The feasts of fall
A few days ago I was driving with our 4 year old daughter in the backseat. She randomly repeated “God can just turn things around.” I heard those words as louder than normal as we are in a heightened season of introspection.
Welcome to the 29 days of the month of Elul.
This month is a treat for those of us who have been learning the biblical calendar system and comparing it to our calendar that is on the wall. That is the calendar that hope Gregory gifted us with. What a guy? They finally match. The first of September was the first day of Elul.
On the new moon of next month will be the Feast of Trumpets. Then October 8th we will see the Day of Atonement.
There is a Biblical cycle during the year. The scriptures tell us of a “turning” of the year. Many people have the tradition calling this time Rosh Hashanah or New Year. While it is celebrated as such it is not mentioned in in the scriptures.
But just as with a new year approaching, there is a similarity if you will. In the New Year, you look at the year behind you and make some changes in order to improve the next year. This is a Time of repentance both traditionally and biblically. Repentance is not always understood in the biblical way. We often think of it as a simple way to say “I’m sorry.” While a penitent heart includes sorrow for past wrongs, there are other aspects of repentance that I want to share with you. Repentance is a turnaround, a turning.
That is literally what the word means. The Hebrew word shuva means turn.
Teshuvah is a gift.
A great example of a full turn around are the people of Nineveh after Jonah had a little turnaround of his own. It was interesting to note fax Jonah was not exactly happy about it but we know that the scriptures tell us that the Angels rejoice in heaven with the return of one of his children.
Teshuvah is not deserved.
Psalm 51 shows us the nature of a loving Father as abundantly compassionate. King David was sorry. But he had to turn from what he did.
Teshuvah is complete
Contrast a turnaround with the heartfelt apology of someone who has simply been caught for doing bad. The teshuvah is like the faith that is shown by its works. The teshuvah walks the other way. It flees from evil. It also can involve numerous realms: faith, finanaces, family, farm and home, even a entire nation.
Teshuvah is used to open the door to an awakened spirit and a heightened awareness of God’s presence.
- In Teshuvah we turn our hearts toward God.
- We turn our ears toward God.
- We turn our very steps toward God.
Incidentally, when God repents in the Bible, He turns. It does not mean that He is apologizing to us.
Wherever you are this day, listen to the words of a child.
God can just turn things around.