Today is the third day into the season of “Teshuva”, a time of self-examination and turning toward the Creator and His Ways, in preparation for ‘The Judgment of Rosh Hashana’, and the “Terrible Days” leading up to Yom Kippur. This year, we expect the ‘khodesh’ to be sighted on 09/11 before sundown, but it could be blotted out by clouds, so, we may not see the Khodesh and hear the actual subsequent blast of the shofar until the evening of 09/12.
Right now, all the nut-job profits [sic] are quiet, with no flurry of selling books predicting the ‘return of xrist’. That’s both comforting and curious.
But, regardless of ‘when’ the “Last Shofar” from heaven is actually blown, it is always healthy to become a little introspective regarding our walk with Messiah and the Creator. Kefa encourages us to do so, as does Sha’ul, and really all the writers of the Brit Khadashah scriptures. And they record Yeshua’s many, many lessons about checking oneself to ‘see’ if his own ‘Emunah’ is genuine.
I am doing that. Not because Yeshua ‘might’ send the Malakh to blow the Shofar next month [and He certainly COULD, as the prophecies that precede that event are all complete, imo], but because I want the Presence of the Creator and of His Son to manifest in me. Whether or not Yeshua fetches His bride on this upcoming ‘Day of Weddings’, it is abundantly clear that people on this earth need all to ‘do teshuva’, or to ‘repent/turn toward G-d.’
I have taken notice of the ever increasing speed at which the world spirals into darkness, blindness, lasciviousness, and complete effrontery against what is RIGHT and TRUE. And the majority of them think that theirs is a ‘new truth.’ That the idea of faith is a relic of the past, from a time when people were ‘uneducated’, ‘primitive’, etc. But so many of these people yet believe things that simply are not true, without ever having studied for themselves what reality is.
I spend a big part of my life wooing people to obey G-d. And admittedly, so very few respond. So very, very many, most of whom ‘say’ they have a relationship with the Creator, do not actually respond to His Word. They may have a relationship with His book, or with people who say they read His book, but so few follow “The Great Command” and ‘hear and do’ what His Word says, or trust in the simple fact that G-d is One, and His Name is distinct from that of all other gods: יהוה .
Seventeen years ago, this fall, on the anniversary of my parents’ wedding, and the same day that Yom Teru’ah should start this year, America was sitting in shock. The night before, on 9/10, a Monday night, I sat my two young children down in our living room. They were sitting on the floor right in front of me, and I told them I ‘felt’ I needed to read the following to them.
“Know this, that in the Akharit HaYamim [end of the days] disastrous times will come. And men shall be lovers of themselves and lovers of money, proud, conceited, blasphemers, disobedient to their own people, ungrateful, wicked, false accusers, addicts to lust, brutal, haters of good things, traitors, hasty, boasters, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of Elohim; having a shade of the fear of Elohim, but far from the power of Elohim; from such turn away. For of this sort are those who creep into houses and captivate women sunken in sin, led away with diverse lusts, ever striving to learn, and never able to come to the knowledge of HaEmet [Jewish and Biblical synonym for Torah].” I hope my children remember this night.
It was the next morning, a Tuesday, when, while at work, I heard the news of the destruction of the first tower. I mumbled, “we are going to war,” and a woman nearby laughed at me haughtily, called me stupid, and said it was an accident. And then the second plane hit. Of course, she’s about cleared the cornfield of crows since that snide remark.
Just about every time I watch the news lately, or scroll through fb feeds, I am reminded of this passage. People get colder and meaner, and more disrespectful every day. And it is NOT just ‘unbelievers’. I point out often that most people, say at least 70% of our country, ‘claim’ to believe in G-d, and even in His Son in some form, and yet these are the same people who spew hateful behavior incessantly, on the hiways, in the gyms, [my most frequent haunts], and even in the religious institutions. A huge percentage of that same 70 support some form of baby murder, just because of the proximity of the baby’s head to the air. Most of them also overtly support casual relationships versus a committed, covenant relationship before sexual union. The biggest ‘xtian’ denomination was just defending 300+ pedophile priests who raped and molested too many boys and girls [one is too many, much less 300+], and their ‘sovereign’ excuses them, over and over.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m well aware of my flaws, and that I used to fit into that same category, practicing SOME of the behaviors that are condemned in those verses. And I know I am still a work in progress, ‘pressing on toward the mark of the high calling of Elohim, which is in Messiah Yeshua.’ And, Abba willing, I will press on.
Seventeen years ago, after I read this passage to my children, I told them, “We are there now, but it is just going to get worse.” And I will never forget my daughter’s question: “What does ‘brutal’ mean?” And I said, “It means cruel, killing for no reason.” She was able NOT to fear the next day at school when they heard the news there, but in fact was an encourager to the other fourth-graders.
But, what I take note of this year is that Sha’ul’s letter admonishes Timothy to stay away from people who behave so, yet, the people he is specifying are people who SAY they believe, but do otherwise. They have a ‘form’ of godliness, but no FEAR of the Creator.
There are so few people today who are actually looking at their own heart, and comparing their lives to the life of Messiah, His ‘walk,’ in order to examine themselves. That is my encouragement. Saying you believe is one thing. Doing the hard work of belief is entirely another.
“For if a man thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let every man examine his own work, and then may he glory within himself, alone, and not among others. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him who hears HaDavar [Jewish and Biblical synonym for Torah] become a partaker with Him who teaches all good things. Do not be deceived; Elohim is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. He who sows things of the flesh, from the flesh shall reap corruption [death]; he who sows things of HaRu’akh [The Breath/Spirit of G-d], from HaRu’akh shall reap life everlasting. Let us not be weary in good works; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
The Torah shows us how to love G-d, and how to love our neighbor. Yeshua preached that. We love G-d by doing the first five of the Ten D’varim, and our neighbor by the last ones. So many pay so little attention to the first five, and so they fail miserably at the last five. And Ya’akov tells us that we can’t say we do the first five, if we do not do the last ones!
There is so much that could be said on this topic. But, I don’t have time. Galatim 5 tells us what the works of the flesh are, as does this list in 2 Tim above. Comparing oneself to His Word is the ONLY way properly to do teshuva [turn to G-d and obey Him]. I am encouraging myself and every reader to do just that. Take a fresh look at the Creator, and at yourself, during these days leading up to the “Last Shofar.” It may or may not be THE “Last Shofar” this year, but do you want to take that chance? We have a greeting during this season that replaces just “Shalom”: “L’Shana Tova umetukah” is the short version of it. “Have a good and sweet year”. The formal, longer form of it is: L’shanah tovah tikatevu v’tichatemu.” “Have a good [new] year, and may you be inscribed and sealed” [into the Book of Life]. If it is that Last Shofar this year, we hope for the latter for certain; if not, we hope for both.
Make it that way, by doing teshuva, and turning your whole heart toward the Creator and His Son, יהוה Yeshua HaMashiakh.
We read the prayers of Daniel 9:4-19 and Psalm 27 in addition to our other prayers daily during this season.