Saturday, January 28, 2012
CAUSE YOUR FACE TO SHINE UPON US, OH יהוה!
Shalom family, all praise and esteem unto יהוה our Elohim who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light!
His Light is marvellous, aměn! In last week’s Torah readings we looked at the darkness that came over Mitsrayim, primarily in 2 stages – one was through the plague of locust that covered the land or rather the ‘eye’ being symbolic of Ra the sun deity of Mitsrayim that had been covered and then a thick darkness came over the land for 3 days – so thick that it could be felt, a darkness that symbolised the complete removal of the presence of Elohim, while in Goshen the Yisra’ĕlites had light, for יהוה was in their midst – a wonderful picture of a people who had been called out of darkness into His light – a people who would ‘draw near’ to Elohim at the sound of His voice (Goshen meaning to draw near) in loving obedience. His light is His presence and without such we would find ourselves in darkness. In drawing near to Him, who is The Light, calls for a pure and devoted response that is reflected in obedience to Him. In Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:8 we are told to draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to us and we are to cleanse our hands from sin, which is lawlessness and purify our hearts from double-mindedness – that is strip away the syncretism of mixed theologies and doctrines of man and the Truth of His Word and be single minded and steadfast to hear, guard and do His pure Word that will keep us in the Light of His presence!
We often declare His blessing over us as His children as He instructed Mosheh on how Aharon would bless the children of Yisra’ĕl and by doing so put His Name upon them that He Himself would bless them, and part of this blessing is, “יהוה make your face shine upon you…” which is a huge blessing in itself when we begin to understand the Light of His presence, which sadly for so many today is simply not a reality… yet! In a message tonight called, “Cause your face to shine upon us, oh יהוה!” I would like us to look at a wonderful Tehillim/Psalm and cry for His face to shine upon us as His children – please turn with me to Tehillim/Psalm 80 (Read).
This Psalm is a cry and an appeal to The Great Shepherd of Yisra’ĕl to save His people who had been given over to the discipline of being dishonoured by their neighbours. A call to The Great Gardener to come and restore the Vine that He had carefully planted in a good land, but through lack of lasting fruit was given over to be harvested and even destroyed by every passer-by who would pluck their fruit which was no longer cultivated and guarded according to His instructions, and now the cry was for Him to once again restore His people. This was a cry of repentance and an earnest plea to turn back to the One who had called them out of darkness and slavery and a desperate cry of help from sheep, which had been led astray, to their Good Shepherd.
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:25 “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your lives.”
This Tehillim was written at a time when the Northern kingdom had strayed and found themselves corrupted in their worship and having surrendered under the laws and ways of the nations that יהוה had driven out and also under the kings that they had set up for themselves, and in an earnest prayer for restoration and blessing and salvation, I firmly believe that we are once again in a time where this cry is being lifted up by a faithful remnant to our Good Shepherd and Light for His very face to come and shine upon us and with this cry comes great responsibility!
The emphasis of this Psalm is repeated 3 times and each time carries a progression in the call for His blessing and favour upon His children and called out ones!
There are a number of pictures for us in this Tehillim/Psalm and we can view it in a number of ways that give us great insight for us today how we are to truly be living as children of light and be done with darkness!
Verses 1-3 – The Appeal – after recognising the error of their ways the Psalmist makes an appeal, as I said, to the Shepherd of Yisra’ĕl – an acknowledgment in itself of who the True Leader was, and when we see the term ‘who dwells between the keruḇim’ we must realise that in the Hebraic mind-set this fully represented the sure presence of Elohim who always dwells between the Keruḇim, which would help them realise that He was in their midst and this is where they could come and receive His instructions:
Shemoth/Exodus 25:20-22 “And the keruḇim shall be spreading out their wings above, covering the lid of atonement with their wings, with their faces toward each other, the faces of the keruḇim turned toward the lid of atonement. 21 “And you shall put the lid of atonement on top of the ark, and put into the ark the Witness which I give you. 22 “And I shall meet with you there, and from above the lid of atonement, from between the two keruḇim which are on the ark of the Witness, I shall speak to you all that which I command you concerning the children of Yisra’ĕl.”
Verses 4-7 – The Discipline – As a result of disobedience יהוה had handed Yisra’ĕl over to their enemies in order to discipline them and cause them to return. This was a cry of a people defeated that only the Elohim of Hosts could cause them to have victory over their enemies. The one One they could truly run to for help.
Verses 8-14 – Removal of the Blessing – Obedience brings blessing, disobedience brings a curse! So many today want to claim all the wonderful blessings that are yes and aměn in Messiah, while they are ignorantly groping about in the dark as they are unwilling to walk in Him who is Light, giving them the lamp for their path by His very Torah! In the portions we have been going through on the plagues that came upon Mitsrayim, in this week’s portion in Shemoth 15 it says this:
Shemoth/Exodus 15:26 “And He said, “If you diligently obey the voice of יהוה your Elohim and do what is right in His eyes, and shall listen to His commands and shall guard all His laws, I shall bring on you none of the diseases I brought on the Mitsrites, for I am יהוה who heals you.”
Now when one looks a little deeper in Ḥazon/Revelation (especially chapter 16) it is very clear that these diseases or plagues of Mitsrayim are still very much in play for those who do not diligently obey the voice of יהוה and who do not guard His commands! It is when recognising that His blessing is removed that it can do one of two things – either cause you to repent and turn back to the Living El or become even more hardened and end up blaspheming Him as we see that many shall do as written in Ḥazon/Revelation in their unwillingness to repent!
Verses 14-19 – promise of obedience – the plea of this Psalm brings the Psalmist to the realised commitment to His word required by those who live ‘in’ the light of His presence.
It is when we are able to receive His discipline that He brings for those He loves, that we can allow His word to instruct us in the way and stay on the narrow path of life.
In three wonderful pictures of the need for walking in obedience we see a pointing to יהושע Messiah, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
In approaching the:
1 – The Shepherd of Yisra’ĕl - Yoḥanan/John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” The Psalmist recognises the Only One True Redeemer and Saviour!
2 – The Light – He that dwells between the Keruḇim ‘shine forth’ – Yoḥanan/John 8:12 “Therefore יהושע spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but possess the light of life.” The Psalmist affirms His recognition of the need for the Light and presence of Elohim.
3 – The Vine – Yoḥanan/John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.” – We are to stay in Him and He will stay in us for without Him we can bear no fruit!
Now coming to the significant repetition and plea we see here in this Tehillim/Psalm we can find great encouragement.
Verses 3, 7 and 19 all repeat the same cry of repentance to obedience and a calling forth of the face of Elohim to shine upon them!
In recognising the urgency of this cry for His face to shine upon us, we need to understand the true essence and realisation of our strong plea before the Light of The World, who has now called us to shine the Light of His Truth, for as we stay in Him and in His good instructions we are the light of the world. We see this call for His face to shine upon us several times in the Tehillim/Psalms: Besides the 3 times here in this Tehillim we also find it in:
Tehillim/Psalm 31:16 “Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me in Your kindness.”
Tehillim/Psalm 67:1 “Elohim does favour us and bless us, Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah.”
Tehillim/Psalm 119:135 “Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your laws.”
When His face shines upon us we can find His kindness, salvation, favour, blessing and His good instructions!
What is very interesting in this Tehillim/Psalm 80 is the progression we see:
In verse 3: The cry and appeal to cause us to turn back is unto Elohim, then in verse 7: It is unto Elohim of Hosts; and finally in verse 19: It is unto יהוה, Elohim of Hosts!
From Elohim – Elohim of Hosts – יהוה, Elohim of Hosts!!!
There was recognition of who He is as Elohim, El Shaddai – Almighty El, besides Him there is no other. A recognition of the One True Elohim who is the Shepherd of Yisra’ĕl and then in a cry for deliverance from the enemy, He is recognised as Elohim of Hosts – Commander of the Heavenly forces – the One who fights for us and in whom there is assurance of victory and by verse 19 He has now become a personal El as His name is acknowledged – The Great I AM is with us – He is causes us to be – is not only the One True Elohim – but He has made Himself known to us as personal Saviour, Redeemer and King and it is when we come to this point that we recognise our True identity and call as children of light and be committed to Him in every way – for He is lovingly committed to us as a Covenant people in Messiah!
Now this is where I make my appeal as the Scriptures instruct us – let us too call for Him to make His face shine upon us each and every day, and in so doing be lovingly-committed to walking in Him, free from all darkness.
When Aḏam and Ḥawwah had sinned what did they do? They hid themselves from the presence or face of Elohim!
Berěshith/Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the sound of יהוה Elohim walking about in the garden in the cool of the day, and Aḏam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of יהוה Elohim among the trees of the garden.”
The Hebrew root word for ‘the presence’ here in Berěshith/Genesis is the same root word used in Tehillim/Psalm 80 for the words ‘cause your face’. Their sin caused them to hide themselves from His presence – from the very light of His face upon them.
When Ya’aqoḇ wrestled with Elohim and overcame he said:
Berěshith/Genesis 32:30 “And Yaʽaqoḇ called the name of the place Peni’ĕl, “For I have seen Elohim face to face, and my life is preserved.”
The word used here for ‘face’ is once again the same used in Tehillim/Psalm 80 and in the account of the Garden of Eden.
When יהושע was transfigured before Kěpha, Yaʽaqoḇ, and Yoḥanan His face shone like the sun and His garments became as white as the light (Mattithyahu/Matthew 17:2)! Can you imagine this moment – the very face of Elohim shining upon them!!! They had followed Him, believed Him, was taught by Him, saw Him do many miracles and now they say the ‘Light of His Face’!
In this urgent call to true repentance what the Psalmist was showing us here was that in the calling of Elohim to cause them to turn back was the recognition of who the Redeemer was and the pleading for His face to shine upon them was their response to His redemptive work in delivering them from bondage and sin, and the end result of that which they sought – so that they might be saved.
We too, who have acknowledged the redemptive work of Messiah, who died for our sin and was raised to life that His resurrection power may cause us to be raised to new life in Him, respond by walking in obedience to Him, working out our deliverance with fear and trembling by OBEYING!!!
In this Tehillim we see an echo of the song of Mosheh that was sung after the deliverance of Yisra’ĕl from Mitsrayim, by the Mighty Right Hand of Elohim, of which we too will hear the song of deliverance being sung by a people who overcome the beast and his image, his mark and the number of his name! (Ḥazon/Revelation 15:2-3)
What has struck me this week in looking at this awesome Tehillim is the need for us to be seeking the face of יהוה, that He may shine His Good presence upon us and cause us to walk firm in Him.
Tehillim/Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and right-ruling Are the foundation of Your throne; Kindness and truth go before Your face.”
Kindness and Truth go before His face – for His face to shine upon us we must be willing to walk wholeheartedly in His Truth, for listen what is says further:
Tehillim/Psalm 89:15-16 “Blessed are the people Who know the festal trumpet-call! They walk, O יהוה, in the light of Your face. 16 In Your Name they rejoice all day long, And they are exalted in Your righteousness.”
Are you walking in the light of His face? This is the heart of this message as a question to you tonight, or is there still darkness at work in you? Let us look at some vital instructions from Scripture:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 1:6 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and are not doing the truth.”
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:9-11 “The one who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother stays in the light, and there is no stumbling-block in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 “But you, brothers, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 So, then, we should not sleep, as others do, but we should watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But we who are of the day should be sober, putting on the breastplate of belief and love, and as a helmet the expectation of deliverance.”
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:8-11 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Master. Walk as children of light 9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth 10 proving what is well-pleasing to the Master. 11 And have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all matters without grumblings and disputings, 15 in order that you be blameless and faultless, children of Elohim without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
Our loving-commitment and obedience to His commands will cause us to shine and we shall be blessed in having His face shine upon us giving us favour and shalom, so when you hear the blessing spoken over your life and you too ask Him to cause His face to shine upon you – let me ask you – are you shining? Or is His word and His presence been somehow removed from your life and your struggle to simply hear and obey – in other words you are not shining but sinning – walking in lawlessness – if so, then hear this call to repentance and to a walk of righteousness:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:14 “That is why He says, “Wake up, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Messiah shall shine on you.”
Wake up and He will shine upon you – may we never be found to be wasting the time as the days are wicked, let us redeem the time in righteousness and truth and too intercede for the rest of the Bride in crying out to יהוה Elohim of Hosts for His face to shine upon us.
Perhaps you have found yourself in a dark place or have been walking in darkness, draw near to Him now and let us all stand and I ask that you lift up your hands as I proclaim His blessing upon you, to put His name upon you – that He may bless you and by standing here before Him who dwells between the Keruḇim you too are declaring that you are not asleep but are awake to His call and will walk in total obedience forsaking all works of darkness that we too can walk the path He has set out before us in righteousness, for as it says in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”
WILL YOU SHINE?
יהוה bless you and guard you
יהוה make His face shine upon you, and show favour to you
יהוה lift up His face upon and give you shalom!