9th October 2010, mgh
1) Praise to Yahweh
The Old Testament makes very clear the power of the Creator, Yahweh, and His relationship to mankind. When we turn to the New Testament, expressions such as the LORD God (Yahweh Elohim) or God (El, the mighty one) and the titles of the Deity are lost or obscured. The general term 'God' takes over from the fine distinctions used in the Hebrew. The majesty and power of Yahweh can thus be obscured in the reading of the New Testament. Many people then who rely almost solely on the New Testament miss out on the understanding which the faithful of Israel had of their Creator.
The following are some quotations from the New Testament that reveal aspects of the character of Yahweh.
The epistles to Timothy capture some of the beauty of the Old Testament writers. There is reference to the glory and honour due to Yahweh, who is powerful, immortal and dwelling in light unapproachable.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1Timothy 1:17)
That you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6: 14-16)
Jude speaks of Yahweh as our saviour. To him we must ascribe wisdom, glory. majesty, dominion and power.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)
Paul writing to the Romans explains that through the work and obedience of his son Yeshua (Jesus Christ), Yahweh's gospel of salvation has been made known to all nations.
Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)
Following Yeshua's ascension, the Apostles were continually praising and blessing Yahweh.
And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. (Luke 24:52-53)
Peter advises any who would be teachers that they should speak the words of Yahweh, so that Yahweh may be glorified. The words of Yahweh are in great detail in the old Testament and Peter believes that it is very important that those who teach should become familiar with these.
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 4:11)
The book Hebrews emphasises that Yahweh is a God of peace.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13: 20-21)
Yeshua is the son of the Highest and Yahweh will give him the throne of David and he will rule in God's Kingdom. It is clearly established in the New Testament that Yeshua is the Messiah, the promised Son of God and Yahweh is all powerful and his plans will be achieved.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favour with God. And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1: 30-33)
Simeon recognised the baby Yeshua as the Son of God (Yahweh) and he praised Yahweh through whom salvation would come, not only to the nation of Israel but also to the nations, the Gentiles.
Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For my eyes have seen your salvation, Which you have prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.(Luke 2:28-32)
The Apostle John refers to Yahweh as merciful and loving.
Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. (2 John 1:3)
In Hebrews we are shown that it is Yahweh who provides for our needs and bestows blessings.
For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes oft upon it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: (Hebrews 6:7)
In summary, in the New Testament we see aspects of Yahweh's character, but it is probably the Old Testament which shows the reverence of the faithful of Israel towards the Creator. If we turn to the words of such men as Moses and David, we begin to see the depth of their faith and dedication to Yahweh.
2) Faithful Israelites Praise Yahweh
Moses speaks of Yahweh's great power, and it is through Yahweh's mercy that salvation comes. Moses exalts and praises Yahweh and teaches the people a song that would in the future remind them of their amazing escape from Egyptian bondage, through the wonder of Yahweh's great power.
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spoke, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. …. your right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: your right hand, O LORD, has dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of your excellency you have overthrown them that rose up against you: you sent forth your wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of your nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. ...Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them. you in your mercy have led forth the people which you have redeemed: you have guided them in your strength unto your holy habitation. (Exodus 15: 1- 12)
Hannah had prayed for a son and after her son Samuel was born she again offers a prayer to Yahweh in which she praises and exalts Yahweh. She speaks of Yahweh's great power and his ultimate destruction and judgement of those who oppose his will but he “will keep the feet of his saints”.
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoices in the LORD, my horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over my enemies; because I rejoice in your salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside you: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogance come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren has born seven; and she that has many children is waxed feeble. The LORD kills, and makes alive: he brings down to the grave, and brings up.
The LORD makes poor, and makes rich: he brings low, and lifts up. He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he has set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. (I Samuel 2: 1-10)
When David proclaimed Solomon as King he proclaimed Yahweh's greatness, power and glory. He gives thanks to Yahweh and praises Yahweh's (He who will be) glorious name, which signifies that he will be manifested in those who seek Yahweh and would be saved.
Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of you, and you reign over all; and in your hand is power and might; and in your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank you, and praise your glorious name. (I Chronicles 29:10-13)
Psalm 96 shows that those who would seek Yahweh should “Worship Yahweh in the Beauty of Holiness” for Yahweh is worthy of all praise in all the earth. He must be approached with reverence and fear and he will ultimately judge the people with righteousness and in truth.
O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
Say among the heathen that the LORD reigns: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
Daniel reveals another aspect of Yahweh's character. Daniel is praying for forgiveness for his nation Israel, which has been rebellious, not listened to the prophets and trespassed against Yahweh. The nation had sinned but Yahweh was merciful and forgiving and Daniel appeals to Yahweh on behalf of the nation.
And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from your precepts and from your judgements: Neither have we hearkened unto your servants the prophets, which spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belong unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against you. O Lord, to us belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him; (Daniel 9:4-9)
Isaiah records Yahweh's words to Israel. He declares that he is omnipotent, all powerful, the Creator of all.
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though you have not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. (Isaiah 45:5-8)
Isaiah also reveals Yahweh's mercy and that he will hear his people. Isaiah reflects the heart and mind of the faithful and rejoices in the comfort of Yahweh's mercy.
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD has comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. (Isaiah 49:13)
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.(Isaiah 59:1)
In many of the Psalms there are prayers of praise and expressions of love for Yahweh and a delight in his great works and the hope of salvation. These are too numerous to quote, but some examples of praise from the Psalms are given below.
I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (Psalms 18:1-3)
I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.(Psalms 9:1-2)
Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Psalms 29: 1-2)
Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reaches unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgements are a great deep: O LORD, you preserve man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalms 36:5-7)
I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth. (Psalms 57:9-11)
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. (Psalms 70:4)
The LORD reigns, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he has girded himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becomes thine house, O LORD, for ever. (Psalms 93:1-5)
Some of the many Psalms that reflect the sentiments that have already been expressed above are to be found also in the following Psalms:
Psalms 97:1; 98:3-4; 99:1-3; 100:5; 103:8-11; 105:1-3; 107:31-32; 111:1; 113:3; 115:1; 117; 145:1-7; 148; 150.
The following quotations are expressions from Isaiah of reverence, praise and thanks. There is peace and mercy for those who place their trust and confidence in Yahweh.
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things; your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. (Isaiah 25:1)
Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. For you have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. (Isaiah 25:3-4)
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee. Trust in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD Yahweh is everlasting strength: (Isaiah 26:3-4)
I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he has bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. (Isaiah 63:7)
Jeremiah echoes the reverence of Isaiah in his praise of 'the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts' who is powerful, loving and merciful and who controls the earth and the elements. But he will judge man ' according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings'.
Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he has delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers. (Jeremiah 20:13)
Ah Lord GOD! behold, you have made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: You show lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompense the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for your eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: (Jeremiah 32::17-19)
He has made the earth by his power, he has established the world by his wisdom, and has stretched out the heaven by his understanding. When he utters his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causes the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he makes lightning with rain, and brings forth the wind out of his treasures. (Jeremiah 51:15-16)
O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. (Jeremiah 16:19)
Nahum expands on the power of Yahweh to control the earth and has reminded us that not only is Yahweh merciful, but he also displays anger against those who would oppose him. This power is displayed in whirlwind, storm and violent earth movements.
God is jealous, and the LORD revenges; the LORD revenges, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserves wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers: Bashan languishes, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languishes. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he know them that trust in him. (Nahum 1:2-7)
Micah says that we must walk humbly and love justice and mercy before Yahweh.
He has showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)
Habakkuk states that he rejoices in Yahweh who gives him strength and from whom comes salvation.
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:18-19)
These quotations from the Old Testament reveal the humility and reverence of some of the faithful men of ancient Israel. Their praise of our Creator show how far short we fall in the recognition of his great power and what is due to his name, which proclaims that he will be manifested in those he chooses and to whom he grants salvation. Yahweh is all wise and all knowing. We cannot but be moved by the words of Micah. May it be that we may always praise and reverence Yahweh for his goodness and mercy and be inspired by Micah's words:
'O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?'