In Part 1, we looked at the Hebrew understanding of the month of Elul, which begins 40 days before Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). From the days of the Israelites in the wilderness, this period has emerged as a Season of Repentance, specifically repentance from idolatry, and originally the idolatrous Golden Calf.
For us it may not be a statue, figurine or carved image, but idolatry can take many forms. Repentance is an ongoing process of discovery of sin in our lives and realignment with God’s ways. In my own journey I’ve found four places where idolatry can hide and have watched God realign my life as I walk through each one. We’ve discussed the first two: discontentment and following my own plans. Let’s continue with the third:
A new opportunity arose from someone in my congregation, and I was asked to participate. Wow, I’d never thought of that idea, I didn’t even know we had those resources. It was an obvious God-incidence in answer to my prayer. I was excited about the prospect and what it could lead to.
Then the obstacles began to mount against my participation — to the point of impossibility. Under my current circumstances there was no way I could participate in the project. (more…)
Esther – Queen of Persia, intercessor for the Jews before the King, and the one for whom the book of Esther is written. Understandably, as the heroine of the story, most discussions of the book are meant to inspire people to emulate her. But how many people are going to get the chance to be a queen, and in a position to intercede for their people in front of a king? Re-reading the story this year, I realized Mordecai’s role in the whole affair is probably a more realistic picture of what people in any position could aspire to. (more…)
Wait a minute – I thought that was Abraham! Well, actually the verse is about Abraham, but it could well be about Joseph. Abraham has the well-earned reputation of being a faith giant. After all, it’s his faith that God is rewarding us for even to this day. No doubt, he deserves high honor for his life of faith.
Joseph, on the other hand, is known for his wisdom in the gift of administration. It’s him we have to thank that the Israelites – and in fact the entire population — were spared in the great famine of his day. With a reputation of saving the known world from starvation, it’s easy for people to overlook the great gift of faith he had.
We know that God enabled Joseph to interpret dreams from an early age – his own as well as others’. We read the story of how he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream when all the magicians and wise men of Egypt could not. That’s faith enough – being called up from a dungeon after several years to stand in front of one of the most powerful leaders in the world and trusting God to give the ruler of Egypt an interpretation that no one else could. But what comes next is even more impressive. (more…)
As I stated in Part 1 of this blog series, the tabernacle is a physical representation of the spiritual process that God has created for mankind to draw near to Him and for Him to dwell with us. However, there are several things that separate mankind from a holy God. The first thing that comes between God and man is faith. Until we have faith, we cannot know God. However, what we see as a barrier, God sees as an opportunity for blessing. (more…)
On a recent vacation, I decided to try rock climbing on the simulated rock wall. I had never done it, but watched several people in front of me, some succeeding to the top and some quitting part way up. With each one I could, I asked how they did it or what stopped them from finishing, trying to learn whatever might help me make it high enough to ring the little bell at the top, announcing my success.
When it was my turn, the attendant, Alex, roped me up and gave me climbing shoes to help me hold on. I took my first few steps on the holds and knobs. “This is pretty easy,” I thought. But like anything else physical, it got harder as I went along. (more…)
Remember the story in Mark 5 of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years? She touched Yeshua’s clothing and was not only healed, but captured the attention of Yeshua despite the throng of people crowding Him. While obviously a great account of Yeshua’s compassion and supernatural power, this story leaves me with a few questions:
- Why did the woman think if she touched Yeshua’s clothes she would be healed?
- Why did Yeshua feel the power go out from Him when she touched Him and not everyone else who was crowding around?
- And after a wonderful miracle, why was the woman fearful of Him? (more…)