I’m blessed to watch a lavender sunset from our home overlooking the Mount of Olives, ushering in the last of Israel’s Ten Days of Awe, 5777, as I write. The Ten Days of Awe (“Yamim Noraim”) began with the Feast of Trumpets, also marking Rosh HaShana. Focusing on sincere repentance, Yamim Noraim will end tomorrow evening with the onset of the Day of Atonement (“Yom Kippur”). The days of awe (perhaps more descriptively, repentance) are not commanded or mentioned in Scripture. But when 12th century rabbis came to regard Yamim Noraim as a time when heaven and earth uniquely intersect, could they have latched onto a “prophetic wind” of the Spirit?
The rabbis reasoned from Scripture that during these ten days, God takes extra care to assess His people. His eyes are intently upon us, He draws near, and is more easily moved by our heart response to Him. From the shofar’s first blast on Yom Teruah to its final cry on Yom Kippur, He wants us seeking Him while He may be found, calling on Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)
If you live in peace with God through Messiah, you can experience gracious, holy intimacy with Him every day of the year. He is not only near to you; He lives by His Spirit within you. Now, does that mean His appointed feasts should exclude you? Or could it be that you receive even richer, fuller blessing as you engage with Him during these special days? I believe the latter.
Consider this: On the Feast of Trumpets the shofar sounds, calibrating believers anew to the resonance of heaven. Its piercing wail is heard as “deep calls unto deep” (Psalm 42:7). An almost haunting cry from Spirit to spirit, the shofar blast defies human language, yet is universally understood. Through it, YHVH Himself speaks. He summons humanity to a soon coming accounting, reckoning, and holy judgment. The realities are more, not less, magnificent for those who follow Him in loving obedience based on faith.
Kerry and I did not intentionally plan to move to Israel during the Ten Days of Awe. Circumstances seemed to compel us to choose the date we did. But hours after we arrived on Friday afternoon, the Torah portion assigned for the next day (Shabbat) spoke of the phenomenon we had just experienced. An even deeper spin was put on the meaning of His call to us here.
Every Shabbat during Yamim Noraim, Deuteronomy 30 is read and studied throughout Israel. That powerful passage prophesies that when Jews exiled to the nations return to the Lord, He will return them to the Land: “When … you return to Adonai … with all your heart and all your soul … then [He] … will bring you back from captivity … He will return and gather you from all the peoples where [He] … scattered you … into the land that your fathers possessed, and you will possess it; and He will do you good.” (Deut. 30:1-5, Tree of Life Version).
The Bible teaches only the blood of Yeshua, our once-for-all Atonement, can impute forgiveness of sins to the Jewish people (or any other people). Certainly moving to Israel is not necessarily a reflection of, or reward for, individual repentance. Our return to the land at this time is simply-yet-profoundly a kiss from heaven and an act of divine, covenant faithfulness. But for us personally, these will have indeed been ten awesome days! The “co-incidence” of the timing and Torah portion is cause for even greater repentance on our part. Please pray with us that we will prove faithful stewards of YHVH’s prophetic, covenant realities to the people He so loves! #lightofzion #daysofawe