The Month of Elul

First Fruits Recap of the Month of Elul – 5782

The month of Elul begins tonight,, August 28th, at sundown, which is 7:36 pm. Elul is the sixth month on the Jewish calendar, but it’s the last month before we begin a new year. This is a very special month of preparation and transition into the fall feasts that begin next month in Tishrie. When Tishrie comes, the feasts begin on the first day, so prepare yourself now in this month in Elul. From sunset tonight until sunset on Yom Kippur there is a 40-day time of forgiving and self-examination. Look at your calendar now and mark the fall feasts on your calendar. These are appointed times to meet with the God of the universe.  If you had an appointment with a doctor, you would write that down and make sure you are there. If you were going to meet a friend for lunch or you had an important meeting to attend, you would write it on your calendar. So do the same with the Fall Feasts. 

Begin now, in this month of Elul to ask the Lord to search your heart to show you where you need teshuva, which is repentance. But the word teshuva is not just about being sorry or feeling bad for our sin, but it is about making a decision to turn away from our sin and turn back toward God. So, ask Holy Spirit to show you areas you need teshuva (shuva or chuva.) Holy Spirit will show you. I already started doing this this past week and I was driving in my car and thoughts of this woman in one of the church’s we worked at came back to me. They weren’t good memories. For whatever reason, this lady was nasty and very unkind and not just to me.  I started thinking about some of the things she had said to me, and I was getting angry just thinking about it. Then I thought to myself, “why am I thinking about this?” Then the lightbulb went on, and I said, “thank you Holy Spirit.” I did not realize that those feelings were still inside me. So, I asked God to forgive me for harboring that resentment and unforgiveness towards that woman. I asked the Lord to pull that out of me with all its roots so it will not have any effect upon my health.  Take time for introspection and teshuva, which is repentance. . An example of this is the Reset button ony our phone. If you hit that button, it will erase all your history, your settings, your contacts – everything. It will make your phone as it was when it was new. That’s what God does for us when He wipes away all our sin. We are completely clean and we have a brand new slate.

I’m going to share seven characteristics of the month of Elul. There are more than these but this will give a good understanding of what this month is about.

 A key phrase for this month is from the Song of Solomon, Chapter 6, verse 3 – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” In Hebrew, the first letter of each word in that phrase spells out the name of this month – Elul. God is saying that He wants to meet with us in a special way this month. He wants us to experience a new level of intimacy with Him. Our part is to spend time with Him and allow Him to draw us into that new level of intimacy. Make that part of your preparation this month for the Fall feasts. Come into a new level of intimacy with Him.

The Hebrew letter for this month is YOD, which means “appointed mercy from the hand of God.” The letter YOD looks like a man bowing down to his king and receiving mercy. This is the month when God gave Moses another set of the 10 Commandments after he smashed the first ones.  God revealed Himself to His people in great mercy this month and His mercy is still there for us today. The letter YOD shows us what our position should be – to bow down and humble ourselves before our God and grab hold of His hand of mercy and forgiveness.

The Hebrew alphabet is an amazing thing. Each letter has a numeric value, as well as a picture associated with each letter. The numeric value of the letters that make up the word Elul have a value of 67. So Elul associated with another Hebrew word, Benaa, that has the same numeric value. It is a word that means wisdom and understanding. So from that association of the same numeric value, Elul is also known as a month to grow in wisdom and understanding, and to have a time of reflecting on where we stand in God’s mercy and justice. But not only do these two words have the same numeric value, they also look at the numbers 6 + 7 = 13, and that reminds the Jews of the 13 Attributes of God’s divine mercy, which come from Exodus 34:6, 7 when Moses went to Mt. Sinai a second time to receive a new set of commandments. 

This is the month that “the King is in the field.” We need to understand that in Biblical times a king lived in a palace; he was protected by thick, huge walls and iron gates. If someone wanted to meet with the king, they had to make an appointment, learn the proper protocol to meet the king, dress appropriately, and go through layers of security before entering the throne room. It was very intimidating, as one had to be very careful of what they said and did before the king. 

But for one month each year, the king left his palace and went out among his people. He set up a royal tent in a field near the town and anyone who wanted to see him was welcomed. An announcement was made that “the king was in the field!” 

I also heard it said this way by another Rabbi – during the month of Elul the king would take off his priestly robes and clothe himself like the people in common clothing. He would choose a different field each day to go and dwell among the people. It was important that the people were looking for the king to show up in their field or they could miss him. They could easily get distracted with the heat of the day, with their workload, with the bugs in the field, or how they felt physically or any number of distractions. If they allowed themselves to get distracted and they weren’t looking for the King, they could miss seeing him in their field.

Be looking for the king to show up in your field this month – the place where you live or where you work, which could be the office, the shop, the classroom, the store, the garage, etc. Don’t get distracted and miss when He is in your field.

Elul is a picture of the earthly ministry of Jesus. John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He left His palace in heaven, took off His priestly robes and wore the garments of a carpenter. He lived in a tent of mortal flesh for 33 years. He was accessible to all, no appointment or special protocol necessary. Expect God to meet you in your field this month and look for Him!

This is a month to fix what is broken. We all have broken things in our lives – broken bodies, broken families, broken relationships, broken jobs, etc. Whatever is broken – God will tell you what is fixable and will give you the plan to do whatever is necessary to repair what was broken. If what has been broken is not fixable, He will tell you so you can let go and start new and fresh. 

This is a month to find our place in the company of the Lord.  Another way to describe this is finding your place in the order of the camp or in the body of Christ. We need each other. God never intended us to live a solitary life. Mistrust can keep us from connecting with the body and before long, we are totally alone. We don’t want to do that. Many times a pattern of isolation can indicate a root of rejection and mistrust. It will leave you in the wilderness alone and the devil can pick you off, just as a lion watches a herd and goes after the one that lags behind or is cut off from the herd.  If you are in your place in the corporate body, the enemy will have a hard time picking you off. There is safety in numbers so find your place in the company of the Lord. 

This is a month to run into the tower of might. We all become weary at times and feel like we can’t go on. Our strength can run out, but God’s strength is limitless. He can encompass and envelop us and give us rest. When you feel like you can’t stand under the burden you are carrying, the Lord says to “bring it under me.” Proverbs 18:10 says, “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run in to it and are safe.” Isaiah 40:29 says, “He gives power to the faint and weary and to him who has no might He increases strength, causing it to multiply and make it abound.”

This is the “mother” month – a month of nurturing. You need to know who is nurturing you, as well as who has been put under your care to nurture. Make sure you know who God wants you to nurture, otherwise they may not receive your nurturing. 

Elul is related to the month of Gad, which means “good fortune.” There should be an expectation of good fortune throughout the month. Rewards will begin to manifest according to what you have done. This month we need to: think reward, declare this is a time of reward, and expect reward!

God bless you in the month of ELUL!