Today began Teshuvah for the Jewish people. Teshuvah is a Hebrew word that means "returning" and speaks of a time of repentance linked to when Moses interceded on behalf of God's chosen people when he came off of the mountain and found them worshipping the Golden Calf. Teshuvah lasts for 40 days and is just prior to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement.
On this day, the first day of the month of Elul (which means "search"), and is considered the month set apart for repentance. The Jewish community begins by blowing a shofar (a ram's horn sounded during this month reminiscent of the ram "tangled in the bush by its horns" when God provided a ram in the bush as the substitution for the sacrifice of Abraham's son, Isaac in Genesis 22, symbolic and prophesying Jesus our substitute and sacrifice to make atonement for our sin). Every morning and evening they recite Psalm 27:
"1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. 4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. 7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. 11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Our church also has 21 Days of Prayer that happens during this time. You can join us each day by downloading the Pray First App or going to https://21days.churchofthehighlands.com.
As I read through Psalm 27, I just thought about how awesome it would be for us to pray this very prayer as well. That we, too, would go through a season of repentance...a season of asking God for the next 40 days to purify our hearts of anything that has contaminated, and making right any wrongs through forgiveness.
King David said, "Search me, Oh God, and know my heart. Try me and know my mind and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24
Would you join me for a time of letting God search your heart? Would you invite the Lord to reveal some areas that need to be repented of? Would you return to the Lord where you have gone astray?
I believe that as we come out of the summer and into a new year (The Jewish celebrate the new year in September), God is calling us deeper into His heart. Let's press in to Him and see what He wants to do inside of us!