TEVET FIRSTFRUITS

The tenth month of the Hebrew calendar known as Tevet begins this Saturday, December 4th. Ten is the number associated with godly order, authority, and testimony. Tevet is a great month to reflect over the past year and to judge righteously if your life is lining up with God’s order and authority.

Tevet begins the winter season of “rest.” The next three months are suited to spend time “resting” in the Father, digging into His Word and prayer as to what God is revealing. This time of intimacy gives us a renewed strength that is critical to a healthy and fulfilling relationship with the Lord.

This month is also associated with the tribe of Dan. Dan was one of the tribes that formed a branch on the north side of the tabernacle, along with Asher and Naphtali. These tribes were the known as the “rear guard,” and chosen to protect the tribes from any enemies coming from behind. Dan in particular had a gift of discernment to recognize the enemy coming in through the “backdoor.”

Dan teaches us that even though we are in a season of “rest,” this does not mean we are to let our guard down to the enemy’s schemes. As a matter of fact, the “backdoor” is usually not a place our eyes tend to focus on, so we can be surprised by the attack of the enemy! The “familiar,” such as being reunited with family and friends during the holidays, can be a prime time for the enemy to sneak in unexpectedly and hit old wounds.

Genesis 49:16 -18 says, “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, and adder in the path, that bites the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backwards.”

Dan’s name in Hebrew means “to judge, to rule, or to execute judgment.” Dan was said to be “a serpent by way,” so God equipped Dan with a gift of wisdom to rule righteously and establish God’s path.

Dan’s high calling is to rise to judge, but to do so with a heart of humility that is yielded to the Holy Spirit. Because Dan’s gift can see situations black and white, they have a clear understanding of what is right or wrong.  Dan has the gift to step into a situation and establish order even in the midst of chaos.

If given an entrance, the religious spirit will seek to partner with Dan’s gift of judgment as the gospels testify what that looks like through the Pharisees who were ruling over God’s people during the days of Jesus.

WITHOUT God’s authority and maturity, Dan’s gift can put people under the yoke of control, power, and manipulation.  This usually comes in the form of criticism and accusation because there is a fear of losing control and the need to “be right.”  Dan’s shortcoming can cause them to judge the sin and dish out the penalty while losing site of God’s grace for the sinner. In the end, if Dan isn’t under God’s headship, they become bullies and tyrants.

Dan’s gift can bring about a “holy anger” when injustice occurs. “Holy anger” can be used in prayer effectively to thwart the enemy’s plans as well as to seek God for His action plan. However, anger left uncircumcised can take the gift of Dan and turn it into a curse. If you have ever known anyone who is able to discern right from wrong well and suddenly “explodes” with anger if triggered, you are witnessing a gift of Dan that has been tainted with bitterness and pride. Throughout the Bible, the tribe of Dan is seen highly gifted but humbled because their giftedness led them to self-destruction.

Dan was the son of Rachel’s concubine, and was born out of jealousy and an unloving spirit. Dan had to overcome a root of rejection and find the love of the Father’s heart so when he exercises his gift of judgment, it was in truth AND love.

Today it is a challenge to see unrighteousness prevail in our society and not be met with the hand of justice. It can increasingly get hard not to get critical and react in fear and anger. The bait of Satan for those who have Dan’s gifting is for them to lose patience and not believe in God’s sovereignty and to rest in His timing of judgment.  This is particularly challenging now in our nation that is reaping the consequences of lawlessness.

If you are married or know someone with this gift who God is still molding, keep praying for them! Jacob’s prophesy to Dan included this very important line for us all to hold onto: “I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!” Jacob’s word reveals that the father’s heart of Jacob was challenged to pray and have patience for God’s promise to work through Dan! God is faithful in the end.

Samson was from the tribe of Dan, and his story shares the ups and downs of the characteristics of the tribe of Dan (Judges 13-16). God chose to raise up Samson to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Israel had done evil in the sight of God and had been under the reign of the Philistines for 40 years.

For Samson, he grew up to be smart, cunning, and had a love for justice. His supernatural gift of physical strength was given with one condition of not cutting his hair. Nothing more! No working out, no studying books to get smart. No worshipping God to make sure his hair grows. God created him with these gifts, and Samson’s became a bit head strung because he didn’t have to lean on anyone to help him succeed. Sadly, this included God.

Samson eventually fell into a trap that our sinful nature usually follows; when we have been given much gifts, we tend to rely on our own gifts as our strength instead of the gift giver. Samson could rely on these two gifts on his own without leaning on the Lord in humility. (America finds itself in a similar predicament as we have been a nation blessed and strong and relying on our own strength instead of God to continue in its beauty it was birthed for).

When we use our gift absent of the Lord’s lead and heart, we will find ourselves promoting self and feeding our own desires. Samson uses a riddle to try and gain possessions and acquire assets. (Judges 14:12).

Samson also chose to disobey God’s laws and statutes He had laid out for the Israelites to not have relations with a harlot, or marrying a Philistine woman, or eating from the carcass of an unclean animal. These are just a few things Samson chose to do which opened up the door for the “destroyer” as you read his story.

As cunning as Samson was, he managed to find himself in love with two women who used their charm to deceive him. Betrayal of his first wife resulted with ANGER finding a home in his heart that fueled his revenge (Judges 15:7). Had not the tribe of Judah stepped in, Samson would have seen the destruction of his revenge upon all the children of Israel. But Judah turned Samson in like a sacrifice to the Philistines with Samson’s consent, and God used his gift to subdue the enemy. This was a turning point for Samson as he cries out to God for the first time in scriptures. The Israelites found peace from the Philistines for twenty years with Samson as their leader.

Samson’s story further reveals how the enemy doesn’t give up tormenting him and breaking down his resilience to hold onto the gift God had given him. Both women he loved wore him down! Samson’s guard was down and through the “back door” came the enemy through the two women who he loved. The enemy will use anyone to steal our inheritance and the gift God has given us to bless His Kingdom. Satan knows our weaknesses and will use them at an opportune time!

Although Samson was captured and imprisoned, and in all appearances wiped out of his gift and calling, the gift grew back (his hair) and God never left him. But this time, when he had no eyes to see and lead him except his “spiritual” eyes, God used Samson to wipe out the Philistines. The resurrected gift came with a great price as Samson became a martyr for God. But his life ended in humility and right before God. God’s gift in you can be swallowed in darkness because of pride, but never snuffed out! In humility, God will allow His gift in us to grow again in even greater measure. Samson’s strength was the greatest in his last act before his death.

Samson died protecting God’s covenanted people from evil by destroying their enemy. In Revelations 7, it is interesting to note that this tribe is not mentioned in the list of those 144,000 accounted for in the latter days. Those gifted with executing God’s justice in the end are either wiped out because of their pride, or they are martyred for the sake of His righteousness. I tend to believe they change like Samson and are martyred as you see them mentioned in Revelations when John describes the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21).

When God chooses to use the gift we see in Dan, it is so vital that the body of Christ listens as this gift helps the church recognize when it is getting off into idolatry. In humility, God’s people will heed the correction and move ahead. Prayer is key this month to find that narrow path that leads to truth.

This month of Tevet is associated with the Hebrew letter AYIN, which pictures an eye. What is God showing you or not showing you? What or who has the attention of your eyes and tugging on your heart? And what do the eyes of our Father in heaven, the great JUDGE, see when He observes you?  These are great questions to ponder as you examine your heart to prepare for the new Hebrew year.

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