Hearken, Hearken, Hearken Part Three

“HEARKEN”

PART THREE
(Part Three of a Five Part Series)
ISAIAH 51

To those who slumber in this day.

“Hearken unto me, my people;
and give ear unto me, O my nation:
for a law shall proceed from me,
and I will make my judgment to rest
for a light of the people.
My righteousness is near;
my salvation is gone forth,
and mine arms shall judge the people;
the isles shall wait upon me,
and on mine arm shall they trust.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look upon the earth beneath:
for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke,
and the earth shall wax old like a garment,
and they that dwell therein
shall die in like manner:
but my salvation shall be forever,
and my righteousness shall not be abolished”
ISAIAH 51:4-6

The Hebrew word for “hearken” used here is quite different from the one used in Isaiah 51:1 (see Hearken – Part Two). It is a word spoken to get someone’s attention; its tone is much stronger in its usage. Literally it means to “prick up the ears” or to “pay attention”. It is spoken to a people who have become “comfortable” in their ways. They are HIS own but there is a casualness in their walk; a satisfaction with the status quo in their attitude. Their expectation is no longer in God but, in a very subtle way, has turned from HIM towards an event. There is a doctrinal expectation; a hope based in a teaching not in the realization of a pure heart. In the verse below we see these two Hebrew words contrasted with each other. The “hearken” used to those who are pursuing righteousness is translated “hear”*. “To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may HEAR” (take heed and obey). The “hearken”* used in speaking to this people is used in the second part of this verse “…their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot even hear” what the Lord is speaking.

“To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear*?
behold, their ear is uncircumcised,
and they cannot (even) hearken*:
behold,
the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach;
they have no delight in it”

Jeremiah 6:10

We need to see and understand that the Lord “is a God of Knowledge” and that His heart is ever towards HIS OWN. He speaks to people according to the condition of their heart, not their intellect. Doctrinal statements and understanding will only take us so far in God for the Christian walk is a RELATIONSHIP not a theological treatise!

Here God is pleading and imploring this people to GIVE HEED to HIS WORD. He is speaking to the collective, to the masses who have become dull of hearing and slow of heart. We see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem with the cry that IF they had only known, IF they had only given HEED to God’s gracious invitation they would have been prepared for the destruction that was soon to befall her. These are HIS PEOPLE and as such HE greatly desires to call out and to gather them under the wings of HIS love and protection.

God is giving a stern reminder that the earth is going to pass away and ALL THAT DWELL in it shall die in like manner. Romans Chapter 8 tells us that to be carnally minded is death. To be a “Christian” and to love the things of this world will reap the judgements of this world (Revelation 18:4) [https://aword.info/2010/10/31/the-two-voices-3/].

Let us HEARKEN and give heed to our ways. It is a DAY for us to “weigh” whether our HOPE is a living one or a doctrinal one. The difference between the two is subtle and of the utmost importance. A LIVING HOPE will produce a PURE HEART; a doctrinal hope produces little or no actual change within the heart.

“And every man that hath this hope
in him purifies himself, even as he is pure”
1 JOHN 3:3

The flood is coming to test the foundation of every man’s house and only those who have built on the foundation of hearing and doing will stand in the day that is upon us.

But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’
and not do the things which I say?
Whoever comes to Me,
and hears My sayings and does them,
I will show you whom he is like:
He is like a man building a house,
who dug deep
and laid the foundation on the rock.

And when the flood arose,
the stream beat vehemently against that house,
and could not shake it,
for it was founded on the rock.
But he who heard and did nothing
is like a man who built a house on the earth
without a foundation,
against which the stream beat vehemently;
and immediately it fell.
And the ruin of that house was great.
Luke 6:46-49

This is a parable to the Church not the world. This is a parable to those who are slumbering in this hour, busy with the affairs of this life and who have not taken to heart the “Hearken” that God is speaking. May God raise up a prophetic people who will declare to this generation the solemn and sobering Word of the Lord to all who would hear.

Brian Troxel

HEARKEN, HEARKEN, HEARKEN Part Two

“HEARKEN”

PART TWO

(Part Two of a Five Part Series)

To the seekers of righteousness

ISAIAH 51

Hearken to me,
ye that follow after righteousness,

ye that seek the LORD:
look unto the rock whence ye are hewn,
and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
Look unto Abraham your father,
and unto Sarah that bare you:
for I called him alone,
and blessed him, and increased him.
For the LORD shall comfort Zion:
he will comfort all her waste places;
and he will make her wilderness like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of the LORD;
joy and gladness shall be found therein,
thanksgiving, and the voice of melody”
ISAIAH 51:1-3

This is a “Hearken” spoken to those in the early stages of their spiritual life who are pursuing righteousness; there is a seeking of the Lord and vitality to their walk. It is a healthy walk. The Hebrew word for “hearken” used here is one that is best translated hear and obey; to take notice. It is translated 88 times in different forms of the word OBEY (obeyed, obeys, obeyeth…). This is spoken to people who intuitively know there is a righteousness to be known that far exceeds a positional truth. There is, within their hearts, a cry for something greater than a doctrinal righteousness and they are in pursuit of it.

To them the Word of the Lord is gracious and filled with strong encouragement as they run after HIS righteousness. This is a stage of great struggles filled with victories and defeats; a stage of great personal development as with each victory strength is garnered for new battles ahead. We see here a great word of comfort as they are encouraged to look back unto the rock from whence they have been cut and the pit from where they have been rescued. The Great Shepherd wants them to see their progress and that they have indeed made strides in their growth and walk with Him! How good and gracious our God is.

He directs them to look unto Abraham their father whose life was a journey of Obedience; to Sarah who by faith received strength to deliver a child in her old age. He seeks to remind them that Abraham was CALLED, and in Abraham’s obedience he was BLESSED, and INCREASED in the goodness and the faithfulness of HIS GOD.

Within the heart of God is an understanding that in the lives of these precious ones is a perplexity they cannot articulate and questioning as they see the lack of reality around them. We see here a God who gives the promise that once again HE will comfort the waste places of Zion, that the wilderness they have known will BLOSSOM like Eden, and that the desert places will be even as the garden of the LORD. There will be JOY and GLADNESS and the melody of song. In spite of where we are, or the secret questions we may harbour in our hearts, HE has promises of good for all those that follow (pursue) after righteousness.

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 PART 2-A

PSALM 23

PART TWO-A*

“The Lord is my shepherd…”
PSALM 23:1

 

“The Lord is my shepherd.” We have no indication from the scriptures when, in David’s life, he wrote this beautiful Psalm. Whether it was at a time as a young shepherd boy out alone tending the sheep of his father, whether in a cave running from King Saul or as the King of Israel, we only know that the power of this statement was true in all of the circumstances in which David found himself. One of the most powerful words in this simple statement is the word “is.” This word conveys the truth to us of YHWH, the Eternal One, in the most wondrous terms…PRESENT TENSE. Though truth is eternal, it does not afford us much in terms of value and meaning unless it is present tense, in the here and now. “The Lord IS my shepherd.” This is the glory of faith, for faith ever seeks to impart to us the present truth of God’s being and the comfort and power of all that He is in our present circumstances.

Religion has a way of acknowledging God in the past. Martha met Jesus after Lazarus had died; “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” In other words, the present circumstances would have been different if God had responded sooner; the present situation could have been prevented. Many of God’s people have become bitter and despondent with this outlook. They are not able to reconcile the place in which they find themselves with the tender loving care of  the Lord our Shepherd. Faith is to bring the truth that His tender loving care IS with us in the moments of great distress and sorrow. “The Lord IS my Shepherd!” Martha’s expression of disappointment was the outcome of a faith that had not yet developed into the “now” of life.

Religion also has a way of meeting the present situation with a futuristic outlook. Unable to grasp the reality of the now, Martha then responds to Jesus’s statement of “Thy brother shall rise again” with a quick reference to a future event; “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Both of these responses contain traces of faith but fall short of THE FAITH.

Faith is the element of our relationship with our great Shepherd that is a living thing. Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed reveals a living thing that grows and develops over time. The past and the present responses of Martha take into account the power and the truth of who Christ is, yet His desire for us is to see Him as the great I AM. The now faith is what makes men and women of God strong and unshakeable in the world in which we live.

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble”
PSALM 46:1-2

It is in our journey with Him that the power of this truth begins to enter into the core of our hearts; our Shepherd is a present help. The situation we NOW face we face with the knowledge that HE IS, right at this moment, our Shepherd, our refuge, our strength and a PRESENT HELP in trouble.

We read in Psalm 3 of a time when David was on the run from his own son and the people of Israel did not come to David’s aid…

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me,
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,

There is no help for him in God.” Selah”
PSALM 3:1-2

He was on the run with a small band of faithful ones and the voices of the multitudes around him in his day were saying, “There is no help for him in God.” Have we not heard such voices within our own hearts as we look at the circumstances before us? Have our hearts not sunk at the enormity and the hopelessness of the thing that we were facing? Let us be encouraged in our God, for David responded to that dark hour with…

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of
people Who have set themselves
against me all around”
PSALM 3:3-6

These declarations of faith in the midst of dark and trying times can only come from those who, in following their great Shepherd, have grown into the place of knowing that…

“The Lord IS my Shepherd”

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

*Note: This is an addition to the original Psalm 23 writings
which are being made into a small booklet.

Brian Troxel

 

PSALM 23 – CONCLUSION – CONFIDENCE & REST – PART 23

PSALM 23

PART TWENTY-THREE

CONCLUSION

CONFIDENCE AND REST

“…and I will dwell* in the house of the LORD for ever.”
PSALM 23:5

The Hebrew word translated here for “dwell” comes from the primary Hebrew root word to “sit” (*see below). It speaks of a rest and a posture of confidence and comfort. David in his pursuit of God came to a point where he was confident in His God, not himself. His posture of rest was not based on some teaching or the fact that he was a King rather his rest was based on the character of HIS GOD. This statement of confidence “I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” had little to do with David’s own ability to serve God; it was founded upon the personal KNOWING that the LORD was HIS SHEPHERD! Many of God’s people struggle with this confidence, this sense of knowing and belonging. We seek for assurance by doing good things, by clinging to doctrines, assurances from others, belonging to some Christian organization, subscribing to a well-known teacher or some other outward thing to satisfy this need for security. God has only one thing to offer us: the PLEDGE of HIMSELF; the verity of HIS own character. Every action and motive that is not birthed from this place of abiding will eventually fail to satisfy the deep longing within the heart of His own. This place of rest cannot instill a sense of complacency or apathy. It must and will produce a pursuit and seeking of HIM who has become the ONE THING the true heart desires (Psalm 27:4, Philippians 3:13). The pursuit of Him is no longer based on gaining HIS approval but is birthed of an intense desire “to know HIM”.

“That I may KNOW HIM, and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death…
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this ONE THING I do…
I press toward the mark for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:10 – 14

The one who wrote the scripture above also wrote…

“But God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together,
and made us SIT together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
Ephesians 2:4 – 5

The posture of sitting together with Christ in heavenly places is born of an insatiable desire to know HIM more fully and deeply. It is the starting point of our journey. In this knowledge we will arise from our failures, disappointments and trials that are all part of the discovery of both the depths and the riches of His Grace.

Trust and confidence can only be known via relationship. Such is the heart of our Great Shepherd who leads us to the “still waters” of resting in HIM, the “green pastures” of feeding upon Him in the tranquility of His tender love and care, the feasting with Him in the “presence of our enemies” and to the discovery of His Presence with us in “the valley of the shadow of death”! Let us with great humility of heart follow HIM, seek Him and grow in the graces of HIM who is the LORD OUR SHEPHERD!

Ω

The Lord my pasture shall prepare,
And feed me with a shepherd’s care;
His presence shall my wants supply,
And guard me with a watchful eye.
Joseph Addison (1672–1719)

* H3427. יָשַׁב yāšaḇ: A verb meaning to sit, to dwell, to inhabit, to endure, to stay. Apparently, to sit is the root idea, and other meanings are derived from this. (THE COMPLETE WORD STUDY DICTIONARY: OLD TESTAMENT Warren Baker, D.R.E. Eugene Carpenter, Ph.D.)

Brian Troxel