The evening of Sunday, September 13th (according to the Hebrew Calendar, the 1st of the seventh month, Tishrei), will mark the beginning of a very special season for the Jewish people… the High Holy Days. This is a season of both personal and collective reflection as a nation; it is a time where one walks with His creator, a time of repentance before the Creator, as well as between men, a time when we remember what God has done in the past, leading us to look towards the future with hope.
During this wonderful season, we have a very special time known as the “10 Days of Awe”; these are the days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). These days are full of self-reflection of one’s sins, and a time of repentance and returning to God.
As I reflect upon this wonderful season and these 10 days in particular, I wonder why we wait for this season in order to do so. In our walk with God, we need to have the type of relationship with Him that, if and when we sin, by the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we need to repent right at that moment. The same goes for when we sin against one another!
As I was praying about this season and what to write, the first verse that came to mind was:
“and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
A more precise way to translate this verse is: “ And my people by whom My Name is called upon, will surrender and pray and seek (Ask for) My Face, and return from their evil ways and I will hear from the skies (Heaven) and forgive their inequities and heal their Land” 2 Chronicles 7:14
The key word in this verse is “surrender”. When one surrenders, he/she gives up his or her rights, which actually requires death to self. This connects very well with the mere purpose of this season of Days of Awe, because in order for us to return to God, one needs to truly surrender to Him and accept the only way by which we can be accepted by the Father, and that is through faith in His Son and the Kappara (Atonement) for our sins.
The idea behind the 10 Days of Awe is that God has a book – the Book of Life – where He writes everything in our lives connected to our good deeds. He also has the book of death in which He writes in all of our sins. As believers in Messiah Yeshua, we know that the only way by which we can enter the Book of Life is not through our good deeds (they are a by-product of our faith in the One who can give us access to the Book of Life), but rather through faith in Yeshua.
I am inviting you to join me in time of fasting and prayer for the Jewish people during this time of reflection and repentance, that as they seek, they will find the only true way to receive forgiveness for their sins in Messiah Yeshua.
Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tova!
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