Posts Tagged With: weeping

Chodesh Av 2018

I wanted to get this posted at the beginning of the month of Av, but I’ve been too busy to edit! Every year as I am intentional about celebrating the Moonthly Cycle, Abba has me focus on a particular area, a lot of which is not in my book on celebrating the New Moon. I plan to share my monthly notes from our local gatherings with you, but changing my notes to a blog post that makes sense to a reader requires quite a bit of editing. Better late than never! 

Chodesh Av

  • Month: Five (11th month on civil calendar)
  • Tribe: Shimon
  • Sense: Hearing
  • Seasons/Feasts: Three Weeks (Dire Straits – from Tammuz 17 to Av 9), Transition by Tu B’Av (Av 15), Fast on Av 9.
  • Theme: From destruction and mourning to comfort and joy, especially in relation to the House of Adonai.

Month five has correlations with day five of creation. That is the day that the birds and fish were created to swim and fly through the wind and water currents of the earth. These are also those that rapidly spread Seed from continent to continent. Seeds can be likened to words or even THE Word. Words can destroy or words can bring Good News, a comfort to the world. In the following offering, see if you can pick out the themes of day five of creation.

Months four and five are connected by the Three Weeks. The sense of Tammuz was sight/seeing/vision, and the sense of Av is hearing/listening. Let’s consider the differences. The sense of seeing is more akin to having spiritual vision or being able to “see” the truth and promises of God despite what one’s circumstances and natural vision suggests. (Ex. The evil report of the ten spies. Joshua and Caleb saw the same thing as the other spies; and yet, Caleb declared, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”   [Num. 13:30, Jos. 14:6-15])

This implies that we will face spiritual forces, like giants that have fortified cities, which are people and circumstances that are much stronger than we are during Av (beginning in Tammuz). And yet, the lesson to be learned is to choose to believe the promises of YHWH despite what one sees or hears in the natural. The One in you is stronger than any enemy or circumstance. Fear not.

In light of that, I have a few questions for you to ponder from last month.

  1. How many of you were tested in the sense of “seeing” during the month of Tammuz?
  2. What giant did you face?
  3. What enemy within a fortified (strong) city sought to discourage you?
  4. Based on the Torah portions of Tammuz, did you struggle with proper or improper authorities?

From Seeing to Hearing

Gen. 29:33 (NASB) Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon.

Shimon means to hear, shema. “We will hear and we will do.” The irony of the sense of seeing coming before hearing in the months is that we cannot see without hearing first. Even a baby in the womb hears before he sees. Biblical or Spiritual vision is the ability to see what is heard: the WORD of YHWH.

What voice have you been listening to? Protect your ears! When things “look” bad in the natural do you hear a voice that says that you deserve calamity? That says, you are worthless, that you are not good enough, that you are UNLOVED by your Husband, like Leah?

If so, it’s time to give birth to Shimon. Adonai hears you, you must hear Adonai. In the Torah, Simeon and Levi act rashly with their swords on account of their sister Dinah. This cost each of these tribes a true portion or inheritance in the Land. They would be scattered in Israel. (Gen. 49) Thus, patience and waiting for the authority over us to give instruction is a test in one’s “hearing.” Just because you know something, doesn’t mean you have the authority to be the judge and executioner. A much better example of a godly Shimon is found when baby Yeshua is presented in the Temple or House of Adonai:

Luke 2:25-35 (NASB) And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation (comfort) of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  26 And it had been revealed to himby the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  27  And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,  28  then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,  29  “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word;  30  For my eyes have seen Your salvation,  31  Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,  32  A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”  33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.  34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—  35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

In the above passage, there is a righteous man named Simeon, one who hears. Simeon believed what he HEARD. Go back and look at the bolded and underlined words and phrases above. Do you “see” the words associated with hearing and seeing? Shimon was LOOKING for the consolation of Israel, that is their comfort, which ties perfectly into the themes of the Three Weeks, and the consolation of Tu B’Av. By following the moonthly cycle, we practice and prepare for this flow of time (that is, was, and is to come) in the seasons each year. Consider these verses:

Jer. 31:9-14 (NASB) “With weeping they will come, and by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, on a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.”  10 Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare in the coastlands afar off, and say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” 11 For the LORD has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he.  12 “They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, and they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD—Over the grain and the new wine and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; And their life will be like a watered garden, and they will never languish again. 13 “Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together, For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.  14 “I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,” declares the LORD.

 From weeping and mourning to consolation and joy. That is the connection between Tammuz and Av. We should expect our own walk each year to reflect the same. Simeon’s reward for believing and obeying – true HEARING-  the Word of God was that he could SEE the Comforter, Yeshua, the Consolation of Israel. And even then, the revelation was not complete as we are still awaiting His return and the fullness of the passage above. Until then, we practice. We remember. We see, and we hear.

Destruction of the House

Closely related to the above is remembering the destruction of Temple, mourning its loss, and believing for its renewal. Thus, I offer a little review. According to tradition, the first Temple was destroyed because idolatry, and the second Temple was destroyed on the account of baseless hatred among brothers. Essentially, this is God’s people breaking the two greatest commandments of loving Him and our neighbor as ourselves. Not doing so, destroys His House (and ours!).

Since Tammuz 17thmarks the beginning of the Three Weeks leading up Tisha B’Av (9thof Av), the date that both Temples were destroyed, we should expect to have tests and trials in this area, at this season.

What is the “House” or “Temple”?

  • The Body of Messiah
  • Our physical bodies
  • The Temple Mount/Zion/place of physical Temple
  • Your family
  • Your Assembly

Were any of you tested (or still being tested) in one of these areas? Have you been in a battle to keep these things from being destroyed? What is the purpose in this testing? Can’t God just take it away?

The Hidden Goodness in Av

When we see war, calamity, destruction, unfavorable circumstances with people or life in general, we have a choice to make. If God is truly for us, and we really believe that, then we must adjust our vision, outlook, and attitude to align with the Good News that we have HEARD.

Ps. 119:91-92 (NASB) They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants.  92 If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.

 Mat. 19:26 (NASB) And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 Eph. 1:11 (NASB) also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will

Do we really believe that ALL things are in God’s hands and control? That even the bad and hard things serve His purposes and are meant for our good, BECAUSE He loves us? There is a story in the Mishnah about a certain Rabbi called Nahum Gamzu that can help us adjust our attitude. I’ve written in other places about the month of Av being referred to as Menachem Av, or Comforting Father. The rabbi in the story below shares this name, Nachum, comforter. It is meant to not only redirect one’s vision or perception of life’s circumstances, but bring one consolation or comfort.

The Gemara inquires: And why did they call him Naḥum of Gam Zu? The reason is that with regard to any matter that occurred to him, he would say: This too is for the good [gam zu letova]. Once, the Jews wished to send a gift [doron] to the house of the emperor. They said: Who should go and present this gift? Let Naḥum of Gam Zu go, as he is accustomed to miracles. They sent with him a chest [sifta] full of jewels and pearls, and he went and spent the night in a certain inn. During the night, these residents of the inn arose and took all of the precious jewels and pearls from the chest, and filled it with earth. The next day, when he saw what had happened, Naḥum of Gam Zu said: This too is for the good.

When he arrived there, at the ruler’s palace, they opened the chest and saw that it was filled with earth. The king wished to put all the Jewish emissaries to death. He said: The Jews are mocking me. Naḥum of Gam Zu said: This too is for the good. Elijah the Prophet came and appeared before the ruler as one of his ministers. He said to the ruler: Perhaps this earth is from the earth of their father Abraham. As when he threw earth, it turned into swords, and when he threw stubble, it turned into arrows, as it is written in a prophecy that the Sages interpreted this verse as a reference to Abraham: “His sword makes them as the dust, his bow as the driven stubble” (Isaiah 41:2).

There was one province that the Romans were unable to conquer. They took some of this earth, tested it by throwing it at their enemies, and conquered that province. When the ruler saw that this earth indeed had miraculous powers, his servants entered his treasury and filled Naḥum of Gam Zu’s chest with precious jewels and pearls and sent him off with great honor.

When Naḥum of Gam Zu came to spend the night at that same inn, the residents said to him: What did you bring with you to the emperor that he bestowed upon you such great honor? He said to them: That which I took from here, I brought there. When they heard this, the residents of the inn thought that the soil upon which their house stood had miraculous powers. They tore down their inn and brought the soil underneath to the king’s palace. They said to him: That earth that was brought here was from our property. The miracle had been performed only in the merit of Naḥum of Gam Zu. The emperor tested the inn’s soil in battle, and it was not found to have miraculous powers, and he had these residents of the inn put to death. – Taanit 21a

 If we want to transition to the comfort of Av, or find the joy that comes after mourning, we must be able to “see” the world with eyes like Nachum Gamzu. Can we really say, “This too, is for the best”? In every situation? Even the bad ones?

We currently see only dimly. We must mourn destruction and exile (both physically and spiritually). But we must also try to “hear” the goodness that is hidden in the bitterness of any destruction we encounter in this life and KNOW that Mashiach will come to comfort us, One Day showing us how “this too was really for the best.”

Paul mirrors this sentiment in Second Corinthians. Tu B’Av or the fifteen of Av just passed a few days ago on the calendar. I hope that you are beginning to see the Light after a period of darkness and heavy trials. Be encouraged dear one, in ALL things, rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for your King is Coming to you!

And in ALL things, be able to say, “Gam zu l’tovah!”

 

2Co 4:7-18 (NASB) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  12 So death works in us, but life in you.  13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe; therefore, we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.  15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.  16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

*** By the way, those of you that decided to share your journal of the months with me, please feel free to email me at gracentorah@gmail.com with your monthly results. (I will not make you or your notes public.) Please do not include personal names or organizations when describing trials, issues, or circumstances. Thank you!

 

Categories: Moedim, new moon | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Woman Will Encompass (Eclipse) a Man

“Set up for yourself roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, The way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities. “How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth—A woman will encompass a man.” (Jer. 31:21-22 NASB)

 Today, like many other Americans, I watched the moon eclipse the sun in a stunning show of light and darkness. Our special glasses enabled us to watch the sun mimic the moon’s monthly phases in a matter of hours– waxing and waning, or in this case, waning and then waxing.

In the hour leading up to the eclipse as the light decreased upon the land, we all felt strange — like we were in a dream. The air felt different and the temperature began to noticeably drop. There was an otherworldly stillness even in the wind.[1] Since we never experience the sun’s light in this fashion, I can understand why ancient people considered a total solar eclipse to be a bad omen. Creation itself was confused as birds went to roost and crickets began to chirp. Even the fast paced to and fro of traffic stilled as drivers parked to look up.

© Chris Rogers

When the eclipse reached totality, the spectacular imagery felt at once awesome and eerie. There is something at the core of earth beings that senses the “wrongness” of darkness when it should be light. The ethereal beauty that the natural eye absorbs seems contrary to the subliminal implications that this heavenly sign might suggest. The change in the atmosphere occurred on both a physical and spiritual level.

The masses that gathered across the nation to view this stellar event were in one accord – all looking up. I wonder how many heard the wordless speech of the heavens?

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Ps. 19:1-6 NKJV)

David compares the sun to a bridegroom coming out joyful and strong from his wedding canopy. Nothing is hid from his/its heat. Today, the heat was abated for a short while by the moon. In Joseph’s dream of the sun, moon, and stars, his mother Rachel is figured as the moon.[2] We could say that Rachel eclipsed Jacob or a woman encompassed a man. In this way, the moon is a picture of the bride. In Psalm 19, David continues by comparing the glory of the heavenly bodies to the Torah. Hopefully, we are ones that have His Law written on our hearts.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. (Ps. 19:7-17 NKJV)

I pray that all the many faces that turned upward to view God’s glorious handiwork will learn to detect their errors and their hidden faults as David mentioned. Only the perfect law of liberty can reveal such things. The eternal Gospel is always being proclaimed.[3] The Torah is a Light.[4] That flaming ball of fire in the sky has a message, perhaps more than one if you’re listening. Today, it’s brightness was decreased enough that one could look up and see what is normally hidden. What did you see?

Was it a warning or a marker? Yes, but I won’t take my speculations past David’s remarks. The heavens declare the glory of God. I certainly saw and felt it today. I even considered that the awesomeness was only an inkling of what was experienced at the Revelation at Mt. Sinai or the darkened sky at Messiah’s last breath or the one accord outpouring of the Ruach Hakodesh in Acts 2 on Shavuot or what will be on the Day of the LORD. There is one thing we can and should all agree on – Abba is always pleading with us to RETURN. Repent. Do the works from the first.

“Set up for yourself roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, The way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities. “How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth—A woman will encompass a man.” (Jer. 31:21-22 NASB)

The sky today was a road mark and a guidepost for those within its viewing range. Jeremiah 31 is a prophecy about the return of the exiles, the restoration of our captivity. We go back the same way we went out. Return to me says Abba, and He will show you a woman encompassing a man!

The renewed thing (chadash) or a woman encompassing a man is bridal, covenantal language. The woman encircles her groom seven times in the fullness of the Holy Spirit[5] to create a new House and to tear down any walls (like Jericho) that may remain between them. The woman surrounds the man with (spiritual) protection as the gatekeeper of their home.

© Chris Rogers

Like the moon, she is rarely the visible one in their union (echad), but there is one day that she is the star for all to see — her wedding day! Though it’s a modern custom in the U.S., I couldn’t help but to be googly eyed at the grandeur of the “diamond ring” effect of the eclipse as all the figurative meanings of the sun and moon as man and woman played in the back of my mind.

Abba desires a chaste bride, and what an adornment He has for her! So rather than doom and gloom, I’d like you to consider LIFE – abundant LIFE tonight as we embark on the new moon (month) of Elul after a stunning display in the heavens. Ani l’dodi v’dodi li. I am to my beloved and He is to me.[6] The Bridegroom and His bride. That’s what I saw in the sky today.

Though the Season of Teshuvah (repentance, return) starts tonight, it is not all weeping and wailing. YHWH told Rachel in the same Jeremiah passage:

Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy. “There is hope for your future,” declares the LORD, “And your children will return to their own territory. (Jer. 31:16-17)

There is a hope for your future. Though we return weeping, carrying our bag of seed, we WILL shout for joy as we bring in sheaves.[7] Our tears for family, friends, and the nations have a purpose. Like the Shekinah and Rachel, we cry for the destruction of the House and the many many children that Abba longs to come “home.” He’s always waiting, always calling. Not one is beyond His reach. He labors greatly for each and every one of them.

In the eclipse today, I saw wonder, beauty, and a future. At its zenith, I looked at my husband and said, “A woman just encompassed a man and everyone was watching.” The moon is the light in the sky for those in darkness. As she made her way between the sun and earth today, many were confused and bewildered. I saw a glorious union, the House or tent of the two made into one flesh, a glimpse of what is to come. The daughter of Laban (levanah – moon), the moon to Jacob’s sun, was seen and heard today. Can you hear her calling? Do you listen to her cries? She’s pleading for you to come home. The reunion will be glorious. The whole world will stand still and look up. May we eclipse to reveal, not to conceal.

As you blow the shofar throughout Elul, sounding the alarm, remember that even in the midst of judgment the heart of YHWH is always on reconciliation. He is gracious and compassionate. Are we? He is slow to anger. Are you? He abounds in lovingkindness and is relenting of evil. Are His people? (Darkness, gloom, the sun and moon turning to darkness, the Bridegroom and the Bride, blowing the shofar… it’s all in Joel 2. Consider reading it this Elul.)

Don’t proclaim judgment and doom and gloom without also shouting for joy about forgiveness, love, grace, and compassion. The world needs a sign from the moon. As the reflector’s of Abba’s glorious Light and the stars/seeds of Abraham, we are the only light that a dark world can see. Are we occulting His Light or are we inviting them to the feast (wedding supper)?[8] Rachel refuses to be comforted. She pleads for each one. It is the season. Send out the invitations. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”

 


[1] “Solar eclipses don’t just turn the lights out – they also make the wind slow down and change direction.” —  http://earthsky.org/earth/solar-eclipses-have-an-effect-on-wind

[2] You could argue that the moon was Leah since she was alive and Rachel was dead at this point, but later it is Rachel that is portrayed as weeping for her children in Jeremiah 31. Besides, both were brides of Jacob and could signify the same thing in this article.

[3] And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” (Rev. 14:6-7)

[4] Is. 8:20

[5] The seven Spirits of God (Is. 11:2) are reflected even in the time duration of a total solar eclipse, with the maximum length being 7.5 minutes!  https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/how-long-does-longest-possible-total-solar-eclipse-last

[6] Elul is said to be an acronym of this phrase from Song of Songs 6:3.

[7] Psalm 126

[8] Occult in its verb form means to hide, conceal, cover over. It is synonymous with eclipse. One of the astronomical words for an eclipse is an occultation.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim, new moon, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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