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:
In an earlier post, I shared how God had helped me identify six idols in my life – those things I put my trust in either in addition to Him or instead of Him. After a 40-day examination of my attitudes toward them, I realized they were borne out of fear—fear of losing those things I depended on for security. During that time God provided me a new perspective more closely aligned with His desire for my abundant life.
A year later, I still kept God’s word to me on my desk: (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…)
The Sabbath – we think of the Jewish day of rest, or maybe any day when we’re not working, or the day we attend church. Yeshua says of the Sabbath, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath is one of the blessings God made for mankind to enjoy. He practiced it Himself on the seventh day of creation. Was God tired? Had all the work He’d done on the first six days worn Him out? I can imagine it could, but no — God created it along with the world and its inhabitants as a gift to man, animals and the land.