Genesis 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.”

The Fall Feasts are approaching and there are a number of signs in the heavens as part of them this year. We had a spectacular solar eclipse in mid-August (the first of its kind for the US since 1776). The month of Elul began the next day, and later this month, the sun, moon and stars all take part in what’s being called, “The Revelation 12 sign in the heavens” during the Days of Awe.

The month of Elul is the beginning of a 40-day period of repentance. It was on Elul 1 that Jonah left for 40 days to tell Nineveh to repent, Jesus went out into the wilderness for 40 days, and Moses went back up Mt. Sinai to intercede for the Israelites and receive the second set of the 10 Commandments, after the sin of the Golden Calf. Moses came down on Yom Kippur. So, the month of Elul (plus the first 10 days after Rosh Hashanah) is used for repentance in preparation of Yom Kippur.

The month of Elul includes the beautiful imagery of “The King Is In The Field”, which is to say, God is drawing near to look closely at how we are tending His fields (the blessings and responsibilities He has given us). The Jewish calendar distinguishes between ordinary workdays, and “holy” days when we disengage from labor to focus on the spiritual. Elul is a “holy” month when you repent the failings of the past and resolving for the future, but the activities of Elul are conducted amidst our workday lives.

Likewise, a king’s usual place is set apart in the royal palace, however, when the king comes out to the fields, anyone can approach him. Elul is when you are preparing to meet God for judgment, but He comes to the field to be most approachable so we can truly know Him in His mercy. We are called to rest when we are with Him. Our obedience and our rest are His dwelling place.

No one labors for the sake of labor. The king is the reason for the labor. When we see the king in his field, do we keep working? Do we behave as if this were just another day? Of course not. We might still be in the field, but the field has become a holier place. Likewise, we don’t clean up to be in His presence – no – we commune with Him in the “field” of our daily lives.

This is a time to be nurtured, to allow Him to fix what has been broken and to nurture us back into a place of health and prosperity. There are some things that have been recorded in our life’s history that are incorrect, because God has come and dealt with them. There are accusations and condemnations that need to be removed and mistakes that need to be reconciled. God wants to rewrite our story and change the way we see it.

Press into Jesus and get your hope up. God has great things in store for the New Year.

I’ll join Rise & Stein on September 20th to teach in depth on what the New Year of 5778 may hold in terms of change, and return on September 29th to teach about Yom Kippur. Here are a few things to think about till then.

The number 8 in Hebrew represents change or new beginnings. For many it will be an opportunity to redo or undo things with a new and right perspective. What does change look like? Rosh Hashanah celebrates creation in the Garden, so let’s start there. Creation itself was change (from nothingness). Light was change from darkness. Division was change for the waters. And sin was change for everything. We have a lot to do with the change we experience this year. Every choice and every decision opens a door of opportunity. Every morning God walked with His new creation. But one morning they were too curious. They knew what happened when they obeyed, but what would happen if they didn’t. And then they were hiding.

Many will have awakenings a bit like Adam and Eve. Outright lies, fake news, persecution, and spin will begin to be obvious, even to those with an agenda. There will still be a verbal war raging (2 sevens remain in 5778), but instead of just warfare, change will dominate the message and the Kingdom will triumph. 5778k is the temperature of the surface of the sun. As we move into the year 5778 next month I think in a practical way we will no longer see Him just from a distance but will start to encounter Him personally and more in power.

How will God continue to use the Great American Eclipse?  God compares Himself to the sun and us to the moon. By shifting our focus to the Moon, by placing it in front of sun, one of the things God will do this year is make His people great in the eyes of other people, just like he did for Joshua after Moses, so that His will can be done, His Word, message, and love can go forth mightily. There will still be hatred directed at Christians, but a noticeable shift in America toward an awe of God.

Join me for more on all that 5778 means on Wednesday September 20th on Rise & Stein.