The Blessing of Walking in Relationship With Elohim and His Word

Psalm 111

Psalm 111:2, The works of YHVH…studied by all…pleasure. Studied is the Hebrew word darash meaning “to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by implication to seek or ask; specifically to worship, diligently inquire, make inquisition, question, require, search, seek [for, out].” Pleasure is the Hebrew word khayfets meaning “pleasure; hence (abstractly) desire; concretely a valuable thing; hence (by extension) a matter (as something in mind) that is acceptable, delight (-some), desire, things desired, matter, pleasant, pleasure, purpose, willingly.” This verse is pregnant with meaning and can be viewed from several vantage points depending upon which word or group of words one focuses.

First, the works of YHVH are worth studying, following, pursuing, seeking, or diligently inquiring about. 

Second, studying the works of YHVH is an act of worship. Those who seek YHVH diligently by studying his works are actually worshiping him in so doing.

Third, those who study the works of YHVH desire to do so and find that his works are worthy of studying and they find pleasure in learning about him; they place high value in this pursuit.

Psalm 111:10, The fear of YHVH…beginning of wisdom. This statement is often attributed to Solomon and his book of Proverbs, but it actually originated with David. Solomon learned this truth from his father and repeated it twice later (Prov 1:7; 9:10). Had he remembered these wise words of his father after he had become rich, famous and powerful, perhaps he would not became an apostate in his latter in having fallen so far away from YHVH. One can start out well as a young person walking in the path of truth, light, wisdom and righteousness, but that’s no guarantee how they will end up. Young people would do well to follow the wisdom of their parents, grandparents and elders and to learn, so as not to repeat the mistakes of the older generation.

Psalm 112

Psalm 112:1, Blessed is the man. YHVH promises blessing upon those who fear him and delight in his commandments. This is such a simple concept to understand that it is shocking that more people cannot grasp it! When you acknowledge the Almighty Creator of all things, who is the Just Judge of the universe and the Supreme Lawgiver and you seek him, serve him with reverence and live by his rules, it all stands to reason that you will reap some benefits. The blessings resulting therefrom are incalculable; the psalmist lists a few of them in the following verses.

Verse 2—His descendants will be mighty upon the earth. The Hebrew word for mighty is gibbor meaning “powerful; by implication warrior, or champion, chief, giant, mighty, strong (man), valiant.” When we think of the concept of mighty, we mustn’t fall into the trap of defining mighty as the world defines it, which usually involves money, power and fame. One can be gibbor in YHVH’s sight and not possess those attributes that society requires for one to be considered “great” or “mighty.”

Verse 3—He will possess wealth and riches. Wealth is the Hebrew word hon meaning “enough.” Therefore, the Bible defines wealth as having enough. How does one define enough? How many people on earth do not have enough? What are our needs versus or wants? If our needs are met, then we have enough. If we have more than that, then we have an over abundance and are truly wealthy. Not only that, but are wealth and riches to be defined only in terms of material possessions? How about expanding the definition of wealth, riches and enough to include good health, family, marriage and friends? Let us take these ideas to the higher spiritual plateau to include redemption or salvation, the receipt of the Spirit of Elohim into one’s life, divine revelation from the Word of Elohim, a relationship with Yeshua the Messiah, and eventually eternal life including inclusion into the very divine family of Elohim. Now do you feel that you possess wealth and riches and have enough, even though you may not be rich monetarily? If so, give Elohim the praise! If, not, then get saved by coming into a spiritual relationship with Yeshua, and then begin to count the blessings that will follow as a result!

Verse 3—His righteousness endures forever. What does this mean? This can be taken to mean several things. First, one’s righteousness endures through one’s posterity because if one has raised one’s children in the fear of Elohim, and they in turn will pass these values on to their children and so on. Second, as spiritual salt and light, one has also influenced the world around themselves to make it a more positively and a better place. Like a pebble dropped into a lake, the ripples of one’s actions will reach out and touch many lives for years to come. Third, the righteous man has the hope of eternal life, therefore, he will live forever before Elohim because he fears Elohim in righteousness. What is righteousness? It is adherence to the commandments of Elohim (Ps 119:172) and delighting in said commandments (Ps 112:1).

Verse 4—Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness. This is a huge promised blessing! The righteous man will be given divine revelation as to what to do and where to go when those around him are walking cluelessly in confusion and darkness.

Verse 5—He deals graciously and lends. He is so blessed of YHVH that his cup overflows and he is a blessing to those around him. Most people are takers because they are in survival mode and they do not have enough left over to be a blessing to others. On the other hand, those who fear Elohim find themselves in his blessed river of life and the blessings therefrom overflow onto others.

Verse 5—He will guide his affairs with discretion. Discretion is the Hebrew word misphat meaning “a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree, determination, discretion, or to be judged.” This means that he will be able to rightly discern between right and wrong and make proper judgments when facing life’s uncertainties; he will know what to do and when to do it, thus ensuring that he will always make the right decision, which leads to good results and blessings.

Verse 6—He shall never be shaken. This is because the righteous man is standing on the solid rock of YHVH Elohim and his Word or Truth.

Verse 6—The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. His legacy will live on after his death both on earth and in heaven.

Verse 7—He will not be afraid of evil tidings. Why is this? Because his heart is steadfast trusting in Elohim. This is because he is on the right side of Elohim, therefore, heaven is on his side. What is there to be afraid of? If Elohim be for us who can be against us (Rom 87:31)? 

Verse 9—His horn will exalted with honor. This is the ultimate and highest blessing of the man who fears Elohim and delights in his commandments. Power and honor will be his, and not as men define these terms, but has heaven defines them,which are true and everlasting power and honer!

Psalm 112:4, Light in the darkness. YHVH promises to give light in the darkness to those who fear him and delight greatly in his commandments (v. 1). Light in the darkness is knowing what to do when others are walking around blindly in confusion. It is divine guidance and revelation. As YHVH commanded light to shine in the darkness on day one of creation, so he will command the divine light of his Truth to shine into the darkness of our life situations and we will instantly know what to do and where to go. 

 

Judgment for the Wicked, Rewards for the Righteous—Meditations on Psalm 50

This psalm presents several fundamental biblical truths that should ignite the fires of hope for the saints of YHVH Elohim. First, YHVH, the Mighty One or El, is coming to judge the earth and the wicked thereon with the fires his judgment. Second, out of this, he will deliver his saints from that fire and will gather those who are in a covenant relationship and who glorify him through the sacrifices of praise and who walk righteously. Wherever his saints may be, whether in heaven or on (or in) the earth, he will show them salvation.

Psalm 50:0, A Psalm of Asaph. Asaph is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 16:5. He also wrote Psalms 73–83.

Psalm 50:4–6, heavens…earth…gather my saints. This verse declares that YHVH will gather together his saints from the heavens and from the earth that he may judge them (see also Deut 32). This is referring to the last days’ judgment seat at Yeshua’s second coming when the righteous saints, both the living and the dead, will be transformed into immortality. What is interesting to note here is that these verses indicate that two things. First, when YHVH comes to gather his saints, some saints will be in heaven and some will be on this earth (1 Thess 4:15–17). Second, of those saints who are dead, Scripture elsewhere indicates that a part of them (i.e. the body and soul which is their mind, will and emotions) is dead and buried in the grave, while another part of them is in heaven (i.e. their spirit). Elsewhere Scripture informs us that when a person dies physically, their body along with their soul dies (Ezek 18:4, 20; i.e. the soul is not immortal), but that their spirit returns to YHVH (Eccl 3:21; 12:7 cp. Ps 90:10; Luke 23:46; Deut 30:4). So whether dead or alive, and wherever they may be, this verse succinctly states one of the fundamental and elementary biblical doctrines of the gospel message, namely, that of the of the resurrection of the dead (Heb 6:1–3). For YHVH as the righteous Judge of the universe will gather his saints (that is, those who are in covenant with him, as verse 5 states) together before his judgment seat, where we learn elsewhere in Scripture that he will grant them rewards in his eternal kingdom based on their good works that they did while alive in their bodies (Matt 5:19; 2 Cor 5:10).

Psalm 50:5, Made [or cut] a covenant…by sacrifice. This refers to the method by which covenants were made in ancient times between two parties. This same ritual occurred when YHVH made (or cut) a covenant with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15 except in that instance YHVH took all the responsibilities for fulfilling the covenant upon himself, for Abraham was asleep when this covenant was cut (Gen 15:9–10, 12). 

What is the lesson in this for us? Simply this: this is the model for salvation. All Abraham had to do was to have faith in YHVH and all the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant would fall upon him (Gen 15:6). We know from Paul’s discussion in Romans chapter four that the Abrahamic Covenant is the original biblical model for how an individual can receive salvation from Elohim. We know from Paul’s discussion in Romans chapter four that the Abrahamic Covenant is the original biblical model for how an individual can receive salvation from Elohim. 

We also know that when YHVH made his covenant with Abraham, the vision Abraham had while he was asleep prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s death on the cross and his initiating the new or renewed covenant as prophesied in the Tanakh (e.g. Jer 31:31–33; also see my notes at Gen 15:12–21). 

Moreover, Yeshua at his last supper and subsequent crucifixion fulfilled this ancient prophecy as well as the spiritual types and shadows discussed in Psalm 50:7 and Genesis 15:9–21. At his last supper, Yeshua made a new covenant with his disciples through his body (the bread) and blood (the wine), which redeemed believers now commemorate when they take communion. 

And as they were eating, Yeshua took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt 26:26–28)

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (1 Cor 11:24)

Prior to his death on the cross, Yeshua’s predictively explained the significance of his broken body and spilled blood as it relates to covenantal agreement between him and those who would place their faith in him (as Abraham did in Gen 15).

35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.…47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.…50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.…58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:35, 47, 50, 53, 58)

In the context of the Passover service when the saints through the ritual of communion annually commemorate Yeshua’s “cutting” the new covenant with his saints and then ratifying that covenant through his death, Paul has the following to say about the significance of Yeshua’s body:

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (1 Cor 11:26–29)

Those who carelessly take communion are literally disrespecting not only the high value of the covenant that was made (or cut), but the tremendous price of making a covenant with Elohim (i.e. it cost Yeshua his life, and the believer must also die to himself as he accepts, unconditionally, Yeshua as his Lord and Master). Moreover, careless partakers of communion are not only underestimating the cost of their salvation, but the value and the benefits of that salvation, which is spiritual rewards including eternal life. Elohim is not only not duty bound to give immortality to such people, but would be foolish to immortalize people who don’t sufficiently recognize and appreciate the cost and value of covenantal agreement. In doing so, he would risk having another rebellion on his hand at some point in the future.

So when Yeshua died on the cross, he become the sacrifice that was cut (i.e. his body was brutally mutilated prior to and during his crucifixion) to which this verse in this Psalm 50 makes allusion. 

Moreover, Abraham not only had faith in YHVH, but he had to walk out that faith the rest of his life, for faith without works is dead (Jas 2:14–26). Similarly, those who place their faith in Yeshua must also back up that faith by doing his words (John 5:24), doing good (John 5:29; 3:21), loving him and keeping his commandments (John 14:15), coming to the light of Elohim’s truth (John 3:20–21), and showing that they are overcoming the word, the flesh and the devil resulting in eternal life and great spiritual rewards in the world to come (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). 

At the same time, those who don’t place their trust in Yeshua by accepting the covenant he “cut” through his death on the cross and then by backing that faith up with good deeds, or those who have “accepted” Yeshua, but lightly esteem him, will have a terrible price to pay.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (1 Cor 11:29–30)

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28–29)

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

Psalm 50:8, Continually before me. Yeshua the Great High Priest is continually before the throne of Elohim interceding on behalf of his people (Rev 7:9, 10, 17).

Psalm 50:12, The world is mine. The earth belongs to YHVH, but the cosmos (the kingdoms of this world and their man-made systems) belong to Satan (Matt 4:8–9).

 

The Blessings of Having YHVH in Your Life—Meditations on Psalm 34

Psalm 34:7, The angel of YHVH encamps [or surrounds, encompasses]. Those who fear YHVH by worshipping and obeying him have the promise of divine protection. The angels are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14), and YHVH “shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Ps 91:11–12).

Psalm 34:9, Fear of YHVH…no want [or lack]. Elsewhere, Scripture reveals that the fear of YHVH is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Why should people with these attributes have any worry of lack? When we not only fear YHVH reverentially, but dread the thought of sinning by going against his Torah-instructions in righteousness, which are there for our good and, if followed, bring nothing but blessings upon us, why should we experience any physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual lack of anything?

Psalm 34:15, The eyes of YHVH. What are the eyes of YHVH? We find this same phrase in Psalm 33:19. This phrase can mean “in the mind or opinion of YHVH” (e.g. Gen 6:8; Deut 13:8; 1 Sam 16:24; 2 Sam 15:25; et al). 

Now to expand on the meaning of this phrase, elsewhere in Scripture, “the eyes of YHVH” seems to have a deeper meaning, for we read in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of YHVH run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” Similarly, our verse under study, Psalm 34:15, would indicate that “the eyes of YHVH” refer to more than just his opinion. Perhaps YHVH’s are searching for information upon which to make an opinion about men whether it be a good (Ps 34:15) or bad opinion (2 Chr 29:6), for we read in Proverbs 15:3 that “The eyes of YHVH are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good,” and in Proverbs 5:21 that “the ways of man are before the eyes of YHVH, and He ponders all his paths.” What are the eyes of YHVH that search the earth and the heart of men? Revelation 5:6 gives us a clue: “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim sent out into all the earth.” Likely these seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim, relate to the seven Spirits of YHVH in Isaiah 11:1–2 which are:

  • The Spirit of YHVH
  • The Spirit of wisdom
  • The Spirit of understanding
  • The Spirit of counsel
  • The Spirit of might
  • The Spirit of knowledge
  • The Spirit of the fear of YHVH

Psalm 34:18, Broken heart. This could be understood to be a circumcised heart rather than a heart broken by grief. This calls to mind the words of Yeshua in the beatitudes: “blessed are the poor [or helpless and crippled] in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom,” and “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt 5:3–4).

Psalm 34:19, Many are the afflictions. It is part of the human condition for both the righteous and the wicked to experience trials, afflictions and difficulties in life. This is, in part, is a result of the fall of man and the curse of sin that came on all humans as a result thereof. Some of our afflictions are a result of the bad choices that we make, or due to circumstances beyond our control. Other times, heaven allows afflictions to come upon us for our spiritual growth and development (e.g. Job; or Deut 8:2–5; Heb 12:3–11). But there is a difference between the afflictions that come on the wicked and the godly. The former, who either ignores or has rejected Elohim, is left to circumstantial fate. Maybe they will come out of the afflictions better off, maybe not. However, for the godly, the sovereign and all powerful hand of YHVH is on their lives, for he is guiding and directing all that happens to them for their ultimate good as a father toward his children (Heb 12:3–11), or as a potter working with a lump of clay to fashion from it something useful and beautiful (Isa 29:16; 45:9), and, because of this, we know that “all things work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose…[that we may be] conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:28–29).

 

A Message to Senseless Fools Who Are Unsaved—Meditation on Psalm 49

Psalm 49:1–14, This psalm is an evangelistic message to the unsaved. This entire psalm is a good basis for a sermon to the unsaved or spiritually lost.

Psalm 49:4, Dark sayings [or riddles] on the harp. Harp is the Hebrew word kinor from an unused root word meaning “to twang.” Poetic music is a though provoking way to “preach” the gospel; it touches the heart of man in a special way. This is because music is capable of bypassing the innate defensiveness of the mind and can go straight to the heart.

Psalm 49:7, None…can…redeem his brother. In that all men are of equal value before Elohim, a man can’t redeem his brother from the penalty of sin, which is death. One can only atone for his own sins by dying, and once dead, there is no more possibility of living, since the wages of sin is death. So there is no possibility of a man atoning for his own sins, much less those of another; this verse makes this truth clear. 

Even if a man could live a sinless life, he could at best save only one other individual—that is, give his life in exchange for only one other sinner. Only Yeshua who was the Creator of all humans life (Col 1:16; Heb 11:3) could exchange his sinless life for all humanity, since common logic tells us the one who creates something is of more value than the sum total of all that he creates. This is why verse eight states that the redemption of men’s souls is costly, since it cost the life of the Son of Elohim, the Creator of all things. Only this costly sin sacrifice could redeem men from the pit of the grave and give men the gift of eternal life (verse nine).

Another point to consider in this discussion is that since Yeshua was born of a virgin and not of the seed of man, his nature wasn’t polluted or defiled by Adam’s sin nature. If he had not been born of a virgin, this would have disqualified him from being the perfect and blemish-free Passover lamb sin offering for the remission of men’s sins before the judgment seat of Elohim. Since the life of man is in his blood (Lev 17:11), and man’s blood was defiled by Adam’s sin nature, and since Yeshua’s blood didn’t derive from man, but from his Father in heaven, Yeshua’s blood was acceptable to a holy Elohim as the required atonement for the redemption men’s souls (Lev 17:11 cp. Isa 53:10). No man except Yeshua has ever met these criteria, thus no man other than Yeshua is qualified to atone for another man’s sin. 

Because Yeshua was the blameless and sin-free Passover lamb, those who spiritually identify and unite with his atoning death through faith and the ritual of baptism for the remission of sins can now be presented as blameless as well before Elohim in heaven (Col 1:21–23).

Psalm 49:8, The redemption of the soul is costly. Indeed it is, for it cost Yeshua his life.

Psalm 49:9, Continue to live. In other words, the soul is not immortal.

Psalm 49:10–20, The senseless person. That which the world esteems is an inversion of the truth and reality and is, therefore, anathema to and enmity with Elohim (Jas 4:4). The redeemed are those who have come out of the confused mixture of light and darkness or good and evil (called Babylonianism) of what worldly people esteem (1 Cor 6:17; Rev 18:4), and who no longer esteem that which the unsaved foolish or senseless people esteem (i.e. wealth, the houses and monuments they create to last forever to honor their memory, as well as the lands they name after themselves, v. 11). This is the way of the senseless and foolish person (v. 12). The wise person knows that all humans death comes to all humans, and all die like common animals (vv. 11, 20). Only Elohim has the power to redeem our non-immortal soul from the grave (v. 15), so that a person will see the light of life again (v. 19) at the resurrection of the righteous dead.

Psalm 49:15, Redeem my soul. This verse tells us that the soul (i.e. the mind, will and emotion) is not immortal, but dies along with the body. Ezekiel confirms this truth when he declares that the soul that sins will die (Ezek 18:4, 20). Moreover Yeshua’s soul died as well, making atonement for man’s sin when it went into the grave (Isa 53:10–11) in fulfillment of Leviticus 17:11 which says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

Shall receive me. To be received of YHVH Elohim as his a resurrected, glorified and immortalized child is a far greater reward than all the wealth, possession, fame, honor and glory this world has to offer a person.

“But Elohim will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.” This is a generic reference to the resurrection of the righteous dead. Using a kal v’khomer or light and heavy (a fortiori) rule of logic (or Hillel’s first law of Biblical hermeneutics or interpretation), we can reason that if the righteous dead are resurrected how much more so YHVH’s righteous Messiah?

Psalm 49:19, Light or light of life (see NKJV marginal reference). This is a Hebraic idiom for the resurrection of one’s dead body (cp. Ps 56:13; Isa 53:11).

 

Psalm 46—Discovering Layers of Meaning in Scripture

Psalm 46:1–11, Amidst geo-political turbulence, divine protection and a heavenly lifeline exists for the saints. What is the overall message of this psalm? Even though the chapter subheading of my NKJV Bible, for example, describes this psalm as “God the refuge of his people and conqueror of the nations,” there is a deeper, more inspiring message to be discovered here that this title misses. Let’s dig into this precious morsel of the Word of Elohim to discover what this life-changing message is.

When it comes to discovering the hidden golden nuggets in Scripture, one must be willing to become a spiritual hardrock miner who is not averse to the difficult work of picking away at the seemingly unyielding and implacable rock and soil to uncover the mother lode of hidden treasure underground. Like digging for gold, the deeper one digs into Scripture and the more time and effort one invests in the process, the more likely one is to pull the unspeakably valuable treasures out of the spiritual bedrock of the Bible. I have been digging into this Rock of Ages daily for more than fifty years, and my heart and mind still tingle and pulsate with enthusiasm (please look up the meaning of the word enthusiasm for a cool nugget  of truth that reveals why I purposely chose this word) when I discover new treasures therein.

To uncover these nuggets that lay below the surface words of Scripture, it is critical to understand an important fact: There are at least four layers of understanding to be found buried in the Word of Elohim. Let’s discover and briefly explore what these are. 

Laying on the surface of Scripture, we find the peshat or literal meaning of what has been written. For example, a literal man named Noah built a literal ark of wood that floated on a literal flood of literal water,  Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, and Yeshua was a carpenter’s son from Judea who lived in the first century. On a moral or philosophical level, the ten commandments, for example, are literal rules of righteous conduct that apply to our daily lives.

Digging deeper, we come to the next level as we drill down deeper into the Word of Elohim. This is the remez or suggested or hinted at meaning of a scriptural passage. For example, the Torah talks about “an eye for eye” when it comes to criminal justice. This may be taken literally to mean that if you injure someone’s eye, your eye is to be similarly injured as payment for your crime, thus evening the scales of justice. Moreover, an injured eye does not require the death penalty, and the crime of murder requires more than a slap on the wrist. So what this verse is really saying or hinting at beyond its literal or peshat level meaning is that the punishment must fit the crime.

Continue reading
 

More Tools for Coping With the Craziness of the World Around Us—Meditations on Psalms 26 and 27

Psalm 26

Psalm 26:4–5, I have not sat. We must be careful about building friendship relationships with idolators (those who don’t put Elohim first in their lives) or hypocrites (those who claim to put Elohim first, but their actions speak otherwise), for in reality, they’re both idolators. Why must we carefully choose who our friends are? Because “evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor 15:33). The world doesn’t understand why the righteous want nothing to do with the wicked. As Scripture says, “In regard to these, they [the heathen] think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you”(1 Pet 4:4).

In the Bible and in reality, there are only two groups of people on earth: those who are part of the Israel of Elohim (Gsl 6:16) or the commonwealth or nation of redeemed Israel (Eph 2:11–19), and those who are Gentiles or heathens. This fact translates into two realities on the ground for the saint: those around us who are in a relationship with Yeshua the Messiah are our brethren and members of our spiritual, forever family, and those who are not. With regard to the latter group, those therein are part of the saints’ mission field, and it is our responsibility to share the gospel with them in hopes of bringing them into a relationship with Yeshua. In reality, they are not our spiritual family and therefore cannot be part of our inner circle of friends, otherwise, they will drag us down spiritually as 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us against. James and John address this issue directly and succinctly:

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim. (Jas 4:4)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)

Psalm 27

Psalm 27:1–14, The Jews traditionally read this psalm during the month of Elul (the sixth month) just before the fall biblical feasts of the seventh month, since they are eluded to therein. These elusions include

Verse 5: pavillion is suk, the root word for sukkah (relating to Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles).

Verse 5: ohel means “tabernacle” (also relating to Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles).

Verse 6: sacrifice [of joy]. Sacrifices of joy are the thanksgiving, love and peace offerings made to YHVH during the biblical pilgrimage feasts to the tabernacle of Elohim (ohel, v. 5; (this refers to all the fall feast of Atonement, Trumpets, Tabernacles and the Eighth Day).

Verse 6: joy is teruah (this directly refers to Yom Teruah or the Day of Trumpets and indirectly to the other fall feasts).

Psalm 27:1, My light…salvation…fear…strength of my life. What more does a person need? The saint has the light of Yeshua and the Word of Elohim (these are synonymous) to guide him in the gross or thick spiritual darkness of this world. He also has the divine promise of salvation or deliverance from any and every enemy that would come against him to kill, steal and destroy including death, which is the ultimate enemy. Finally he has the divine strength or power of the Creator at work in his life through the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Elohim in all areas of his life. Beyond this, there is nothing to fear in this life. In fact, many times I have quoted this verse and applied it to a particular part of my body that needed healing, and I have received divine healing. For example, as I was writing this, I humbly, yet boldly declared this promise over a pain in my back, and I was instantly healed. I now don’t have to go to the chiropractor. HalleluYah!

Psalm 27:2, Enemies…foes. Too often when reading scriptures that contains these words, we assign a person or name them. But consider this: Our foe or enemy may be a situation or condition (e.g. a health condition, emotional distress, financial problems, difficult life circumstances [e.g. flood, fire, drought, weather conditions]), or a demonic spirit entity that is behind a person or situation that is our enemy. Moreover, our enemy may be our own sinful condition or wrong attitudes, and we are now reaping the deleterious consequences thereof. So before automatically blaming someone else for our problems and the consequences thereof in our lives, let’s rethink who are what our enemies may really be.

Psalm 27:4, Dwell in the house of YHVH. How does one dwell in the house of YHVH all the days of one’s life? Is this merely hyperbolic, fanciful thinking and rhetoric on the part of the psalmist, or is it actually possible to do? Obviously as physical humans, we are confined to life on this earth while living in the earth suite of  our physical bodies. At the same time, we are seated with Yeshua in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), and our affections are on heavenly things (Col 3:2); therefore, we exist in two realities or dimensions at the same time: an earthly physical dimension and a heavenly or spiritual dimension. How? Simply this: We are a tripartite being of spirit, soul and body (1 Thess 5:23). Though the body part of is confined to this earth, our soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit can operate from and in the spiritual dimension of heaven through our relationship with Elohim through Yeshua and through the power of his word and Spirit. We can allow the Spirit to operate through us and direct and guide everything that we do, say and think, and in so doing, we are dwelling in the house or family (Heb. bayith) of YHVH, while, in a sense, temporarily living abroad on this earth away from the real home of our Father’s heavenly house, which in due time at the end of this age is coming to this earth. Amein and halleluYah!

To behold. Literally to see as a seer in an ecstatic state, to perceive by experience or with intelligence. (See also Ps 63:12.) There is more than one way to come into contact with the beauty, favor, delightfulness or pleasantries of YHVH. 

To inquire in his temple. The psalmist talks about going into the tabernacle to encounter YHVH. Since there is no longer a physical tabernacle in which the saints can go to seek YHVH, where do they now go? 

The saint is the tabernacle or temple of the Spirit of Elohim (1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16), and the Spirit dwells in one’s personal spirit. This means that one must go inside himself to seek and behold beauty of YHVH. Perhaps this is “the secret [or the covered, private, hidden or protected] place” to which the writer makes reference in v. 5.

Psalm 27:5, In the time of trouble. The house of YHVH (as discussed in my commentary on the previous verse) is the place where YHVH will hide his saints in the time of trouble. If one fails to make the house of YHVH a place of refuge during trouble-free times, how can expect to know anything about this secret place of YHVH much less go there or rely on it during troublesome times?

Set me high upon a rock. In the secret place of YHVH (which in other places I refer to as my “God-bubble” or “the spiritual force field” that surrounds me, or which the psalmist elsewhere refers to as taking refuge under the wings of the Almighty), we will find a mighty and solid rock on which to stand during times of trouble. That Rock is Yeshua our Savior, the Written and Living Word of Elohim.

Psalm 27:4, 8, Inquire…seek. Literally “look for, consider or reflect.” Such an effort takes time and energy to do, and to accomplish, one must quiet down the rambunctiousness of the soul (the mind, will and emotions), so that one’s inner man or personal spirit can rise up and speak as it is informed and directed by the Spirit of Elohim.

 

The Faith of the Saint and the Protective Faithfulness of Elohim—Meditations on Psalm 17

Psalm 17:3, In the night. That is, in times of trials, afflictions and difficulties. During times of adversity, YHVH tests us by viewing our reactions to this difficulties, and to determine the true state and contents of our heart. The true mettle of a person, that is, the contents of their heart is revealed only during times of duress and when things are not going well. The question is this: when tested, will we walk in the Spirit and manifest the fruit of the Spirit or react carnally and manifest the works of the flesh (Gal 5:16–26)? These times of darkness and testing that befall each of us from time to time is often referred to as “the dark night of the soul”; they either make or break us. Jacob encountered such a time when he wrestled with the Messenger of Elohim in Genesis 32 and came out a changed man with a new spiritual identity. Yeshua went through a similar experience in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to his crucifixion. 

Psalm 17:4, The destroyer. This can be taken as a reference to Satan who comes to kill, steal and destroy. The Hebrew word for destroyer is pereets and taken in context with its verbal root means “one who destroys by dividing violently and then robbing, that is, one who divides and conquers.” The tactics of this enemy and his human minions have never changed from then until now.

Psalm 17:8, Apple of your eye. In Hebrew, this verse literally reads “Guard [Heb. shamar] me like the little man or the pupil daughter [Heb. bat] of the eye.” Apple is the Hebrew word ‘ıyshôn literally meaning “little man of the eye [according to Gesenius and The Artscroll Tanach Series Tehilim/Psalms Commentary] or pupil.” This is because when one looks at another person, the image of a little person is visible on the pupil like a reflection in a mirror. Eye is the generic Hebrew word ayin. The idea of the little man in the eye is beautiful and poetic imagery that captures the desires of the psalmist that the Creator would keep his image in his eye (i.e. the Big “Man” or Elohim is keeping the little man or the saint in is eyesight) continually or that Elohim would guard him as he goes through life as a father does his own daughter. 

The expression “the apple of his eye” is now an English idiom meaning “to view a person favorably, to care deeply for them and to cherish them in one’s heart.” 

This same expression is also found in Deuteronomy 32:10 where YHVH views the people of Israel as the apple of his eye. Although Elohim loves the whole world in a generic sense (John 3:16), and desires that every person be saved (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9), he refers to no other people but Israel as the apple of his eye. 

It can also be presumed (as Matthew Henry notes) that Elohim will tenderly keep or protect those as the apple of his eye who keep or guard his commandments as the apple of their eye (Prov 7:2). That is to say, when we obey YHVH’s commandments, we automatically put ourselves under his protection or under the shadow of his wings as Psalm 17:8 suggests (see also Ps 91:4 and Matt 23:37).

Psalm 17:14–15, Men of the world…When I awake. Here the psalmist juxtaposes those who make material achievements their chief goal in life as opposed to those who seek first the kingdom of Elohim and his righteousness. The former have their reward in the physical life, while the latter have a greater reward to come in the next life when they awaken from death in the likeness of Elohim as possessors of immortality.

Belly…hidden treasure. The belly here is a reference to the womb, and hidden treasure literally means “that which is hidden, covered over or protected.” This is a clear reference to babies in the womb, which are a treasured gift that heaven gives to both the wicked and to the righteous alike. Those who murder their children through abortion or neglect or abandon these little divinely granted treasures are literally spurning or rejecting Elohim’s gift to them—a grave affront to the Almighty and his generosity to be sure!

Psalm 17:15, When I awake. This is one of the most notable passages in the Tanakh proving the validity of the concept of the resurrection of the righteous dead. Here David expresses his faith in the hope of the dead saints to eternal glory in the Presence of YHVH’s in his eternal kingdom. Corollary scriptures to this include Ps 16:10–11 and 1 John 3:1–3.

The Rapture of People out of the world