At sundown on February 1st, we enter into the twelfth of the Hebrew calendar known as ADAR. In Hebrew, the word Adar means “strength.” God’s desire is that His people finish each year strong IN HIM so they receive a new dimension of blessing, mantle, and identity to enter in the New Year. This may require us all to put our “JOY ON” as we wrestle God for these “new clothes.”
It is interesting that this month is linked with the tribe of Naphtali. The name Naphtali in Hebrew means, “to struggle and wrestle forward.” Naphtali’s wrestle is to conquer and win the victory with the partnership of the Lord. His mother Rachel named him Naphtali because of her own struggles to give birth. “ With great wrestling’s I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.” (Gen. 30:8).
Naphtali’s father, Jacob, wrestled with the Lord as well. When Jacob was finally willing to let go of His IDOLS and grab hold of the Lord only, his wrestling changed history forever for himself, his family, and countless of multitudes that have now inherited God’s covenant promise. However, in the midst of Jacob’s struggle, the Lord touched the socket of his hip, making it difficult for Jacob to finish in his own strength. Jacob had to exercise faith to cling to the Lord alone (something that his muscles had not been accustomed to doing), and in the final hour Jacob says, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (Gen. 33:26)
There comes a point in all of our lives that our greatest efforts, gifts and talents can only get us by so far. If we want to cross the finish line of our God given destiny, we all need to go through the wrestling of submission to let go of control while we cling to God alone. This wrestling chooses to die to a life independent of God.
Before Jacob died, he prophesied over the tribe of Naphtali these words: “Naphtali is a deer let loose; he uses beautiful words.” The word “loose” comes from the Hebrew word shalach meaning, “to send away, cast away, to cast out, conduct, forsake, leave, let depart, push away.”
I believe this prophetic word speaks to us today as God wants us to “loose” idolatry, cast out the old, forsake the things that hold us back, push away the stumbling blocks, and spring forward into new freedom that God wants us to possess. This comes out of humility that always produces a blessing. “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.” Prov. 22:4
The expression, “let loose” has the implication of one who has escaped from the hunter. Deer are beautiful animals created to be free. If you have a gift of Naphtali, you never want to be in bondage. Freedom is the lifeline, and trying to tie down anyone with this gift is difficult because they are not meant to have any chains around their necks.
In Judges 4:6, we can read about one hero of Naphtali named Barak who worked with Deborah the judge to set God’s people free. This tribe was not typically known among the tribes as warriors. They were a part of the brigade with Dan and Asher in the rear guard, so they were not called to the front lines of battle. This is evident when Deborah confronted Barak why he wasn’t listening to the Lord who had commanded him to deploy troops against the enemy. Barak requested that Deborah assist him with this task because he didn’t feel he could do it alone. Barak wasn’t concerned with rank or women in the game plan. He just needed to find a way to obey the Lord only.
The symbol of the tribe of Naphtali is a deer. There is one interesting thing about deer that we need to consider for this month. A deer has no gall bladder. The gall bladder is an interesting part of the anatomy. The gall bladder is a membranous sac attached to the liver, in which excess bile is stored and concentrated. Bile is the bitter, yellow-brown or greenish fluid secreted by the liver. It is discharged into the duodenum and aids in digesting, especially fats. Bile produced and stored is like bitterness that is produced from an angry and jealous heart.
The beauty of Naphtali is that this tribe has the characteristic of one whom carries NO BITTERNESS! And because of that, “beautiful words come out of Naphtali’s mouth. “ God’s word says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt.12:34). This is a good month to examine what kind of communication is coming out of our mouth so we see what is in our heart. It is also a good month to communicate God’s heart and strategy for the New Year.
God says in Hebrews 12:14,15 “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without no one will see the Lord; looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness, springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” This month, I believe this is a time to reflect on the issues that lie deep within the heart and to “cast off” any bitterness, even bitterness toward ourselves, so we can enter into the joy of the Lord.
Moses also prophesies over this tribe before he dies in Deut. 33:23. “O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full of blessing of the Lord, possess the west and the south.” Because Naphtali represents a pure heart, the favor of God is with this tribe to bless them. True intercessors, a characteristic of this tribe, are one’s with a pure heart, willing to lay their life down and stand in the gap for all, even the wicked.
Moses says to Naphtali to “possess the west and the south.” The west speaks of the land that lay to the west of Naphtali, which was the Mediterranean Sea. It was the gateway to new lands and new adventures. This is symbolic of “entering into the New Year through the gateway God opens to a new year of adventure with Him.”
The south speaks of the pleasant things, which lie at the foot of Naphtali. It was the southern coast of Naphtali that Jesus preached most of His life. That was the sea coast of Galilee, and the town of Capernaum. The Sermon on the Mount was preached in the land blessed for Naphtali, in which Jesus said, “Blessed are those….”
Adar is the twelfth month, and twelve is the number for “government.” Jacob had twelve sons, and Jesus had twelve disciples. The first recorded words of Jesus in the New Testament were when He was 12 (Luke 2:42).
Twelve symbolizes God’s power and authority as well as serving as a perfect governmental foundation. New Jerusalem has 12 gates and Christ’s bride in Revelation 12 wears a crown of 12 stars. The Lord has a remnant of 12×12, totaling 144,000 that are marked as His. Jesus is coming back with “government on His shoulders” to rule and reign (Is. 9:7). We are being prepared to understand God’s government in heaven and apply it on earth.
Finally, I believe that this month of ADAR is key for the body of Christ. God has been calling on His people to get rid of their idols and to purify their hearts. The line in the sand has been revealed. God has been preparing His army to go into a GLOBAL season with Him. It is a season of preparing for His return, and it will require separation unto Him, and a willingness in the heart to say, “Not my will but yours.”
God is taking the masquerades off so we are naked before Him. When we are transparent and bare before the LORD, we have entered into the “fear of the LORD.” It is all about Him, and we dedicate our hearts to be led by Him, not ourselves.
God has “hidden” the remnant for a time. Our identity has been hidden. Our gifting has been hidden. Our regional, and national calling has been hidden. BUT, the wrestle is on, and the blessings are coming. God is taking off the masquerade and we will be seen as a people identified as His.
When it was God’s time, Esther’s true identity was revealed to the king. But that famous quote given to Esther when she was wrestling to step into that identity was, “For such a time as this.” It is for “such a time as this” we have all been called to understand His Covenant, His story, and His truth, and to walk accordingly in His plan.