“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Monday, June 05, 2006

Yom Teruah

Rosh HaShanah, the next Feast in our mosaic of the Moedim, begins on 1 Tishri -- the seventh month in the liturgical calendar, but the first month in the civil calendar.

This Feast is never actually addressed by that title in the Bible. It has several names, Zikhron Teruah - Memorial of Blowing Trumpets; and/or Yom Teruah - Day of the Blowing of the Trumpets.

Thirty days before Rosh HaShanah, beginning on 1 Ellul, the Jewish people begin their time of preparation for the High Holy Days. This time of preparation culminates on Yom Kippur, the Great Day of Atonement. The forty days between 1 Ellul and Yom Kippur (10 Tishri) are a time of great reflection for the Jewish people, as they prepare.

Yom Kippur is a day without precedent in the Christian calendar. Observant Jews will contact the people in their lives and apologize for anything that they might have done improper over the past year. This is a time of ‘getting right’ with those around them, as they attempt to 'get good enough' to be written in the Book of Life for another year! We will cover Yom Kippur in an upcoming post.

The essential mitzvah (command) of Rosh HaShana is to hear the sounding of the shofar. The shofar soundings represent three distinct themes;

1. The first sounding -- a long, straight blast is known as the Tekiah; it is the sound of a King’s coronation. This represents the Kingship of God (Reverence).

2. The second sounding -- three medium, wailing sounds, known as the Shevarim, are representative of the sobbing of a Jewish heart. As we reflect on the year gone by, we know deep down that we've failed to live up to our full potential, (Remembrance). In Messianic hearts [Jews and Gentiles], this should also be the sober realization that, while we have failed, we are under the blood of the unblemished Lamb of God, who was sacrificed that we may have eternal life with Him!

3. The third sounding -- 9 quick blasts in short succession, known as Teruah is an alarm clock, arousing us from our spiritual slumber. (Return).

Let us deal with each one of these themes briefly:

REVERANCE - THE KINGSHIP OF THE LORD

In this day and age of Jesus being your ‘buddy’, it is almost unheard of to bring up His Kingship. The sounding of the shofar is recognition of the Kingship of our Messiah. When a King was installed in Israel, the trumps would blow to initiate the coronation celebration. The sounding of the shofar should be a call to your heart to re-establish the Messiah in His proper place, on the throne of your Heart. In case there is any doubt about the Kingship of Messiah, and whether or not He is God and King of all, let’s take a look at Isaiah 45:21 – 23; Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.

And then take a look at Philippians 2:9 – 11; Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

There are many places where we read of God’s infinite power and handiwork, for example in Psalm 19:1-6 we find these words; To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

This is the King of Kings that we serve! If you think that He is your personal insurance agent, then you will be casual in your relationship with Him, However if you believe that He is who He says He is, then you will be broken before Him! During the time of Yom Teruah we, (again), reflect on His Kingship and realize our need for a Savior…

REMEMBRANCE

In 2001, one week before Yom Teruah, America was struck a blow that cast the entire nation into a spiritual search for meaning. I imagine that everyone can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing on September 11th, 2001. How many of those folks in the towers knew it would be the last day of their lives? How did they leave the situation with their relatives and friends, did they leave arguments unsettled, did they forget to kiss their spouse goodbye in the morning because of a morning spat? Did they have a heated argument with a friend, which still smoldered under the surface? My friends, we live at the will of our Maker, and we do not pick the time of our departure. How often do we allow anger and contempt to separate the Body?

During Yom Teruah -- we remember: The second blast of the Shofar is the sobbing of the Jewish heart, but I say that it should be the sobbing of ALL of our hearts as we look back and see how we have treated our loved ones and friends. Husbands, do you love and cherish your wife? Does she know that? Are you more occupied with reaching the lost than with reaching across the sofa to clasp your wife’s hand? Are you spending time in prayer with her, or do you spend more time in prayer and companionship with your buddies? What about your children, are they more used to talking to you on the phone than being lifted in your arms? Wives, are you so busy that you never take the time to notice how lonely your husband looks at times as you speed off to another meeting, or prayer time, or coffee clatch? What about your friends? As I mentioned at the beginning of this, during the forty days of Teshuvah, the Jewish people are contacting friends and family and making right that which was made wrong.

The Christian community would do well to learn from this. We rarely, if ever, feel the compulsion to seek out our brothers and sisters and ask their forgiveness. Our solution, all too often, is to move to another church!

Messiah says it this way in Matthew 5:23, 24 -- So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

RETURN

Finally, the shofar is sounded during this feast as a wake-up call. We are called to be ready. In Jewish thought, this is the day when God opens the Book of Judgments, but we know that this day could occur for any of us at any time. We have no guarantee on our lives. This might be the last post I ever make, or this might be your last week. We must be prepared to meet God. The readiness of God’s people is discussed in many places in the Old and New Testaments.

Paul in writing to the Romans (Romans 13:11-14) says this -- And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

And again in his letter to the Ephesians he says; (5:8-14) -- For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."

Keith Green had a song called ‘Asleep in the Light’, and in it, he says that Jesus rose from the dead, and we can’t even get out of our bed, we are asleep in the light… Let us not only be ready and eager for the return of our Lord and Savior, but let us work while it is still light to do the Father’s business!

There is much more to say about Yom Teruah -- but I fear that I have written a much too long post already! We may revisit this one day again soon, and speak of Tashlich, and other items.

3 comments:

BugBlaster said...

Loving these, Ray. And a Keith Green fan to boot. Asleep in the Light is one of the most convicting songs I've ever heard.

Ray said...

Thanks Bugs! Yes, Keith wrote some great stuff!

Anonymous said...

I love Keith Green!
KG's music has influenced me more than anything else on the planet almost. I have listened to him for so long. He has also influenced me as a musician, to be very honest and real in my lyrics. Actually, I'd be honored if you'd check out my music on my site. Its very, "Keithish."
Thanks for posting,
-Sean
__________________
www.SeanDietrich.com
"All of my music is free for download."