At sundown on August 27th, we celebrate the beginning of the sixth month of the Hebrew Covenant Calendar known as ELUL. Elul is about reconnecting our hearts to the Father’s heart, especially with our national covenant purpose.
Elul is linked to the tribe of Gad. Gad was the seventh son of Jacob, and his name primarily means a “troop.” This is a month to gather together, like a unified troop, committed to the serving the Lord’s army and following His command, ready for His return.
GAD can also be translated as: good fortune, to attack, to overcome, to invade, and to gather together. All of these translations mirror the skill set and strength of Gad as God’s greatest warriors in His army.
As this month completes the summer season, it sets up the time to regroup as His “troop” and prepare for the Fall Feasts ahead.
This month reminds us of the “good fortune” that comes when God’s people choose to gather together in a heart of humility, repentance, and forgiveness toward Him and each other.
Because ELUL translates to a month that God wants to meet us intimately right where we are and “hang with us,” we can set our faith to have a personal encounter with the Father. This month pictures the King leaving His heavenly throne to come and visit us in the earth in a tangible way that makes us remember God is with us and loves us.
This blueprint is seen through the ministry of Jesus here on the earth: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” John 1:14. For the times we are living in today, God is making Himself known through the gatherings of those dwelling together in unity, manifesting His power and glory.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron” (Psalm 133:1-2).
The word “dwelling” is actually the word for “tent” or “tabernacle.” Jesus left His throne to come and “tabernacle” among us for 33 years. Then He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit who “dwells” within us. When we join other believers in unity of heart, we form a corporate tabernacle that can host His holy habitation.
Historically in the Old Testament, the two months prior to ELUL were tragic in the days of Moses. The children of Israel had built the golden calf, and when Moses returns to find them worshipping idols, he broke the tablets of Covenant. Moses called out, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side, come to me” (Ex. 32:26)! Those who came were then given instruction to kill everyone else left, totaling 3,000 people.
Afterwards, Moses instructed the remaining people to consecrate themselves while he set out to ask God to pardon them for their sin. The Lord continued to plague the people, as their “stiff-necked” demeanor needed further chastisement, including removing their idols. After many days of intercession, God answered Moses’ plea for mercy and the plague stopped.
God then instructed Moses to go back up to Mount Sinai on the first day of ELUL to get the second tablets of covenant. While Moses was gone, the children of Israel gathered together and prepared their hearts in humility. They understood it was only the mercy of God that had given them a second chance.
As we celebrate Firstfruits, this month is symbolic of the body of Christ getting their hearts ready individually and corporately in humility and thanksgiving for God’s mercy, awaiting for Jesus to return as King.
Finally, the tribe of GAD was renown as great warriors and taking the lead line in the battlefield. 1 Chronicles 12:8 says, “Some Gadites joined David at the stronghold in the wilderness, MIGHTY MEN OF VALOR, MEN TRAINED FOR BATTLE, who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains.”
Before Moses died, he prophesied over the tribe of Gad. “..he (Gad) administered the justice of the Lord, and His judgments with Israel” Deut. 33:21.
The Gadites were effective when they joined the king’s forces and came under their authority and purpose. Gad reminds us how effective we can be for the Lord’s army as we learn to submit under His command so we can defeat our enemy.
The great prophet, Elijah, was from the tribe of Gad. His life illustrates how one man can take down the enemies of the camp with the “sword/word.” The story of Elijah confronting the false prophets of Baal really capture the essence of Gad’s spiritual strength, as well as the Father’s heart of giving his people an opportunity to repent and forgive before judgment comes.
In 1 Kings18:18, King Ahab accuses Elijah of being a “troubler of Israel.” Elijah boldly answers, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed after Baals.” It was after this encounter that Elijah challenged King Ahab to bring all the false prophets to Mount Carmel. Ahab takes on the challenge, and brings the children of Israel as well.
God then uses Elijah to draw a line in the sand between righteousness and justice, giving the children of Israel the opportunity to humble themselves and escape God’s judgment. In verse 21, Elijah speaks to the people, “How long with you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” Unfortunately, God’s people did not respond to this call.
Elijah then challenges the false prophets to a sacrifice dual. “Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” 1 Kings 18:24 Elijah eventually calls on the Lord after the false prophets fail the task. The Lord consumes the sacrifice with fire, and then has all the false prophets executed.
This is the same cry of God’s heart even today: HOW LONG WILL YOU FALTER BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS? God wants to see the gift of Gad rise up in all of us and confront the enemy, but more importantly, he wants us to have ears to hear His rebuke so we can repent ourselves before judgment comes.
After Elijah’s huge victory over the enemy, we find him alone in the wilderness, fleeing in fear for his life after Queen Jezebel threatens to kill him. This was right after he was used by God to call down the fire of judgment on the false prophets. This hidden fear in Elijah was exposed when he SAW Jezebel and HEARD her threat. All of the sudden, God became small compared to Jezebel’s threat to kill him.
The prophesied word that was spoken over Gad by Jacob/Israel before he died gives insight as to why Elijah struggled with this weakness when encountering Jezebel. Genesis 49:19 prophecies of GAD in the latter days: “Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, BUT he shall triumph at last.”
This prophecy over Gad uses the word “troop” to describe Gad’s enemy. This indicates that Gad’s greatest enemy can be himself because “a troop” is what Gad’s name means! The enemy can work on the soul of Gad to defeat himself, even though he is known as a great warrior. This happened even to the great prophet Elijah. How many Christians today are defeated by their own fears instead of the fear of the Lord?
God, however, came to Elijah in a still small voice, meeting him intimately in his weakness. As God spoke, Elijah gathered strength, humility, and the Lord’s instruction on moving forward with what his role was to forward the kingdom cause. This is the heart of ELUL, and the heart that is ready to meet the King!
“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” Proverbs 16:6
This month will be beautiful for those who are seeking the LORD. God will meet them heart to heart. He will give them a glimpse of His “Holy Habitation” and fortify the connections that are His for the season. But for those who aren’t, it will be a month that is NOT filled with peace, but rather another difficult month to war against the flesh and the ways of the world.