Summer has passed by quickly! School is starting, hurricane season is in full swing, and though September is a transition month into fall time we still have 21 days of summer left until the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd 9:04 P.M. EDT-the first day of fall. The following Sunday, Sept 25th at sunset the Fall High Holy Days begins with the start and celebration of Yom Teruah! September is the biblical month of Elul. Elul is 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting. The month of Elul begins Saturday, August 26th at sunset. The 1st of Elul marks exactly 40 days until Yom Kippur. Elul is an Akkadian word for “harvest”. The Jewish names of months came from our captivity in Babylon. Scripture refers to the months by their numerical order except for the first month of the new year, Aviv. Elul is a time to search one’s heart and draw close to God in preparation for the coming Day of Judgement, The Ten Days of Awe between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur, and The Day of Atonement. It is customary to recite Psalm 27 every day in this 40 day period seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness. The 27th Psalm is one of trust, the psalmist has no fear of enemies while in the Lord’s protection. This Psalm is extremely relevant in our day today:
Psalm 27. (CJB) By David: ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. 3 If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting. 4 Just one thing have I asked of ADONAI; only this will I seek: to live in the house of ADONAI all the days of my life, to see the beauty of ADONAI and visit in his temple. 5 For he will conceal me in his shelter on the day of trouble, he will hide me in the folds of his tent, he will set me high on a rock. 6 Then my head will be lifted up above my surrounding foes, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, sing praises to ADONAI. 7 Listen, ADONAI, to my voice when I cry; show favor to me; and answer me. 8 “My heart said of you, ‘Seek my face.’ “Your face, ADONAI, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, don’t turn your servant away in anger. You are my help; don’t abandon me; don’t leave me, God my savior. 10 Even though my father and mother have left me, ADONAI will care for me. 11 Teach me your way, ADONAI; lead me on a level path because of my enemies 12 don’t give me up to the whims of my foes; for false witnesses have risen against me, also those who are breathing violence. 13 If I hadn’t believed that I would see ADONAI’s goodness in the land of the living, …. 14 Put your hope in ADONAI, be strong, and let your heart take courage! Yes, put your hope in ADONAI!
This reason this Psalm is fundamental to this period of T’Shuvah (repentance) is that it contains references to all three fall feasts: “my light,” ori in Hebrew refers to Yom Teruah as the shofar announces the arrival of Adonai, the light! My Salvation, Yeshua refers to the atonement He gave us for Yom Kippur. Then David states Adonai would hide him in his sukkah in the times of trouble, referring to the holiday of Sukkot in verse 5.
Psalm 27:13 also contains a textual oddity: “If I hadn’t believed that I would see ADONAI’s goodness in the land of the living.” The phrase “If I hadn’t” in Hebrew is lule which when read backwards spells Elul. Salvation comes from devoted trust in Adonai’s mercy, goodness, and salvation. Repentance is useless unless we believe in Adonai’s love, salvation, and goodness “in the land of the living.”
Forty is represented by the Hebrew letter Mem. Forty is the revelation of the concealed. The number forty is used by God to represent a period of testing or judgment (the length of time necessary to accomplish Gods plan in his interaction with mankind). Forty is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in Schminnee-revival and renewal (8). But where forty relates to dominion or rule it does so by virtues of its factors 4 (Dalet-the physical dimensions of the world including the cardinal directions North, South, East, and West) and 10 (Yad, the Hand of God), and in harmony with their signification. Mem expresses God’s sovereignty over us and His Kingdom. God uses the number 40 when starting a new chapter of the history of salvation. Human gestation is 40 weeks! Teshuvah is a sort of death and rebirth: a death of the past life, and the birth of a new life and a new creation:
II Corinthians 5:17. (CJB) Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!
These 40 days are an awakening from the apathy and slumber induced by sin. The Fall Feasts are Moedim, Divine Appointments that God established, specific times that He’s off the throne and among His people! Its critical to prepare for these appointed times.
Isaiah 55:6-7. (CJB) Seek ADONAI while he is available, call on him while he is still nearby. 7 Let the wicked person abandon his way and the evil person his thoughts; let him return to ADONAI, and he will have mercy on him; let him return to our God, for he will freely forgive.
The services in these 40 days of Elul are referred to as Selichot Services from:
Psalm 130:4. (CJB) But with you there is forgiveness (selichah: forgiveness, pardon), so that you will be feared.
This word exclusively refers to God’s mercy to grant forgiveness, to pardon the sins of those who repent. Selichah is found only three times in the Tanach, once in Psalm 130:4, the other two are in profound prayers of repentance. The first in Nehemiah where he recalled our rebellion and Adonai’s compassion toward us:
Nehemiah 9:16-17. (CJB) “‘But they and our ancestors were arrogant; they stiffened their necks and ignored your mitzvot; 17 they refused to listen and paid no attention to the wonders you had done among them. No, they stiffened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a leader to return them to their slavery. But because you are a God of forgiveness (selichah), merciful, full of compassion, slow to grow angry and full of grace, you did not abandon them.
And then in Daniels powerful prayer of repentance upon reading in Jeremiah that Israel’s 70 years of captivity and exile in Babylon/Persia was complete. Daniel immediately began repenting for Israel’s sins that had resulted in our exile:
Daniel 9:8-10. (CJB) Yes, ADONAI, shame falls on us, our kings, our leaders and our ancestors; because we sinned against you. 9 It is for Adonai our God to show compassion and forgiveness (selichah), because we rebelled against him. 10 We didn’t listen to the voice of ADONAI our God, so that we could live by his laws, which he presented to us through his servants the prophets.
Elul is the time for fasting, prayer, and repentance which is more critical now than ever before! My heart is heavy, I’m burdened for America, for the greater body of Messiah, our polarization, our disunity, our divisiveness, the vile hatred and violence that abounds! As a nation were rotting from the inside out! It’s not a time for panic, dread, or to be fearful! It’s a time for radical intentionality in repentance, prayer, and fasting. To stand in the gap and shift history! We are at a very dark hour as a nation. This fall may be a dark time for America! If we don’t become radically involved, it may be irreversible! I highly encourage everyone to fast from now until Yom Kippur which begins at sunset, Tuesday, October 4th!
- Pray for Jewish Revival (Land & the People) which results in the return of Messiah.
- Pray for America’s awakening, for salvation and revival, that America will turn back to God!
- Pray against the Spiritual Strongholds of Darkness over our City, State, and Nation
- Pray for racial equality, justice, national unity, national Shalom, Peace and national healing!
- Pray for leaders to arise in the greater body of Messiah to lead America into truth & righteousness!
- Pray for an end to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Pray against rebellion and anarchy in America!
- Pray for the release of the One New Man to sweep across this nation!