of worship with pagan belief systems disguised as valid traditions and יהוה will not fall for that and will pour out His wrath before the fullness of His presence returns to dwell among His people! I see these events as a shadow picture of what is to come – those who have thought to claim His presence while rejecting His Torah and need to walk in and keep His Commands will face some serious wrath being poured out and so many will hear the words of our Maker and Saviour, “away from Me I never knew you, you who work lawlessness” and will be in utter distress before his presence returns to dwell with His prepared Bride – Yisra’ĕl forever!
Here in Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 16 we see the picture and joy of this great return of His presence to a people who had lost focus so to speak. And as we all know that it is also very easy for us to lose focus and the awareness of his presence in our lives when we allow ourselves to get caught up in chasing after those things that only lure us away! Besides, the enemy is constantly trying to rob us of the presence of יהוה, and this we must guard against by guarding the commands of Elohim and maintaining an attitude of gratitude as we continually seek to worship Him in all we do!
Being continually focused on Him daily we become more and more aware of His magnificent presence which naturally will result in thanksgiving and a right attitude that reflects true gratitude toward Him!
I love the beginning of this chapter – when Dawiḏ brings back the ark to the tent he had pitched for it. The tent was the place which was prepared for the ark of Elohim –the place he would reside and ‘tabernacle’ with us. The same word used for tent here is also used in describing the Tent of Meeting, and so we get a wonderful picture here of us, together, being that very ‘tent’ where His presence must reside – in the Bride who has made herself ready – A body that He has prepared for Himself – that is us, Yisra’ĕl – made up of many parts but One body of which the Head is יהושע Messiah!
Last week we touched on being a faithful, praising gatherer and tonight I want us to embrace the distinct things that express the true nature of thankfulness to יהוה.
Perhaps this is a time for us to reflect and possibly even for some – regain the focus of our worship and thanksgiving that He may inhabit the praises of His people, aměn!
The term ‘Give thanks/thank’ is used 6 times in this chapter and this, Dawiḏ’s song of thanksgiving we can glean much insight in how to regain and maintain focus with a pure attitude of gratitude unto Elohim!
And we begin this by obviously being prepared in a sense – that is having made the choice to serve and follow Him and submitted to learning all His ways, constantly perfecting our set-apartness in Him and begin thanking Him through singing – yes singing! Singing what you may ask? Verse 9 tells us – sing to Him – sing praise to Him – this is vital - as much of proposed worship today is not reflective of singing to Him, but is rather self-motivated and is inward focused. We sing to Him and we declare His wonders! Singing praise is the opposite of murmuring complaints – which do you find yourself doing? Verse 23 repeats this charge to sing and we sing to יהוה!
The Hebrew word for thanks/giving thanks is Strong’s H3034 יָדָה ‘yadah’ and literally means ‘to throw, shoot or cast, to confess, laud with praise, extol, i.e., make a public confession of the attributes and acts of power of a person’ and comes from the word Strong’s H3027 יָד ‘yad’ which means ‘hand’ and so the expression of giving thanks is understood in the Hebrew as ‘extending the hands in praise’ – that is why Sha’ul tells us in Timotiyos Aleph that men everywhere should lift up their hands that are set-apart in prayer – our expression of giving thanks with the extended hands that are set-apart is in our willing obedience to working unto Elohim (extending the hand) in all we do – and at the same time giving Him esteem and praise – Giving thanks is not a silent matter and it must be seen in our work ethic too as our actions often may speak louder than words!
Dawiḏ appointed some to serve, praise, thank and remember – now we who are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation – a people for a possession have too been chosen by our Righteous King to serve, praise, give thanks and remember יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl.
Giving thanks begins with calling upon His Name (v8) and make His deeds known to all –
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 12:4 “And in that day you shall say, “Praise יהוה, call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His Name is exalted.”
We must make mention of His Name and make it known – a very critical and vital thing that is certainly happening in our day!
Then we are to ‘boast’ in His set-apart Name. Calling upon His Name results in a boasting of His Name and then into rejoicing in Him. The word used here for boast is Strong’s H1984 הָלַל ‘halal’ which means ‘to praise, be boastful in praise, to shine or flash forth, radiate, i.e., have bright or clear light be visible from a source’ and is used 3 other times in this chapter and translated as praise/praised (:4,25,36)
We are to praise His Name, extol His name, make known His Name and revere His Name. His Name reveals His Character and we in our actions are to display his very character being shaped and formed in us –
Therefore our confession must line up with our deeds. Far too many are simply giving lip service while their hearts are far from Him and therefore bring His Name to nought! Our boasting is not in self but in Him and His set-apart Name. His Name is set-apart – above all Name and titles and therefore we cannot bring down His Name to the level or form of a common title or any other name with other forms of association!
Qolasim/Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Master יהושע, giving thanks to Elohim the Father through Him.”
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 1:30-31 “And of Him you are in Messiah יהושע, who became for us wisdom from Elohim, righteousness also, and set-apartness and redemption, 31 that, as it has been written, “He who boasts, let him boast in יהוה.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 45:25 “In יהוה all the seed of Yisra’ĕl shall be declared right and boast.”
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus said יהוה, “Let not the wise boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty boast in his might, nor let the rich boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am יהוה, doing kindness, right-ruling, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” declares יהוה.”
If we are to boast at all it is to be to His Name – that we understand and know Him and that He is יהוה – and what does He delight in? RIGHTEOUSNESS and RIGHT-RULING – not lawlessness!!! We bring esteem and boasting unto His Name when our lives are congruent with His Word!
Another distinct expression of thanksgiving unto יהוה, that Dawiḏ tells us, is in our ‘seeking’ Him with our all. We are to seek His face continually. There are far too many today who are merely seeking His Hand in order to have their physical needs met and seem to only be ‘seeking’ Him in some way or another when they are in trouble! We are to be daily seeking His strength and His face – our lives depend on it!
Amos 5:6 “Seek יהוה and live, lest He break out like fire upon the house of Yosĕph, and shall consume it, with no one to quench it in Bĕyth Ěl.”
Tsephanyah/Zephaniah 2:3 “Seek יהוה, all you meek ones of the earth, who have done His right-ruling. Seek righteousness, seek meekness, if so be that you are hidden in the day of wrath of יהוה.”
Seek Righteousness – that is ‘learn the Torah’ as Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25 tells us clearly that righteousness will be for us to guard to do all the commands before יהוה our Elohim as He has commanded us!
Seeking His face continually is to be seeking out His word and walking wholeheartedly according to His ways that we are able to look in to His face and not be ashamed of any wilful sin as Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10 tells us that if we sin purposefully after having received the knowledge of the truth then there no longer remains a slaughtering for our sins! Try looking someone you claim to love in the face when you have not been true and honest – it is not possible – unless your conscience is so seared that you have become a professional liar, which would then reveal that there is in fact no love in you for there is no truth in you! There is no excuse for us – we have received the knowledge of the Truth now we ought to live like it able to seek His face and live!
Then Dawiḏ tells us that we are to ‘remember’; we are to remember:
1 – His wonders that He has done – we are told that He has done wonders to be remembered – let us remember them!
2 – His Signs and the right rulings of His mouth! – That is His spoken Word – His Torah – His instructions and righteous standards:
Ḥazon/Revelation 16:7 “And I heard another out of the altar saying, “Yes, יהוה Ěl Shaddai, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
Too many today have simply forgotten or not even bothered to seek out and realise and know and remember that He is Ěl Shaddai and that His judgments and true and righteous, for if we would but just remember this we would walk carefully and walk only in Him and not according to man-made traditions and customs that have formed many false paths to destruction!
Ḥazon/Revelation 19:1-2 “And after this I heard a loud voice of a great crowd in the heaven, saying, “Halleluyah! Deliverance and esteem and respect and power to יהוה our Elohim! 2 “Because true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great whore who corrupted the earth with her whoring. And He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.”
Let us never forget the right rulings of His mouth!
3 – His Covenant – (v15) we are to never forget His eternal Covenant with Yisra’ĕl! Let me tell you – the church has not only done just that – but they have replaced His Covenant with a falsified counterfeit that will be revealed and exposed for its futility in the latter days. His Covenant is with, always has been and always will be with Yisra’ĕl which He made with Aḇraham, swore to Yitsḥaq and established with Ya’aqoḇ for a law – and with no one else – to Yisra’ĕl – an everlasting covenant! Part of our ability to give thanks is to remember – that is to be mindful of and bring to remembrance and celebrate through obedience submission – His Loving Covenant with us – in that through the Blood of Messiah we who were once far off have now been brought near – Halleluyah – that is certainly worth giving thanks for, aměn!
You see, in giving thanks, there is more than mere lip service with a simple ‘thank you’ – it is revealed in our speech and in our actions that reflect a heart that is truly thankful unto Elohim for providing for us a means and a way to have fellowship and eternity with Him. We are thankful and gladly obey out of a reverence for who He is and what He has done for us and has given us by His Mighty Right Hand!
A pure and devoted heart of thanksgiving will result in a hungry heart for righteousness – to walk in His ways – not to earn what we cannot earn but to declare our thanks for that which He has freely offered to those who would choose Him!
This must translate into singing and proclaiming His deliverance each and every day as we declare His esteem and His wonders for He alone is great and greatly to be praised.
So many expressive words on living a life of thanksgiving unto יהוה contained in this awesome chapter – words like SING – BOAST – SEEK – REMEMBER- PROCLAIM – DECLARE - and I trust that you are catching the heart of Dawiḏ here – The heart of a man after the heart of יהוה! Another expression of thanksgiving is seen in the word that is repeated 3 times and that is ‘ascribe’ which simply means to ‘give’ and all three times it is to ‘give to יהוה’ – there is no other that must be esteemed – we ascribe to Him esteem and strength and we ascribe to Him the esteem of His Name, which must result in to bringing and offering before Him – we know that we are to never come before Him empty handed. He asked Mosheh what was in his hand and he used that – we come before יהוה and offer up our lives as a daily living sacrifice in thanksgiving for all He has done and we do it with humility and great reverence as we bow ourselves in submission to His Kingship and authority over our lives. I love how Dawiḏ says that we are to bow ourselves to יהוה in the splendour of set-apartness – let me remind you what a joy and a privilege it is for us to be able to come together on Shabbat and be set-apart from the world and its luring ways – the splendour of set-apartness – coming to ‘bow’ as one before Him is a wonderful expression of a life of thanksgiving – yet sadly many do not realise and see the splendour of living set-apart lives – let us realise and be thankful for Him giving us what we have here in Him aměn!
May we be a thankful people who are zealous and eager to do according to all that is written in the Torah of יהוה, may our lives resonate with great joy and thanksgiving as we sing, and boast, praise and seek, remember, proclaim and declare, ascribe and give thanks to the One most worthy of all praise – יהוה is His Name!
Perhaps your attitude of gratitude toward יהוה has not been quite like that which Dawiḏ describes in this chapter – then may you learn from these words that you have heard tonight and be joyful in realigning your focus in worship and praise unto Him being fervent in your passionate pursuit of living a life of thanksgiving unto Him who has called you out of darkness and into his marvellous light! Do not be like the Philistines who want the blessing of His presence without giving Him singleness of heart – but have your heart circumcised with His very Word ready to give thanks in everything
As we draw closer to Sukkot where He commands a rejoicing, may our hearts truly be ready to do just that as we give thanks for His consuming presence and may we all recognise and realise that there is more to thanksgiving than two words that are often vainly expressed by so many – for far too long the enemy had stolen away His true presence from our lives – praise Him that we have his Truth and His presence with us - let us be a people who maintain an attitude of gratitude – for He is with us – IMMANU’EL
Let me close with Tehillim/Psalm 111:“Praise Yah! I thank יהוה with all my heart, in the company of the straight, and of the congregation. 2 Great are the works of יהוה, Searched for by all who delight in them. 3 Splendour and greatness are His work, and His righteousness stands forever. 4 He has made His wonders to be remembered; יהוה shows favour and is compassionate. 5 He has given food to those who fear Him; He remembers His covenant forever. 6 He has shown His people the power of His works, to give to them the inheritance of the gentiles. 7 The works of His hands are truth and right-ruling, All His orders are trustworthy, 8 they are upheld forever and ever, Performed in truth and straightness. 9 He sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever. Set-apart and awesome is His Name. 10 The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom; all those doing them have a good understanding. His praise is standing forever.”