Four days ago the horror of Islamic terror unfolded in Paris, again. We had just finished celebrating a beautiful Shabbat evening with ten Messianic and Christian friends in our home, when my teenage son came down to the lounge. He looked deeply concerned: "Have you heard what's happening in Paris? They've taken over 100 hostages." Instantly, I knew who and what he meant. I stayed up until 2:00 am, watching the incoming news descend into deeper and deeper pain, and praying. The difference between the joyful, atmosphere of deep shalom just experienced in our home and the horror of what was happening in Paris was painful.
Yesterday, many of us came together again at a weekly "Hebrew Prayer Meeting", where we intercede for Israel, the nations and the church. As we interceded for all the people who have been devastated and affected by this evil, there was also a peace that surpassed all knowledge (Philippians 4.7). We sung more than normal, worshipping the One True God. One friend commented that it reminded her of a song called "How Can I Keep from Singing" by Enya. The words and song will be at the end of this study. The words are beautiful in the face of rising evil. The rise of Islamic terror, and the migrant crisis across France and mainland Europe, is not a surprise to the LORD and Creator of the Universe. For any student of Bible prophecy the increase of tragic events - mainland Europe, the waking of the Russian bear, the increase in global anti-Semitism and the daily horror of Islamic violence and terrorism against the Jewish people in Israel - comes as no surprise. We deeply interceded for all those who are working hard to keep us safe from such evil in Great Britain and all those protecting Israel. But we are not surprised by these events, for the LORD has already written about each of them in detail, in His Holy Bible.
As we sung, I was reminded of something the LORD showed me a few days before. I was reading a Psalm in the Hebrew, with the English beside it, and noticed something for the first time. At the beginning of several of the Psalms there is an introduction, which says: "To the Director of Music." In the English this phrase sounds instructional. But in the Hebrew it is prophetic. You see, most of the time the Hebrew doesn't actually have the words "of music" there in the Biblical text! In the original Hebrew it usually says: "To the Director."
The Hebrew word for "director" is "netzach." It means: "to be enduring, lasting, to direct, supervise, set forward, oversee, excel, perpetual." So Who might King David actually be addressing his songs to? Who is "The Director?!"
Yes, in a musical situation it can also mean: "the director" [of music] and it can occasionally also means "The Chief Musician" but mostly King David is saying as he writes his songs: "To the Enduring, Lasting, Supervisor, Overseer, the Excelling and Perpetual [One]."
Many Bible verses talk of us singing to God. But He sings over us. He is from Whom we get our voice:
"The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior Who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
As I climbed the stairs in my house on Sunday, I noticed I slipped into anxiety about the events in Paris. I was tired and hadn't slept well, like many, many others I'm sure. So I said sorry to the LORD and asked Him to help me. Immediately, this song came to my mind: "Rejoice in the LORD always, again I say rejoice..." And somewhat to even my own surprise I started singing it out loud in my home.
This song is taken straight from the words of Philippians 4.4. in which it doesn't say rejoice in my security, rejoice in my provisions or rejoice in my health. It says, "Rejoice in the LORD always." Because everything else, even our earthly life, can be taken away from us. I've made my peace with suffering for His Name, I've made my peace that the length of the days I spend in this tent of a body is in His Hands. Of course, I pray for long life and a peaceful passing into His Kingdom. But, as I prayed for all those with broken hearts now, and for protection against evil, I also rejoiced - for there is a peace, a "settledness" in my heart.
A few days after Him showing me that the Hebrew often actually just says "To the Director", I read the very same description of the LORD as a "director" in a book I was reading! It was given to me recently by a lovely friend, who - together with her husband - is the Area Rep. for Christian Friends of Israel in our region of the U.K. The book is called "Appointment in Jerusalem" by Derek and Lydia Prince. The minute she suggested the book and gave it to me, I felt the timing was significant, so I read it very attentively. But it wasn't until I had almost finished that the words started jumping off the page in an Appendix written by Derek Prince, almost at the very end of the book. What is lovely is that I'm friends with a Messianic family in Jerusalem who are well-known and the Messianic father - who my son thinks is "brilliant and funny" - lived with Derek Prince and his wife for a number of years when he was younger. So I felt the book was written by someone I could trust, even though I never met him. Here is what Derek Prince wrote about God being "the Director", way back in 1975. It is profoundly prophetic and clear:
"In the unfolding revelation of God to man, Jerusalem fulfils a double function. It provides both the stage upon which truth is enacted and the centre from which it is disseminated. We can think of this revelation as a drama in three acts, spanning three millennia, of which God Himself is the Director. Each act has its special theme and each is set in Jerusalem. For Act I, we go back to the days of David and Solomon - the beginning of Jerusalem's history as a city of importance. The theme of Act I is the blessedness of an nation united under God. The climax of the revelation is Solomon's temple, with its unimaginable splendour, set in the midst of a people enjoying peace, well-being, and abundance without parallel in human history.
Yet God's purpose in sending such prosperity - as in all His dealings with the Jews - was not for their sakes alone. He designed that the testimony of this blessedness, and the reason for it, should go forth from Jerusalem to all nations. In making preparation for the building of the temple, David said, "The house that is to be built for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries" (1 Chronicles 22.5). At the apex of Solomon's reign this purpose was fulfilled. Royal visitors from all lands, the Queen of Sheba among them, came to Jerusalem to marvel at the glory of the temple, the wealth and the wisdom of Solomon, and the prosperity of all Israel. However, the glory of Solomon's kingdom was short-lived. Upon his death, disobedience and division undermined the whole structure. The northern part of this divided kingdom, known as Israel, was uprooted by Assyria and scattered among the surrounding nations. Later, the southern part, known as Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital, was defeated by Babylon. Jerusalem and the glorious temple were destroyed; Judah was removed to exile in Babylon. In due course a remnant of Judah came back to reoccupy Jerusalem and the surroundings territory. For the next five centuries the Jewish state that was thus restored struggled along in the show of various pagan empires, culminating with Rome. And the stage is set for Act II...
The theme of Act II is reconciliation - between God and man, between God's love and God's justice. Speaking as a Father to children who had turned away, divine Love called, "Come back!" But speaking as a Judge, divine Justice declared, "You are guilty; you are not fit to come." On the hill called Golgotha, just outside the walls of Jerusalem, reconciliation was accomplished. Justice was satisfied once and for all by the atoning death of God's own sinless Son, fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53.6) The Love was able to make the offer of full and final pardon, expressed also by Isaiah: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as show; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1.18).
Once again, Jerusalem was to be the centre from which the testimony of divine truth - this time the fact of reconciliation - should go forth. Speaking to His disciples after His resurrection, Jesus explained that His death had fulfilled the prophecies of Scripture and opened the way for the message of pardon and peace to be proclaimed to all nations: "Thus it is written and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24. 46-47) He also promised to endue His disciples with the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to make their testimony effective: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1.8). From Jerusalem as its centre the message of reconciliation was to go forth in an ever expanding circle - to Judea, to Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth. For nineteen centuries this has been the central thrust of Jesus' (Yeshua's) disciples.
At the close of the nineteenth century, God began to set the stage for Act III. The theme this time is the government of the nations. The issue is stated by David: "For the kingdom is the LORD's: and He is the Governor (Ruler) among the nations" (Psalm/Tehillim 22.28). The God of Israel has declared that His authority extends over all nations. Furthermore, He has appointed a King of His own choosing, of Whom He has said, "Also I will make Him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth" (Psalm 89.27). In the face of earth's opposition and rejection, He has declared, "Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion" (Psalm 2.6). To earth's rulers He has given solemn warning that He requires their submission to this King Whom He has chosen: "Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth...Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled" (Psalm 2.10, 12). By the end of Act III God will have vindicated His authority and established His King and His kingdom over all the earth.
The stage was set for Act III by a decisive intervention of God in history: the re-gathering of the Jews in their own land. On May 14, 1948, after half a century of struggle, the modern State of Israel was born. Of the countless prophecies in Scripture that refer to the close of the present age, all without exception assume one thing: the presence of Israel as a nation in their own land. Until Israel was thus restored as a nation, none of these prophecies could be fulfilled. Now the way is open for the fulfilment of them all." (Copyright 1975 Derek Prince Ministries International)
In these days, we encourage each other that the LORD is in control. Like King David, it is "To The Director" of the universe and of history that we sing:
"How Can I Keep From Singing" by Enya
"My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
What though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?
When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?"
Songwriters: Ryan, Nicky / Ryan, Roma / Ni Bhraonain, Eithne / Traditional,
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