Elul 2021 by Ray Haynes
When August arrives, the month of Elul arrives on the Biblical Calendar and that means the Fall Feasts are approaching. Elul is about romance. It arrives just two weeks after the marriage holiday Tu B’Av.
Song of Songs 3:4, 5:2 “…I have found the one my soul loves…I was sleeping, but my heart was awake…”
The Four Hebrew Letters that Spell Elul [alef, lamed, vov, lamed] are an acronym for the phrase in Song of Songs: “ANI L’DODI V’DODI LI,” which translates, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”(6:3)
Since Song of Songs is both the story of two people in love and a beautiful allegory of our Bridegroom Yeshua (Jesus) and us, the Bride of Christ, it has a double meaning.
The aleph or the “I am” can refer to the beloved as being Yehovah God, or it can refer the person you love. Lots of couples get this verse as a tattoo or on jewelry (I have it on my wedding ring).
Whenever we draw close to God with a humble heart seeking to follow, we are saying, “I am my beloved’s”. Yehovah’s response, as He pours out mercy and forgiveness, is always, “And my beloved is mine”.
Elul is considered as, “Thirty days to prepare the soul, search the heart of Yehovah, and awaken the heart.” An Elul type of love goes beyond “I am my beloveds” to “My beloved is mine”, which is to ask from a more mature place, “How am I doing at loving God and/or loving this person – How can I grow, do better, be closer?”
Yehovah gave us the Biblical Calendar with its Feasts, Fasts, and Holy Days to both remember, and also to set these days apart. These days reveal God’s heart to us, in hopes that we will come to find the romance of God too difficult to resist.
Elul is the beginning of a 40-day period of Preparations and Repentance, which was unintentionally established by Moses, who on Elul 1 found himself ascending Mount Sinai for the third straight 40-day period.
The first time Moses climbed Sinai was to receive the original Ten Commandments written by the finger of Yehovah on Pentecost. After spending 40 days with God, he descended on the 17th day of Tammuz, only to find Israel sinning with the golden calf, so he smashed the tablets. Almost immediately, Moses returned for a second 40-day period to ask for forgiveness for the Israelites.
Moses would prove to be a trend setter. On Elul Day 1: Having obtained forgiveness, Moses ascended Sinai for the third time and would receive the second set of tablets; Jonah left for 40 days to tell Nineveh to repent; and Yeshua (Jesus) went into the wilderness for 40 days.
After 30 days of Elul, the Month of Tishrei begins with Rosh Hashanah, which is the 6th day of creation when God created all the land animals and most importantly, mankind. These activities all occurred during the Final Week of Elul. All the activity though, was just preparation.
At creation we find Yehovah hovering over the waters speaking light into being and separating it from the darkness. Then making a separation for the waters above and the waters below, making the land and seas, and causing seed bearing plants and trees to grow; He made the sun, moon, and stars, and created sea creatures and birds.
The month of Elul connects the past year with the coming year and so it is a time to reflect on where we are, where we are headed, and where we should be going.
It is customary to blow the shofar every morning (except on Shabbat) to announce the coming of the month of Tishreai and the New Year. The blasts are meant to awaken one’s spirit from the slumber of sin and inspire us to begin the soul searching which will prepare us for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashannah, the Days of Awe and Yom Kippur.
Moses, Jonah, and Jesus all returned from their 40-day journeys on the 10th day of the month of TIshrei – the holiest day on the Jewish calendar – Yom Kippur.
It is also customary to recite Psalm 27 every day:
1 “Yehovah is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? Yehovah is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from Yehovah, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of Yehovah all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of Yehovah and to seek Him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to Yehovah.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Yehovah; be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Yehovah, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me, Yehovah will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Yehovah; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of Yehovah in the land of the living.
14 Wait for Yehovah; be strong and take heart and wait for Yehovah.”
The 40-day period that begins on Elul 1st includes the beautiful imagery of “The King Is In The Field”.
God is drawing near to look closely at how we are tending the fields (the specific blessings and responsibilities that Yehovah has given us).
Elul is when we are preparing to meet God for judgment – But He comes to the field to be most approachable so we can truly come to know Him. Since Yehovah heard the prayer of Moses to forgive the people, Elul is set apart as a time to remember when God revealed His great mercy.
We in turn honor God when we repent and show mercy and forgiveness to others. “Teshuvah” or “turning back around to face Him” is shown not only by repentance, but by intentionally finding ways to do good to others.
During Elul, Torah study and prayer are the focus because they are both associated with the verse, “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for your love is more delightful than wine.” (Song of Songs 1:2) which alludes to God’s words being in one’s mouth.
Sabbaths and Holy times are compared to a Lookout Tower, where we rise high above our labor to see the purpose of the work from a higher perspective. 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 now 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.
Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Acts 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
When we repent, sins are removed, and times of refreshing come. We want to get our way and be refreshed by people or things. When we turn to God, He will remove the things that are hindering us from being refreshed. He is our Bridegroom – when we submit to Him everything changes.
Teshuvah: Since God is the means by which we turn from evil, shuv is more about turning back to God with all of your heart, soul, and strength to change your direction or destiny.
We all make choices, some good and some bad, but we can’t choose the consequences of our choices. Those are inherent in the choices. We are all becoming something and someone beyond ourselves. No one is shocked when they harvest tomatoes unless they planted something else. Still, we all hope to escape the fruit of our worst decisions.
1 Forsake The Sin (agree with the Truth or saying the same thing);
2 Regret The Break in your relationship with God;
3 Confess The Truth and make amends;
4 Accept Forgiveness;
Lamentations 5:21, “Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.”
A Coffee with Corrie Moment
by Corrie King
Hold Onto His Promises
Habakkuk 2:14 “For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of The Lord.”
If I had to pick a verse to sum up what 2021 has been like for me, it would be this one. I’ve seen His glory and I’m walking in an awareness that I’ve never had before. From getting married, to being pregnant with our first child, to owning our first home, there have been a lot of changes in my life. I’ll never forget being so discouraged thinking I was never going to get married, believing that I would never have kids, and how it felt impossible to buy a home in this market.
When I was 19 years old, I went through a laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis and the doctors at the time were uncertain if I would ever be able to be a mom one day. I remember thinking, “no one is going to want to marry me,” and just believing that lie which caused me to struggle with depression. Years ago, I went to a Christian conference where a prophetic speaker held a meeting where he would prophesy over individuals and when he got to me, he said “I see a little girl who looks just like you with curly hair and she’s singing.” This man did not know me, or my story and I remember thinking, “Did God just show him my daughter and give me a word to hold onto?”
I didn’t hold onto that word very tightly, but I wish I had, and I wish I had kept hope alive in my heart. I wish I had walked in more faith while waiting for it to come to pass. My husband and I decided to give our fertility journey to God. I remember being emotional the first couple of months seeing negative pregnancy tests and wondering if being a mother would ever be a possibility without medical intervention.
We would pray before we went to sleep for a baby and I remember constantly crying out to God in my heart, “Lord I just want to feel life in my womb, I want the experience of being a mom.” I remember taking a test around Easter and then again close to Mother’s Day, and sadly both were negative.
I kept listening to the song “Wait On You” by Elevation and Maverick City, and I just started declaring the lyric: “But I’ve got a promise I can hold in the middle of the struggle – God, if you said it, You’ll perform it. May not be how I want You too, but here’s what I’ll do, I’m gonna wait on You. I’m gonna wait on You. I’ve tasted Your goodness. I’ll trust in Your promise.”
The line that really got me was, “That’s what happens when you wait”; they sang about what God does in the waiting (from Isaiah 40), “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”
Right before Father’s Day we found out that we are having a baby, and then right after my birthday, we discovered that we’re having a girl. What I find so amazing is that He is working when we cannot see what He’s doing, He is moving when we have no idea what He’s providing. He was at work in our situation and this baby was being formed before I even knew it; I was just worshiping.
May we be a people of hope with a renewed strength as we allow Him to show us what happens when we wait.