TEVET FIRSTFRUITS

The tenth month of the Hebrew calendar, known as Tevet, begins this Friday, December 23rd. Ten is the number associated with godly order, authority, and testimony. Tevet is a great month to reflect how your year has been 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” with the Father, digging into His Word and prayer. 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, but rather, a time to heighten our discernment. As a matter of fact, the “backdoor” is usually not a place our natural eyes can easily see, so we can be surprised by the attack of the enemy, especially when it comes through family and friends.

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.

To “judge” is our high calling to exercise Gods authority, but to do so with a heart of humility that is yielded to the Holy Spirit. As we step into a situation with righteous authority, the witness will be Godly order, justice, deliverance, healing, and peace in the midst of chaos and confusion, which is a valuable asset.

Dan’s gift can bring about a “holy anger” when injustice occurs. “Holy anger” can be used in prayer effectively to seek God for His judgment and action plan. However, anger left uncircumcised can lead to destructive behavior outside of Gods authority. King Saul was an example of a ruler with jealous anger toward David that led to authorizing his troops to kill him.

The Pharisees were also an example of uncircumcised authority, rooted in their need for power and control. The doctrine imposed, which was a “mixture” of God’s truth and ways, resulted in a “holy”enslavement system to keep the people under their rulership. These legal systems made way for these “judges” to become bullies and tyrants.

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 be a “judge” to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

Samson had grown 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. Later in life, Samson became quite head strung because he didn’t have to lean on anyone to help him succeed. Sadly, this included God.

Samson fell into the trap of the “sins of the flesh,” which can happen easily when we are gifted, yet lack humility. Samson leaned into his gift to acquire assets and feeding his own desires. (Judges 14:12). Many judges today exemplify this fault.

Samson also chose to disobey God’s laws and statutes. The Israelites were not to have relations with a harlot, marry a Philistine, or eat from the carcass of an unclean animal. These are just a few things Samson chose to do despite Gods instruction. However, each of these choices opened up the door for the “destroyer” to cut off his anointing and weaken the nation to their enemies.

Betrayal summarized much of Samson’s love life, igniting ANGER in his heart that fueled revenge and killed many (Judges 15:7). As a result, Samson mimicked the traits of his enemy rather than a righteous witness for God.

Samson managed to have 20 years of leading Israel to help them live peaceably with the enemies around them because this was Gods purpose in anointing Samson. But as he continued to compromise and follow his own ways, the consequences of these actions caught up to him and left him to deal with them in his own strength.

The judgment came after Samson fell prey to his lust for Delilah (Judges 16). The Philistines soon sought to hire Delilah to obtain the secret of Samson’s supernatural strength. Delilah agreed to the lucrative deal, and set forth to use her charm to try and get the intel. Samson became worn down with her persistence, and finally shared his secret to her. While he was sleeping (unaware), she “cut off” his hair (his anointing) and handed him over to the Philistine leaders. This was a classic “back door” sneak attack scenario that came through betrayal but brought on by Samson’s disobedience to God.

Samson’s story speaks loudly today that we cannot just lean on the grace of God to further His kingdom cause. We need to line up with His truth and ways because the compromises over time steal our ability to exercise Gods authority, and leave us vulnerable to the enemy who waits until the opportune time to strike a blow. Not only did the Philistines de-platform Samson as leader, but they ripped his eyes out and shackled him to prevent him from leading again.

Although Samson was captured and imprisoned, eventually, the gift grew back (his hair) in his brokenness before God. Out of his “fiery trial,” Samson received spiritual” eyes to see Gods kingdom cause, which later gave him the ability to wipe out the Philistines while sacrificing his own life. Samson found a measure of humility to judge righteously.

God’s gift in us all can appear to be swallowed in darkness because of our pride, but it is never snuffed out. In humility, God will allow His gift in us all to rise to a greater measure when we submit to His authority. Samson’s strength was the greatest in his last act before his death.

Coincidently, this month of Tevet is associated with the Hebrew letter AYIN, which is a picture of an eye. Like Samson, God wants us to learn to see through our spiritual eyes what is happening in our lives and in the world around us. Hopefully, we can take some pointers from Samson’s story this month so we don’t have to learn this the hard way!

This month, ask God for His discernment so you can judge yourself righteously and those around you with the help of the Holy Spirit. What or who has the attention of your eyes and tugging on your heart? What does 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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