This Tisha b’Av, Kick the Enemy Out of Your Promised Land
On the Hebrew calendar, the 9th day of Av (Tisha b’Av in Hebrew) is a notorious date of tragedy for the Jewish people. Many major tragedies are recorded in the Bible and continue up to modern history.
The Bible tells us that Aaron died on the first day of Av. Although he was a faithful servant for 40 years, he was part of that first generation that did not get to go into the Promised Land because of unbelief. Later, both temples were destroyed on the 9th of Av, as well as many, many other calamities down through the centuries.
The origins of Tisha b’Av can be traced back to the Israelites’ rejection of the Promised Land. It was on the 9th of Av that the 12 spies returned with their report from 40 days of sojourning in the Land. Two gave reports of Yehovah’s blessing and abundance and encouraged the people that he would give them victory over the inhabitants of the Land, so they could possess their inheritance. The other 10 spies gave reports of Yehovah’s blessing and abundance in the Land and discouraged the people from going in, due to their fear of the inhabitants.
Despite the fact that they had just witnessed the 10 plagues in Egypt, and the drowning of the Egyptian warriors, and the giving of the Torah from Yehovah himself on Mount Sinai, the Israelites did not believe that Yehovah would do what he promised. They did not have faith that he would bring them victoriously into the Land that he had sworn to give Abraham and his ancestors.
Due to their unbelief, we know that this generation of Israelites were not allowed into the Promised Land, except for the two who believed: Joshua and Caleb. But another fact that we sometimes forget to consider is that all the Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amalekites and Canaanites living in the Promised Land were left to continue in their wickedness for another 40 years.
Think about this. Yehovah had prepared that Land for his own people. He created an “exceedingly good land,” a land “flowing with milk and honey,” with grape clusters so big that they had to be carried on a pole. All of the abundance and blessing and bounty of the Land that Yehovah had promised and prepared for the Israelites was now being enjoyed by their enemies – by Yehovah’s enemies. The adversary won that battle, and I’m sure reveled in the victory that gave him an additional 40 years to work his wickedness. Not only did the Israelites’ unbelief rob them of their own blessing, but it furthered the enemy’s agenda as well.
One year on Tammuz 17, the beginning of the “Three Weeks of Sorrow” that end on the 9th of Av, Yehovah pointed out to me an area of unbelief in my life, where he wanted to bless me, but I had not believed his promise with my heart nor completely aligned with him. I committed to believe Yehovah’s word and asked that he would help my unbelief. Two weeks in, I needed reminding again of that same unbelief. When I saw that for the second time, I repented again, and Yehovah took me back to the 12 spies. I am like the Israelites, believing one day and forgetting the next. But in his graciousness, Yehovah showed me what the enemy was doing, how he was stealing my victory and my blessings just like he did with the Israelites. And if that wasn’t compelling enough, Yehovah also gave me a deeper understanding of his promise to bolster my resolve.
Zechariah reminds us that this exact time of sorrow, including Tammuz 17 in the fourth month, and Av 9 in the fifth month, will be redeemed as joyous times:
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’” Zechariah 8:19
One of the ways we can align with Yehovah in redeeming these days even now is by rooting out unbelief in ourselves. We can reverse the curse by identifying and eliminating our unbelief, and committing or recommitting to Yehovah’s words and leading.
Where has Yehovah made you a promise that you’re not fully believing? Where have you given up on what Yehovah has told you? Where is he asking you to go, what is he asking you to do that you’re not yet on board with? Where are you doubting his love and goodness in your life?
Identify these areas and resolve to believe in him, so that he can bring you into his Promised Land of abundance and blessing that he has prepared for you. Don’t let the enemy stay in your territory any longer, enjoying the blessings meant for you, and continuing his wickedness in and around your life. Repent from your unbelief, realign with Yehovah’s promises, and redeem this time of sorrow as your time of victory and joy!