Hebrew Highlights 58 - ELOZA
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
HAB 3:17-19, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail, And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold, And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds' feet, And makes me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.
There are going to be times when everything is just not going well. I could easily paraphrase this passage from Habakkuk thusly: “Though we in Israel are in the midst of a 5 year drought, though we are in the middle of a war on terrorism, and there are no tourists on the streets, though unemployment has reached an all-time record, and inflation figures are rising, yet will I exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”
You see, no matter what our circumstances, God hasn’t changed, and our salvation is the important matter. Let’s look into what has become a slightly archaic word in English, the word “exult”. Excepting hymns, how many times have you used that word lately? We don’t usually say, “Hey, I just got a new car. Let’s go out and exult,” or “I love my wife so much, I really exult in her”. The Hebrew word here is “eloza”. It gives the sense of merrymaking. The word for rejoice in this passage, which I’ve mentioned before on Hebrew Highlights, is “agila”, which means to spin around.
Let’s look at another passage which uses both of these words; PSA 96:11-12, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy.” I sometimes think that if we could hear the praises of the trees and plants and animals, we humans would be put to shame. God’s goodness is so evident all around us, yet in our self-centeredness, we often find it hard to look beyond our problems. Habakkuk is telling us not to only get by, or be satisfied with our situation, but to rejoice greatly therein, to spin around, to be merry.
Another interesting scripture is PSA 149:5, “Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing for joy on their beds.” Many teachers would rightly say that this means to begin rejoicing as soon as we wake up in the morning, and to finish the day with exultation before we go back to sleep. However, it could also mean when we are in our beds because of sickness.
Leaving the personal level, and returning to Israel, let’s read ZEP 3:14-17. “Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! ZEP 3:14 Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more. In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: "Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
Imagine, if God can exult over us sinful earthlings, surely we can exult over Him. I especially like the exhortation in verse 16 where God says, “do not let your hands fall limp”. This is exactly what we do when we look at our circumstances. We stop working with our hands, we stop turning the pages of God’s word with our hands, and we stop lifting our hands into the air in praise.
I really think that most of us have not even come near to the situation which Habakkuk describes. He is talking about all of the basic needs of life drying up, including bread, oil, meat, and wine. Can you imagine? No hamburgers!
When in verse 17 we read, “The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds' feet, And makes me walk on my high places,” we are taking on that super-natural strength of the Holy spirit, which will surely be enough for any state of affairs we encounter. Also, as the agile hind, we will be up on God’s mountain, seeing our troubles from His viewpoint. Hopefully, we will then realize it is time to stop worrying and complaining, and to start spinning around and being merry in our great everlasting salvation.
Shalom, Shalom, from Jerusalem.