Teshuvah, 2016

The month of Elul initiates a 40 day period called Teshuvah. This is the Hebrew word for “repent”. The point of the season is to prepare for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. It is a time to turn toward God. People are called to turn away from their sin, repent, and change course. It is a time of inward reflection and sincere self-assessment. The goal is a change in lifestyle away from sin to obedience in God’s word. The 40 day period of Teshuvah ends on Tishri 10, Yom Kippur.

Elul 1 marks the beginning of Teshuvah. In a Gregorian calendar of the year 2016, this would be September 3 or 4 depending on when the new moon is confirmed. It is Jewish custom to blow a shofar (ram’s horn) one time every day during the season of Teshuvah. The trumpet is blown every day after the morning service except Shabbat or the Sabbath (Saturday for us in western culture) and the last day of month of Elul.

Elul is the last month of the civic calendar in Judaism. Elul is the sixth month of the religious calendar. Jewish tradition points to the name of the month to be an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li” a quote from Song of Songs 6:3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine… In Aramaic, the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word Elul means “search”. Per Strong’s Concordance, Elul means “nothingness” in the Hebrew. The month is mentioned one time in the Bible. Nehemiah 6:15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. Cultural customs per http://www.jewfaq.orghttp://www.myjewishlearning.com .

Noah was the first person to experience the concept of Teshuvah with 40 days and 40 nights of rain. Noah and his family had plenty of time in the ark to focus on God. They were the only survivors of the global flood.

The reason for the flood was made known in Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. Humanity had ruined, rotted, and spoiled planet earth.

Genesis 6:12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

Genesis 6:13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them;

and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.”

The Hebrew word for “violence” is chamac. It is a broad term that can also mean: wrong, cruelty, or injustice.

An evil mindset results in corruption and chamac.

In Noah’s day…eating, drinking, marriages, giving in marriage, more eating, more drinking, buying, selling, planting, building…This is Noah’s witness of humanity.

There was other shenanigans taking place with fallen angels…that is a discussion for another day.

The call of Teshuvah is to turn to God and repent. Repent is not a warm and fuzzy spiritual word that causes your stomach to flutter or hair to stand on your neck.

The Greek word for “repent” is μετανοεο or metanoeo: to change one’s mind for better; heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins; change your attitude.

Matthew 24:37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.


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