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PSALM 25

ALEPH PART FOUR

“Unto thee, O Lord,
do I lift up my soul”
Psalm 25:1

ALEPH.* In this Acrostic Psalm (see Part Two) David is setting forth the posture of one who through the experiences of life has come to a place of total reliance upon his God for the keeping of his soul. Gone are the self-reliance and the zeal of his youth. The aged man has now learned the value and the truth of the Lord as his shepherd. The fickle soul of man must ever be lifted up unto God for safe-keeping. The purpose of all our experiences in life brings us to the ALEPH of God; He is the Saviour and the Keeper of our very lives. These are more than mere words and must be accompanied by brokenness of spirit and gratitude of heart. This is not something uttered in a special moment of prayer but the very position from which His elect face the reality of life. It is here that the truth of Him makes the deep and lasting impressions of grace; a grace which has wrought upon an individual the need to abide and trust in God alone.

“Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul” is the cry of the human heart reaching out unto Him who alone is worthy and able to satisfy the desire of every man. It may be the faint whisper of one weighed down with the afflictions and circumstances of life or the sigh of the weary seeking rest. His throne is one of grace for us to find the succor of God in time of need. Grace and power flow from the heart of the One who so loved us that He offered Himself in our stead to be our answer for the sin, the rebellion and the ignorance of our utter hopelessness. The lifting up of our soul unto Him is the revelation of a faith rooted and grounded in the knowledge that He hears us and cares for us. As children we have placed our well-being in the hands of men, our beliefs or our own strengths but with the passing of time we are brought to the power of this one truth: “Unto Thee, O Lord”. The journey into Him has brought us through the disappointment of trusting in other things and especially trusting in ourselves. As a child “weaned from his mother” (Ps. 131:2) so are we weaned from our dependency upon other things.

This is the ALEPH of our deportment of life in God. Through the mountain top experiences and down to the dark and dreary days of discouragement the pilgrim of faith has been brought to this abiding temperament of heart…

“Unto thee, O Lord,
do I lift up my soul”
Psalm 25:1

NOTES ON PSALM 25

PSALM 25 is an Acrostic Psalm where each verse begins with an orderly sequence of the Hebrew Alphabet (Verse One Starts with the letter ALEPH)

*ALEPH: Historically Aleph means oxen; thousand; teaching; master…Divinity ‘Master of the universe.’ The Divine ‘One’ revealing Himself throughout the plurality of Creation. It is the first of all the Hebrew letters and is the representation of God’s Oneness and Power. **ALEPH is a unified graphic depiction of Him in relation to His Work, His Power and His Relationship to creation. Its upper right section consists of the Hebrew letter yod, the first letter in the Name of God (YHWH). A second yod in the Aleph’s lower left segment implies the Creator with and in His creation. The central diagonal connecting column is the vau, a Hebrew letter signifying transformation and change. Aleph thus reveals God’s primary intention of bringing forth man in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26) whereas creation is merely the beginning of His work and purpose. The design of this letter communicates Him as the Father/Creator of all things with the intent to bring about the wonder of transformation and change via relationship in and through the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

ALEPH is revealed in Ezekiel’s vision of the four living creatures as the Ox which imparts to us the sacrificial nature of the heart of Jesus our Saviour. These four faces as seen by Ezekiel reveal His Character in the beauty and wonder of the Son. Ezekiel’s setting forth of these four living creatures is one as having the appearance of a man. There is only One in heaven whom God is interested in revealing and honoring: The Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

“Also out of the midst thereof
came the likeness of four living creatures.
And this was their appearance;
they had the likeness of a man”
Ezekiel 1:5

Jesus in His discourse with the religious men of His day declared,

“Search the scriptures;
for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me”
John 5:39

The four-fold Gospel of Jesus bears witness to these faces.

Matthew ——————– Lion
Mark ———————– Ox
Luke ———————– Man
John ———————– Eagle
(To be addressed in a later writing.)

**“The original pictograph for this letter is a picture of an ox head (ox head did not paste) representing strength and power from the work performed by the animal. This pictograph also represents a chief or other leader. When two oxen are yoked together for pulling a wagon or plow, the older and more experienced one leads the other. Within the clan, tribe or family the chief or father is seen as the elder who is yoked *** to the others as the leader and teacher.

The Modern name for this letter is aleph and corresponds to the Greek name alpha and the Arabic name aleph. The various meanings of this root are oxen, yoke and learn. Each of these meanings is related to the meanings of the pictograph . The root (אלף) is an adopted root from the parent root אל (el), written as in the original script, meaning, strength, power and chief and is the probable original name of the pictograph .” (The Hebrew Alphabet by Jeff A. Benner) http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/alphabet_letters_aleph.html

*** It is in this understanding of the yoke represented by this letter where we are afforded the beauty of Jesus’ invitation to us “to take His yoke” upon us (Matthew 11:29). It is in our being “yoked” with Him that we come to know His Ways and His Heart. Change can only be wrought in us via relationship with Him. While the religious desire intellectual knowledge (as revealed in Eve reaching for the “tree of knowledge”) the true in heart know that it is only in us partaking of the “Tree of Life” that His Life becomes ours.

We would also like to acknowledge the contributions from the following sources:

Alfred Jones, “Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names”
Jeff A. Benner “The Hebrew Alphabet”
Hebrew Today website
Aleph – Wikpedia website
Andrew Jukes – “Types in Genesis” and “The Names of God”
B. E. Crowley
C.R. Oliver
Rabbi Michael L. Munk -- “The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet” (Mesorah Publications)
Abiram Publication – www.abiram-publications.com
Jeremy Aranoff – “Torah, The Quintessential Blueprint”

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Heart of a Priest

Part 8

“And when he prayed for his friends,
Jehovah turned the captivity of Job”
Job 42:10

The depth of any individual’s ministry as a priest in God’s house will always be in proportion to the degree to which they are free from the contagion of self. God’s blessings fall freely and often upon those who are able to set self aside and minister His grace into the lives around them. We read here in Job the conclusion of a heated exchange of words with three of his brother’s in the midst of a very distressing situation. The bitter words spoken in haste and rancor escalated the trial of Job to an agonizing level. Job’s release from this situation was finally obtained when he prayed for his friends. True priests work through the bitter exchanges in life, the hatred, variance and strife within the household of God for they have His end in sight; a body filled with His Glory each member functioning in a measure of the very life of Jesus to one another. It is here that the mettle and heart of His people are revealed. It is in these contentious moments we have the opportunity to approve ourselves unto God.

“For there must also be heresies among you,
so that the approved ones
may become revealed among you”
1 Corinthians 11:19 (LITV)

Those who are of the Truth will always be revealed by their conduct, character and humility. The ability to shorten our trial lies in our ability to respond with His character and grace. The words, the rejection and the outright hostility from others become the very catalyst to bring forth healing waters from our hearts. His mercy is released from those who abide in His life. The fruit of the Spirit is the outflow of any life that walks in His Spirit. In the Song of Songs the Bride describes her beloved…

“His cheeks are like a bed of spices,
a raised bed of aromatic herbs.
His lips are like lilies dropping flowing myrrh”
Song of Songs 5:13 (LITV)

The process of becoming a priest in His house is directly related to the development of His Character and Life within our own hearts. Jesus, when men beat and mocked Him, turned the other cheek. He did not reply to His accusers for He came as the precious Lamb of God! When men smote Him the fragrance of spices flowed effortlessly from Him in whom there is no guile. His words poured forth like the sweet smelling myrrh and He held His composure in the midst of all that evil man could bring upon Him! (Who is like unto Thee, Oh Lord of Hosts!) As He is so are we to be in this world. When men and women walk contrary to this, yet boast of their walk with Him, they reveal the darkness and blindness of their way. While many will reject His own, speak evil and despitefully use them, those who are His reveal His Life by praying, reaching out to the offending ones and truly desiring and seeking reconciliation. Those who are His reveal it by the life they live and gracious manner in which they respond to the circumstances of life.

“Who is wise and knowing among you?
Let him show his works by his good behavior,
in meekness of wisdom”
James 3:17 (LITV)

This is the heart of a priest which beats and ever seeks to live in this world to glorify Him regardless of the cost to self.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Let Us Draw Near

PART 2

See Part 1

“Therefore, let us draw near
with confidence to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy,
and we may find grace for timely help”
Hebrews 4:16 (LITV)

The Kingdom we seek is unlike any other for its throne, though majestic, imperial and Holy, is called the throne of Grace. It is here that weary pilgrims approach and receive mercy to finish the race that is set before each of us. It is here we can find grace to rise up against all the things which would wear us out, tear us down, and seek to destroy our confidence in the One who has promised to keep us in His care.

Failure, weakness and discouragement are only a few of the things every child of God will face many times in their pursuit of His Kingdom and Righteousness. It is in these times we are given the opportunity to draw near to the One in whom there is strength, mercy and grace. There we are made partakers of these precious ministrations of Him and have opportunities to become more like Him. He gives grace to us that we may in turn become more gracious to others. In receiving His mercy, we are to become more merciful to others. As we become strengthened we are able to minister strength into the lives of those around us.

The depth and substance of our walk with God is revealed in the ability to strengthen and encourage others. Wisdom is the ability to minister truth into another’s life. It is a divine enablement to touch the heart of another by being sensitive to the whispers of God’s Holy Spirit. Only He who knows the human heart knows the intricacies of its workings, the hidden circumstances and the inner cry. It is incumbent upon us to walk carefully in such circumstances. As we draw near to Him for our own situations we learn to draw near to Him on behalf of others. True priests discover that the real call in life is to come into such Love that the things of others become more important than our own.

It is a learned way of life; one that involves the discovery of our own failures and weaknesses whereby we are enabled by grace to see and touch the same in another’s life. This throne of Grace becomes something much more than a personal truth; it becomes the very means by which we bring others into the sphere and wonder of its power.

True ministry, heartfelt and powerful, will only flow from those who know that the Throne of God is to be the revelation of a Grace which imparts His strength and enablement into the lives of those around us. The Grace of God is never a sentiment. It is His power to cause men and women to rise up and overcome the things which stand in their way. Grace will never allow a life to be comfortable in defeat or compromise. Because of this truth, when we go to His Throne of Grace, we will not find sympathy but help and strength in our time of need.

They who have truly come to such a throne cannot be barren in the ministration of His power to others to overcome the circumstances of life. All of God’s divine attributes can only be had in the sharing of them. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”: It is in forgiving others that we receive forgiveness, and so it is with Grace…

“And of his fullness have all we received,
and grace for grace”
John 1:16

We receive grace for the grace we walk in. To those who are faithful more will be given. Those who seek their own will never excel at knowing God. Those who desire to appear spiritual will know barrenness and the emptiness within the recesses of their hearts. Those who give shall receive. Those who pray and agonize for others will find the added blessing of grace welling up as a perpetual spring within their hearts. How good and wise our God is; how gracious are His dealings and His ways. In seeking the good of others we find our own needs fulfilled. Those who desire preeminence will find the East Wind blowing upon all they seek to do for the way of selfishness leads to poverty and bitterness.

“Israel is an empty vine,
he brings forth fruit unto himself”
Hosea 10:1

The whole purpose of God in Christ is to bring forth a people who have discovered the law of His Life “Give and it shall be given unto you”; for it is the outward revelation of the inward law of Christ “Love one another as I have loved you”. He has loved us consistently and faithfully despite our wandering and the error of our ways. The surest test of our relationship with Him is revealed by our love for one another. They who have discovered the Throne of Grace are known by the love expressed in and through their lives.

“We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren.
He that loves not his brother abides in death”
1 John 3:14

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Heart of a Priest

Part 7

Grace and Truth

“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4

The New Testament truth concerning the priesthood is in stark contrast to that of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament one was part of the priesthood by virtue of birth (with certain qualifications being met); in the New Covenant, we are made kings and priests as our hearts cooperate with the dealings of God in our lives. It is no longer a position but a call whereby the individual becomes a priest by growing in the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ. As His Nature is imparted into our lives there is growth and a transformative work. No longer are we left powerless; His Life residing in our hearts brings change regardless of our age. It is here that we are afforded much grace. Much more than mere statements or religious doctrines, Truth is a life; nothing less than the Life of Jesus being held by faith within the core of our hearts. Living truth is in itself the expression of grace. We must submit to the working of His Way into our lives. No priest can be true if there is a diminishing of God’s Holy Word, His Call or His hatred of sin. True priests are unwavering in the ministration of truth.

Truth will never violate grace and grace will never violate truth. Jesus in dealing with the woman taken in adultery was moved with great compassion toward her. He spoke to the “religious elite” of His day concerning their own issues and then turned to the woman who was before Him and spoke the gracious words “neither do I condemn you”. Such unmerited grace! The Gospel today is full of this powerful truth, however, the complete words of Jesus are often left out of the sermons for He goes on to say “Go and sin no more”! This is Living Truth where grace and holiness meet.

“Mercy and truth are met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other”
Psalm 85:10

“For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”
John 1:17

These expressions are only known in those who have tasted of His judgements and His grace to such an extent that the two are one in word and in deed.

“And hath made* us kings and priests
unto God and his Father”
Revelation 1:6

The unity of these ministrations is evidence that one has walked with God. The imprint of His holiness breaks our hearts. The Word of reconciliation to our brothers and sisters and those who do not yet know Him can only be borne by those in whom beats the heart of a priest.

Many years ago, while teaching a class on electricity and attempting to explain the basics of electrons and molecular concepts, I got thinking about salt. Salt is composed of two elements: sodium and chloride. We are called to be salt in this world, to minister him in every phase of our lives. Salt, like truth, is composed of two elements each of which are poisonous; but combined in God’s wisdom salt becomes indispensable to us. It heals, it preserves and it generally makes things more palatable. Religious ideas of grace or holiness are also deadly. Grace without holiness or holiness without grace will destroy the very fabric of a man’s soul. However, combined in the life of the Son they are the means of my salvation and of those around me.

Men and women who bear this living truth know full well the horrors of who they are apart from Him but in the piercing revelation of His light they cannot help but preach righteousness. Isaiah beheld God (Isaiah 6) and was instantly aware of his own condition (as well as all other men) yet he was a flaming expression of God’s truth and holiness. Those who have seen God cannot preach any other Gospel. They cannot make room for compromise within their own hearts or in the lives of those around them. He who is Holy has called us to be holy.

The garments of the High Priest in the Old Testament were white linen with the colors of Blue, Purple and Red woven in. Each of these colors speak of the wondrous virtues of our Great High Priest which become ours as we walk with Him. The Blue speaks of His Holiness and the Red speaks of Grace and Mercy (Redemption). The royal colour Purple is the result of the blue and the red mingled together (mercy and truth combined into one expression)  to reveal the attributes of Our King.

These things cannot be learned by books or teachings. They become ours through the medium of obedience to our Great High Priest. It must be by the Spirit and through the Spirit until we so live in Him that they are expressed through us IN the Holy Spirit. This is the making of the heart of a true priest of God.

*Note: See Heart of a Priest Part 5 Greek Meaning

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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PSALM 25

INTRODUCTION

Part One

(See Part Two)

A PSALM OF AN ELDER

“To You, O Jehovah, I lift up my soul”
Psalm 25:1

This Psalm was written well into the latter years of David’s life. It is a Psalm of a man who had an extensive history with his God; a man who had known great triumphs, great experiences on the field of battle with outward foes and the harsh experiences of treachery from within. We also see the traces of sorrow for his own dismal failures and tragic losses wherein he is freed from the boasting of his love for God or his reliance upon his own strength. This is the expression of a seasoned and learned man in regards to the depravity of man and the faithfulness of God. Theologians often term this Psalm as the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. In the reading of this Psalm there is the fragrance of a soft and broken heart from one who has come to a total reliance upon his God. The experiences of life have etched deep within the very fabric of his soul the graces and beauty of the tapestry of God’s own handiwork.

“To You, O Jehovah, I lift up my soul”
Psalm 25:1

In our own journey with God we grow through the experiences of life. The growth comes as we discover God’s Face in every situation. In the seeing of Him we must inevitably see ourselves. For He is the great mirror of truth shining forth into our lives the reflection and wonder of all that which He is whereby we are changed from one glory into another.

“But we all, with open face
beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord”
2Corinthians 3:18

The eternal imprint of a heart who has been the recipient of grace, truth and mercy is evident in the first verses of this Psalm. “Unto You O Jehovah, do I lift up my soul”! We see David lifting up to His great and personal Shepherd the keeping and preserving of His soul. These words are filled with the dependence and utter trust to which David has now come. He no longer seeks help or places his hope in anything other than God. How well we know through our own varied experiences touches of this grand truth: “God is Faithful”.

This one verse, when learned within the heart of a child of God, becomes the anchor and rock to which we can cling in every situation. The power of this verse takes on even greater significance when we read it within the context of David’s life. It is good to pause here and consider the truth of this certainty as we contemplate David’s full story. Few of men’s lives are depicted more fully in the scriptures as is David’s. God took great pains in describing, in a very transparent manner, the highs and lows of all the pages of David’s life. All of this is the canvas upon which God paints the beauty of this one central truth, the faithfulness of God. How good and precious are His ways with us.

May this opening verse be held with boundless wonder as we walk the path of following and loving our faithful God.

“Beginning well is a momentary thing;
finishing well is a lifelong thing.”
Ravi Zacharias

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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The Purpose of Grace

Part 2

“Whereof I was made a minister,
according to the gift of the grace of God given
unto me by the effectual working of his power.”
Ephesians 3:7

God gives grace with intention and purpose. Grace given corresponds to the evidential working of His power within the life of the one to whom it is given. Paul states here “whereof I was MADE a minister (a definite expression of God) according (in proportion) to the GIFT” given. This then is the revelation of His Grace received. It is to this end that we are recipients of the unmerited Grace of God: that such a precious commodity will show forth the effect of his power in our lives. Grace given does not always result in its desired end, which is why diligence, faithfulness and the fear of the Lord are the healthy responses to the giver of all good things.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am:
and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;
but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I,
but the grace of God which was with me”
1Corinthians 15:10

The “laboring more abundantly” is the fruit of true grace received. Grace always desires to glorify and honor the ONE from whom it comes. From Genesis to Revelation we see the effectual working in the lives of those to whom God invested His Grace.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”
Genesis 6:8

The Prophets in the Old Testament prophesied of this Grace that should come…

“Of which salvation the prophets
have enquired and searched diligently,
who prophesied of the grace
that should come unto you”
1Peter 1:10

The power of this New Covenant declares that this GRACE has come unto His Own in the ministration and life of the Son. Shall we not yield ourselves fully to the working out of this grace in each of our hearts? Let us embrace the “laboring” of love in our hearts in response to such beauty and unmerited favor.

We must consider that Jesus Christ left the splendor of Heaven, laid aside His equality with God and humbled Himself as a servant, even to the scandal and humiliation of the cross. How did this wonder occur? BY GRACE…

“But we see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death,
crowned with glory and honour;
that he by the grace of God
should taste death for every man”
Hebrews 2:9

The very Son of God came into this dark world divesting Himself of all deity to do the Will of the Father by Grace. Shall not we, who are the true heirs of “so great a salvation”, fully yield ourselves to the deposit of Grace given to each of us?

“But unto EVERY ONE of us is given grace
according to the measure of the gift of Christ”
Ephesians 4:7

May His Church rise up in the acknowledging of this powerful and precious truth!

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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“HEARKEN”

PART FIVE
(Part FIVE of a Five Part Series)
ISAIAH 51

To Those who Know Righteousness

“Hearken unto me,
ye that know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear ye not the reproach of men,
neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment,
and the worm shall eat them like wool:
but my righteousness shall be for ever,
and my salvation from generation to generation”
ISAIAH 51:7-8

The Hebrew Word used here for “Hearken” is the same as the one used in Isaiah 51:1 for it is unto a people whose walk is pleasing unto God. This is a people who “know righteousness”. This Word is addressed to those who know the reality of a righteousness which is empowered and made real by FAITH; for the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is alive within their hearts. They know the battle of Faith, that victory over sin is through the wonder of faith, and that by faith are they held in the beauty of His Life. It is to such that we see the gracious WORD of God encouraging and strengthening them to not be fearful of the reproaches of men, their reviling and scorn. It is a word to empower them; to consider the temporary state of their persecutors; the substance and eternal nature of their salvation in Him. We are reminded of our Lord and Saviour who for the JOY set before Him endured…

Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand
of the throne of God.
For consider him
that endured such contradiction
of sinners against himself,
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds”
Hebrews 12:2-3

The power of this Word in our day is intended by Him to be a strong one of encouragement and exhortation to LOOK and CONSIDER HIM in the things that are to come upon us. In so intently seeking HIM we will be found living in the HOPE of the Joy set before us. We will find the same divine enablement to despise the shame and suffering. It is in the unction of this living hope that we find the same graces of spirit, the same peace and comfort of heart, and the same spirit of Glory to reveal in those moments HIS LIFE and Resurrection! How good is our God to send forth His Word to us now, before the storm breaks forth upon us, that we may be comforted, empowered, free from fear and hidden with Christ in God. He invites us to flee to Him, to enter into the very bosom of His LIFE even as Noah entered into the ark.

“…as it was in the days of Noah,
so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank,
they married wives,
they were given in marriage,

until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
and the flood came, and destroyed them all”
Luke 17:26-27

Ω

“And so,
after he had patiently endured,
he obtained the promise”
Hebrews 6:15

Brian Troxel

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