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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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PSALM 25

INTRODUCTION

Continued
Part Three

AN ACROSTIC PSALM
(*See Psalm 25 Introduction Part Two)

Another aspect of the inspired Acrostic writings of the scriptures is one where we see the very rudiments of the language of the people of God being sanctified and set apart to describe God’s Glory and His ways.

It is estimated that there are 75,000 – 80,000 meaningful words and word compositions in the Hebrew Language* (see reference). All of these are formulated out of just 22 Hebrew characters (and a few added “jots and tittles” of which Jesus upholds the sanctity of His Word; Matthew 5:18)! The Spirit of God in these Acrostic writings takes each letter to Glorify God and to make known to us the wonders of His ways. It is in such attention to detail of the very language of men that God would make Himself known to us. He ever seeks to reveal to us the importance of common things. Things, which by themselves are thought to be incomplete and insignificant, can, and do, become vehicles for revealing His thoughts and purposes.

By His grace He endeavors to bring us to the realization that in Him everything is to be Holy and filled with His wonder. His desire is to bring us to a pure language wherein every word we utter, think and sing is filled with the worship and praise of Him. A pure word can only flow from a pure heart. The grace of God is to have such access to our hearts that even the very bits and pieces of our language will be sanctified and set apart for the Master’s use. His Spirit desires to touch, purify and sanctify the very core of our being so that we can fully express and honor Him. All creation is groaning and travailing for such a people to come forth (Romans 8:19).

The Prophet Isaiah stands in the heavens surrounded by the unspeakable Glory of the Triune God, and is instantly aware of the “uncleanness of his lips” to such an extent that he is only able to utter “Woe is me”. However, in God’s economy even the very lips of man are to be purged by the burning coals from the Altar of Heaven. He has an answer for every need of the redeemed to walk in the Holy, Holy, Holy Presence of our God. A sanctified heart will result in sanctified words “for out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak”.

We see glimpses in the Old Testament of men in whom this truth found partial fulfillment; men who walked so close with God, that God Himself watched over the very words they spoke…

“And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him,
and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
And all Israel from Dan even to Beer–sheba knew
that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord”
1 Samuel 3:19-20

The people of God desire to see the power of God revealed in our day, but men want the power without the purity, they want the signs and wonders without the Holy walk. There are many today who have no desire for righteousness, purity of heart or the cost of entering into these truths. They grow weary of men who speak of righteousness. They prefer to hear pleasant things that enable them to live in sin and be accepted by God at the same time. However, in the midst of such a generation there are those whose hearts are longing for that purity, that righteousness which is real and authentic. It is these who will walk in a salvation that has been kept for this day. God has kept the “best wine for the last” and “the glory of the latter house shall exceed the glory of the former”! Let us be encouraged to seek, pursue and admonish one another in the bonds of love and fellowship to see this come to pass!

“Who are kept by the power of God
through faith unto salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time”
1 Peter 1:5

This salvation can only be revealed in people who have been fully sanctified, fit and prepared for the Master’s use, whose very lips have been purged by the fires of the heavenly Altar. They are His in every sense of the word; the words they speak are His words and they live and walk in the Holiness of God. “Be ye Holy” is no longer a nice religious quote but rather a description of what God has accomplished within His people by the “spirit of burning”.

“When the Lord shall
have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion,
and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem
from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment,
and by the spirit of burning
Isaiah 4:4

While many today declare that we are to judge not and are not interested in the prophetic voice of those who call His people to righteousness, there are those who intuitively know the necessity of such a ministration. There is a cry within the hearts of those who understand the need for His Fire in our midst. Purity of heart is the vehicle or the means by which we can see God. It is in the seeing of Him that this great work of Sanctification is made real. God uses men. He uses the redeemed to minister to one another the fire and glory of His presence. Had Peter not confronted Ananias and Sapphira with God’s Glory the move of the Spirit in their day would have soon become polluted with religion and hypocrisy. Such words of power are reserved for those who walk in the fear of the Lord; those whose hearts have been purified and set apart for God’s use, not their own.

May God do such a deep and eternal work in our lives that the very words of our mouths and the meditations within the secret places of our hearts are pleasing unto God!

“Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer”
Psalm 19:14

Only a sanctified heart can speak the Holy Words of our God and King

“Where the word of a king is,
there is power”
(Ecclesiastes 8:4).

Ω

“But who may abide the day of his coming?
and who shall stand when he appeareth?
for he is like a refiner’s fire…”
Malachi 3:2

* Reference: “The academy of the Hebrew language estimates 45,000 words, in addition to 30,000-35,000 word compositions (school in Hebrew is book-house בית-ספר, for example), which totals the estimate in 75,000-80,000 meaningful expressions of either words or word compositions. Note that this estimate includes many biblical words still used today.”

Source: http://hebrew-academy.org.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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PSALM 25

INTRODUCTION

Continued
Part Two

(See Part One)

AN ACROSTIC PSALM
(*SEE NOTE #1)

Not only is Psalm 25 one of the seven Penitential Psalms it is also one of the nine Acrostic Psalms (Psalm 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119 and 145). In the Ancient Hebrew language an Acrostic writing (*see note #2) is one in which the arrangement of the text is structured and constrained according to the Acrostic Law: each verse (or group of verses as in Psalm 119) begins with consecutive letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. Acrostic writings are a structured design according to the intent of the author. It is a type of writing that requires forethought and planning; an expression undertaken with deliberation and intent. As with all of God’s expressions we find in this a revelation of God’s character and being. His Word is never hastily spoken or expressed without the full intent of His thought and heart. God, being who He is, is bound by the wonder of His Glory and Character. It is this unassailable truth that causes all who love Him to worship and praise Him. He is never rash or given to sudden outbursts for He is governed by the constraint of His Own Character. Righteousness, in part, is growing into His likeness concerning this aspect of God. As we grow in this righteousness rage, lust, temptation and other impulses of behavior are now ruled by the wisdom of His Life within our hearts. There is the constraint of the Spirit to bring forth a tempered and measured response to the circumstances we face. An Acrostic inspired writing follows a law of expression to give us insight into this particular facet of God’s Glory.

In this Psalm, though each verse (by pre-design) begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the theme flows with a central subject even while it is constricted to a severe style of writing. So is it to be in our own lives; the central purpose of revealing Him is governed by the law of His Life within us. Our growth into Him is to become more like Him in the common flow of everyday life. Growth is revealed in the desire to communicate His words and thoughts into the lives around us. The fear of the Lord causes us to measure our words because we know the things we speak will be weighed in the balances of His Righteousness. As the Proverb declares “the tongue of the wise is health”. Those who love God, and know of this discipline and grace, are always in the grip of being “instant in season and out of season”. The difference between a flood and a river is that the river is channeled and flows within the banks of God’s appointed purpose.

“My heart is inditing a good matter:
I speak of the things which I have made touching the king:
my tongue is the pen of a ready writer
Psalm 45:1

One does not have to read many of the Psalms to know some of the expressions spring from great moments of spontaneous praise while others give expression to deep discouragement and penitence. Here however we find the “constrained” and well thought out theme. As mentioned earlier this is a Psalm of a seasoned Elder, a man of considerable experience with His God, and it reveals the thoughts and state of David’s heart.

God is not rash in dealing with His Own. There is a deliberate and steadied response to our iniquities and sins. There is a fragrance we discover in this Psalm of a Covenant Keeping God; a God who keeps and reveals His purposes and covenant with those who “fear Him” (verse 14). He does not alter His call upon anyone who seeks Him with a pure and right heart. Though great and many are the faltering steps of His Own…He is the Covenant Keeper. How precious are His ways and His thoughts towards us! It is in our dark times of great trial and perplexity that we can call to mind this character of our God who holds us in the firm and steady grip of His own being. Those who are His have this assurance within their own hearts, not on some doctrinal level, but as a living truth that brings security when we are broken and have faltered in our way. If we hold such things as a mere doctrine, we will never know of the sorrow or brokenness of heart that accompanies our transgressions.

“For Your name’s sake, O Jehovah,
even pardon my iniquity for it is great”
Psalm 25:11

It is in seeing Him who is constrained by His own love and purposes that we begin to see in part the power of this truth being developed in our own lives. Things which would have brought unrestrained expressions of anger and bitterness in the past become less and less as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Wisdom and peace become the arbitrators of our heart as we progress in our walk with Him.

“And wisdom and knowledge
shall be the stability of thy times…”
Isaiah 33:6

It is in this stability and knowledge of God’s keeping power that we settle into the Arms of our Everlasting Father.

“Surely I have behaved and quieted myself,
as a child that is weaned of his mother:
my soul is even as a weaned child.
Let Israel hope in the LORD
from henceforth and for ever”
Psalm 131:2-3

NOTE #1: Acrostic (etymology) comes from the French word acrostiche derived from the Latin word acrostichis which is from the Greek word ἀκροστιχίς a compound word of ἄκρος meaning highest point or top, and στίχος meaning verse.

NOTE #2: List of Acrostic writings in the Old Testament

1: Psalm 25 Each Hebrew consonant covers 1 verse.
2: Psalm 34 Each Hebrew consonant covers 1 verse.
3: Psalm 37 Each Hebrew consonant covers 2 verses.
4: Psalm 111 Each Hebrew consonant covers ½ verse.
5: Psalm 112 Each Hebrew consonant covers ½ verse.
6: Psalm 119 Each Hebrew consonant covers 8 verses.
7: Psalm 145 Each Hebrew consonant covers 1 verse.
8: Lam 1- 4 In chapter 1 and 2 each Hebrew consonant covers 1 verse which consists of 3 stanzas. In chapter 3 each consonant covers 3 stanzas/verses, therefore it has 66 verses.
Chapter 4 has 22 verses, each consonant consists of 2 stanzas beginning with that letter of the alphabet.
Chapter 5 has 22 verses, but is not an alphabetic acrostic.
11: Prov 31: 10 –31 Each Hebrew consonant covers 1 verse.
12: Nahum 1: 1- 9 The Aleph covers three lines. There seems to be an interjection of 2 lines before the rest of the consonants, which covers only one verse each. The letter zayin appears in the second position of the line.

“In the common form of acrostic found in Old Testament Poetry, each line or stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. This literary form may have been intended as an aid to memory, but more likely it was a poetic way of saying that a total coverage of the subject was being offered — as we would say, ‘from A to Z.’ Acrostics occur in Psalms 111 and 112, where each letter begins a line; in Psalms 25, 34, and 145, where each letter begins a half-verse; in Psalm 37, Proverbs 31:10-31, and Lamentations 1, 2, and 4, where each letter begins a whole verse; and in Lamentations 3, where each letter begins three verses. Psalm 119 is the most elaborate demonstration of the acrostic method where, in each section of eight verses, the same opening letter is used, and the twenty-two sections of the psalm move through the Hebrew alphabet, letter after letter”. –J.A. Motyer, “Acrostic,” in The New International Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), p. 12.

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