Do you hear the trumpet? The month of Elul on the Jewish calendar (August-September) introduces the Season of Teshuvah. Every day for forty days, the shofar-a ram's horn trumpet-blasts to wake us up to the judgment of God.
After the miraculous deliverance of the Jews from Egypt, Moses went up Mt. Sinai to meet with God. For forty days,he stayed on the mountaintop. When he arrived back at camp, he found the people had rejected their Deliverer to worship an idol. In anger, Moses broke the tablets inscribed by God with the Ten Commandments. For this reason, we take forty days to restore relationships and turn back to God.
The Season of Teshuvah in Israel is a dry season preceding the fall feast days, which culminate with Tabernacles, also known as Sukkot. Sukkot,called "The Season of Our Joy",celebrates abundance and rain. This pictures the refreshment that comes after turning from sin.
An allusion to the Season of Teshuvah can be found in the New Testament. Acts 3:19-21 says "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ [Messiah], who has been appointed for you even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets." (NIV)
As individuals, we seek forgiveness immediately whenever we sin. During the Season of Teshuvah, we collectively examine our relationship with God and with man. We desire to right wrongs and seek reconciliation with those to whom we should be reconciled as families, congregations and communities.
What better time to seek healing for the long-strained relationship between Jews and Gentiles? What better time to humble ourselves for the restoration of a marriage? Or the return of a prodigal child? During this season, we strive to put aside our own ways, and follow the love and righteousness of our Deliverer, who alone can restore all things.
Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier.
Kathryn lives with her husband and children in Tampa, Florida. It's hot there. And swampy. With gators. She's really brave. PreciousHolidays@yahoo.com
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