AV FIRSTFRUITS

On Monday evening, July 20th, we enter into the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar known as “AV.” AV is translated “to will or to desire; as well as “father.” The month of AV is linked to the tribe of Simeon, whose name means “to hear and obey.” If we put all those Hebrew clues together, this month has the significance of remembering to  “hear and obey the will/desire of the Father.”

Cyclically, the summer months are typically associated with the tribes who were great warriors. The scriptures share that our weapons of war are mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds.  We are called to use the “sword of the spirit” as we battle against the flesh and the principalities that oppose Christ, praying with all prayer and supplication.  This isn’t easy to do in the summer when the sun and fun are grabbing our attention.  Don’t get me wrong.  The summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors and family vacations.  But summer is also a time to “work” the word and to go into action as God instructs.

Spring is for sowing seeds, but summer is “working” the seed so it will produce a harvest.   Therefore, it takes hard work that wars against the flesh.  In the summer, it is easy to get distracted from spending time with the Lord.  We can easily get anesthetized with the pleasure and fun that pull us away from prayer that helps us through life’s challenges.

The summer months are tied to seeing, listening, and then obeying, which produces a unified troop armed for the Lord. Last month the focus was on sight. This month it is on hearing. If Satan can get our vision and our hearing impaired from what God has said, he has us hooked us into his web of deceit and lies that produce actions that veer us off course, resulting in consequences.

Last month, the significance of the story of the twelve spies who went out was that they SAW all the giants. 40 days later, they returned to the people of Israel who HEARD two reports (Numbers 13,14). Ten spies shared all the problems and obstacles they SAW. Two shared the promise God had given them. On the 9th of AV, the people decided to take wrongful action and choose the negative report they HEARD and to not believe what God had shared about the Promised Land.

“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:1,2).

In their unbelief, the children of Israel proceeded to make bad decisions that led to severe consequences because of what they chose to HEAR. First, they complained and cried. Then they had the idea to dethrone Moses as their leader, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Finally, when hearing Joshua speaking the truth about God’s promise, they came up with the idea of stoning Joshua. None of these actions were pleasing to God (Numbers 14:4-10).

If it was not for Moses and Aaron interceding for the children of Israel despite their plot to dethrone their leader, the children of Israel could have been wiped out because of God’s anger.

How Moses responded is what God is calling Christians to do as we see the destruction happening in our nation:  We must intercede and pray for God’s mercy!

God’s judgment didn’t stop coming to the Israelites when Moses and Aaron prayed. The Israelites were not able to go into the Promised Land, and all those spies who brought the wrong report died of a plague.  America is going through the judgment of our choices of eliminating God from our national foundation.  The Lord hears the prayers of the saints.  It may not look like He is answering, but He is.   It’s His heart to redeem America from destruction, and the shaking is a part of the process.

As a side note, it is interesting that America is paralleling a similar test that the Israelites faced when hearing the report from the twelve spies:  Are we hearing and responding to the voice of the enemy, joining the forces that are destroying and dividing as a consequence of being fear-driven?  Or are we hearing God’s promise for America and being moved by faith at this greatest hour of shaking?  Our mouth will decree life and death; fear or faith; hope or hopelessness.  Through the words that come out of our mouth, the report we are choosing to believe will become self-evident.

When God speaks, it is important we listen. Our disobedience and lack of faith can affect a whole community.  However, our obedience can also bring us (and others) into the “Promised Land” as we learn from Joshua and Caleb.  Their faith was tested and later at God’s appointed time, they were used mightily in God’s redemption story.

While AV was a month of judgment during the time of the story of the twelve spies, it is recorded in history that the 9th of AV has continued to be a day of judgment. In 587 BC, the armies of Babylon destroyed Solomon’s temple. In 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the 2ndtemple. In 135 AD, the Romans defeated the Jews. In 1095 AD, the 1st crusade was launched, killing thousands of Jews. In 1290 AD, the Jews were expelled from England. In 1492 AD, the Jews were expelled from Spain. In 1942 AD, the Jews were deported from Warsaw ghetto to the death camps. In 2005, the Jews were removed from Gaza.

The 9th of AV incidences are NO coincidence. Cyclically, the window of destruction has opened up during this month and judgment has been released. This cycle started when the children of Israel said after the spies report, “The enemy is too strong of us. We will die!”

One may ask why does this curse still exist today?  And it could be answered as simply as this:  When the Jews rejected Jesus, they remain under the debt of the law. According to laws written in Leviticus 17 and Deuteronomy 29, the Jews refusal to accept the New Covenant left them subject to the law which they breached. This cyclical destruction has only one remedy: the atoning blood of Christ.  The Bible says, “I will give You (Jesus) as a covenant to the people (Is. 42:6).  There is power in the blood of the Lamb!

Simeon, the tribe associated with this month, was one of two tribes that Jacob cursed in his final prophetic blessing to his sons. This was because Simeon and Levi decided to murder the men of Shechem for the rape of their sister Dinah. This vengeance was evil, and Jacob called them on it:

“Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; let not my honor be united to their assembly; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self will they hamstrung an ox; cursed be their anger for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it, is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel” (Gen. 49:5-7).

Simeon was made to be a warrior and one called a weapon of justice in the hand of God.  But when his own hand ruled Simeon, as he did so in Shechem, his passion and temper produce a work of destruction against God rather than for God.   This can be true for all of us. We can think we are going to help God out by executing justice out of “righteous anger.” But when we do that, our character is one that kills, steals, and destroys in the name of righteousness, and we appear to be sons of the enemy of God.

Av is a month that presents to us a choice to hear God’s word and have faith and believe in the promises of God. It is also a month to remind us to keep our passions under His command by taking the time to HEAR what God has to say about the matter. We are not under the curse any longer.

Today, we are seeing and hearing a lot going on in this world. But what is God saying? Can we see all that is going on through His eyes? I encourage all of you to take time to do some listening prayer this month. God has a lot to tell us IF we stop and listen. Our history proves this month to be a month that the children of Israel heard the wrong voice because of what they saw. So, guard your ears and declare His Word out loud so your ears hear what God is saying. And expect this month to ENTER into the Promises and celebrate His goodness as God had intended!

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