Making your voice heard on high
The next three appointed times on YHVH’s calendar is approaching, Yom T’ruah, Yom Kippurim, and Sukkot. It is always a good thing to “take stock” of our spiritual condition before we observe these days. Especially Yom Kippurim, a day of humbling ourselves before YHVH. It is part of Jewish tradition to do introspection for forty days before Yom kippurim, the month of Elul and the Ten days of Awe (the first ten days of Tishri.) The word “elul” means search, so this is very appropriate as we search our hearts during this time. People examine themselves and forgive and ask forgiveness of those they have wronged. Though we should be doing this all the time, I find it a good tradition. It’s like a spiritual house cleaning before the fall feasts. I am currently reading through the book of Isaiah, and Isaiah 58, struck a cord with me and it fits in very well with this context of searching our hearts. It showed me that only keeping YHVH’s commandments is not enough. If we only keep YHVH’s commandments, we are participating in false worship. This may seem like a harsh statement, but allow me to explain.
Hannah was childless and it caused her great sorrow. She petitioned YHVH for a son, and He gave her children. Adonijah petitioned Bathsheba for Abishag, she was beautiful and he wanted her to be his wife. However, he had ulterior motives…Esther risked her life to petition king Ahasuerus for the life of her people. Job, after suffering so much hardship that he could not bear it any more petitioned YHVH to take his life. Instead YHVH healed him and restored back to him what he lost. The Israelites petitioned YHVH for meat with devastating consequences. Zacharias petitioned YHVH for a child, and this child was a great prophet who prepared the way for the Messiah. We can learn much from all these narratives. A petition is a form of prayer, but whereas prayer encompasses all communication with YHVH, petition is to make a specific request of YHVH. It can be compared to a formal request made to a sovereign. The purpose of this study is to understand what it means to petition YHVH. We shall look at each of these narratives to see what we can learn.
Strongholds, each of us has one
The concept of a stronghold is foreign to our modern minds, except for what we may have read about it in history books. It is not part of our frame of reference and because of this, we may not understand the significance of this. We need to understand the physical structure in order to understand what was meant when it was employed as a metaphor. Each of us has a stronghold in our lives. When we have the right kind, it is to our benefit, but some strongholds are to our detriment.
Using habits to set yourself apart
In order for us to lead a set apart life, we need to do the actions that will produce good fruit. Most of us know what these are, yet we struggle to make it happen. Can we use the modern study of habits to bring us closer to these acts of righteousness? We have heard so many bad reports of tradition that most people are scared of the concept of establishing habits. Let us see if we can find a balance.
Yom Kippurim…a call of repentance to the nation
It is almost the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippurim. We have written a few posts on this appointed time before, the most important being the post about what we are to do on Yom Kippurim. We are commanded to afflict our beings on this day, and if you use Scripture to interpret Scripture, clearly we are indeed to fast and repent on this day. In this post, we would like to focus more on the other part of this day, repentance. We want to show you also why you are to, not only, focus on your personal repentance but to look wider and also repent on behalf of and together as a nation.