Responding to a Higher Calling…
“And this shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls, and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the LORD. “It is to be a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.” Lev 16:29-31
This weekend, we will have the privilege to partake in a command that God gave the sons of Israel thousands of years ago – to observe Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). On Friday afternoon here in Israel, we will have our last meal, last drink of water, and stop any work of any kind for 24 hours. The streets will be empty of cars, the TV and radios will be off, etc. We will gather in our Synagogues and Congregations to repent of our sins and, most importantly, return to our God.
Sounds extreme, right? Well, in my opinion, the above English translation of this command is watered down; the words, “you shall humble your souls …” would be more accurately translated as “you shall torture your souls …” (emphasis mine), meaning that for one day, you should die to yourself, give up your wants, habits, and the various things on which you depend, such as food, water, and focus on God alone. It is a time to completely stop our everyday lives, and reflect upon our own personal relationship with our Creator as well as our relationship with our Creator as a nation.
As I was preparing to write this, I was thinking about the higher calling that we have as followers of the Messiah. In the book of Leviticus, the command of the Day of Atonement is a period of one evening to the other:
“It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your Sabbath.” Lev 23:22
But followers of Messiah are called to die to ourselves daily. As new creations in Messiah, we are called to live our lives in full obedience to our Messiah and all that He taught. Just as He sacrificed His life for us, so are we called to sacrifice our lives for Him.
“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Rom 12:1
I encourage each of us to stop, to really examine our own walk with our Creator, and make a decision each day to turn from our evil ways so that we may follow Him.
“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain” 2 Cor 6:1
Are you taking God’s grace in vain? Do you use His grace as an excuse to do what you want and not live in full obedience to Him?
May God bless us all this weekend, and may we see the House of Israel turning back to the God of Jacob, and receiving the one true atonement for their sins – Yeshua the Messiah.
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