SNAPSHOT OF SHEVAT
TRIBE: Asher- This tribe of Israel originated from Jacob’s 8th son Asher, who was the second son of Leah’s maid Zilpah. The word Asher means “happy.”
OCCURANCE: Between the months of January and February
DURATION: 30 days
IMPORTANT DAYS: Tu B’Shvat This is a minor Jewish holiday, occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is also called “The New Year of the Trees.” Similar to our Abor day.
11th month: on the Jewish Civil Calendar
ALPHABET: The Hebrew Letter Tsade (also known as Tzadik or Tsadi)
Modern: this letter symbolizes the “righteous one” or the “bride of Christ.” If you look closely, you can see the knee that is bent in submission to God, the head looking up, and the hand extended in both surrender and positioned to receive.
Paleo: this letter Tsade got its name from the name of a fishing hook or a bird trap, which is related to the root tzod which means “to hunt, catch, capture.”
Pictograph: this ancient symbol represent a journey one takes to a stronghold.
The Almond Tree
Almond trees are a symbol to remind us that God is watching over our lives. In Israel, these trees start blossoming in the winter. They are the first tree to blossom and yet the last tree to bear fruit. The Hebrew word for almond, shaked, is also translated “to watch”. By seeing the almond branch, God assures Jeremiah that He is watching over His word to perform it, no matter the time in between the promise and its completion. The lesson of the almond tree for us today is that God will watch over His word either for curse or for blessing. At this point in time, we are watching sin and immorality engulf nations. In addition, we are also seeing a lack of righteousness within the Church. Instead of despairing, we should remember: God is watching!
Just as Jeremiah foresees a miraculous restoration for Israel, we must also see (with our spiritual eyes) the miraculous restoration of our nation. “And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them, to destroy, and to afflict… so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:28) When we decide to dedicate our lives to God, He promises to watch over us for good. Remember that every promise has a provision attached to it. Resurrection power lives within us, therefore we can agree with God for the resurrection of dead things in our lives and in the lives of those around us. It is encouraging to remember that when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our weaknesses, He sees His Son!
SHEVAT – A Time to Check in With Holy Spirit
Before a new month begins, I love to spend some time with the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit about what He wants to do during this time. There are distinct patterns that emerge depending on the season, and the theme for Shevat is a time to evaluate what the Lord has given you to steward. Each of us has been given a portion in our lives to steward for the Lord. It is our responsibility to avoid burying that portion because of fear. In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about financial stewardship (Matthew 25:14-30) to disclose how stewardship works in the Kingdom. And while this is a parable relating to finances, our portion in His Kingdom is more than money.
Each of us has been given resources. Some of those resources are not tangible, and include things like forgiveness, along with the seeds of the fruit of His Spirit. What we have received from Him, we have the responsibility to steward and release that to others. We have been forgiven; therefore we are responsible for releasing forgiveness to others. Love is the same way. He loved us, and now we are called to steward that incredible love. We must first receive this love in its fullness, and then show others what that love looks like.
Besides money and the fruits of His Spirit, God has given each of us a section of His Kingdom where we have influence. The amount of influence is not important and remember that the amount within your portion does not express how valuable you are to Him. Everyone in the Kingdom has value, no one is more valuable or less valuable than anyone else. But God does give to whom He chooses, and any amount is capable of being multiplied in faith and in time. Maybe you are in a season where your portion looks like your children. That is a serious responsibility that the Lord greatly treasures and esteems, one that our world neglects to honor. Or maybe there is a group of people the Lord has given you to encourage in their walk with Him. Whatever it looks like, take that responsibility seriously and continuously ask the Lord for guidance. It is an honor and privilege to steward God’s resources. This should not be burdensome, but full of God’s grace for the race He has put you on. Sometimes it helps to ask Him to show you where His grace is in a certain area. If you sense a lack of grace, simply ask Him for revelation. Sometimes we step out of our boundary lines and take on things that God never gave us to manage. The only way to know if this is the case for you is to ask the one who set your boundary lines!
This is a time to spend with the Lord and ask for Him to show you the trees in your field. Are these trees bearing fruit?
We each have key people in our lives right now that are important for us to be connected to generationally. Take some time to write down things that you need to do now to take better care of yourself, your relationships, or your portion before you try to expand it. Ask Him to show you what it will look like for you to expand where you are now to where you feel you are supposed to go. It is vital for us to have big dreams, callings, and goals. When was the last time you had a dream? Have you lost hope on your dreams? If so, ask the Lord to reignite a fire in you to dream again.
We also must be honest about where we are currently. When we steward what we have now, it will grow into something bigger. There are no shortcuts in the Kingdom, and this is for your benefit! Do not give up, persevere with the Lord! Keep working with Holy Spirit in the areas He has given you now.
- Who are some father or mother figures in your life?
- Who are some peers in your life?
- Who are some sons or daughters in your life?
Guarding Your Thoughts
Since the Hebrew letter for this month is related to the root word tzod (meaning to hunt, catch, or capture), there is an emphasis on capturing thoughts that do not agree with God’s Word. Below is a verse to meditate on this month, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance as you manage your thought life to be honoring to His Word.
God, I thank you for this month of Shevat, and that you have good plans for me that will cause me to prosper. I also recognize that there will be challenges this month, and I thank you that by the power of the blood of Jesus and the guidance of Your Spirit I can overcome them all! Father, would you show me if there are any deceptive fantasies that oppose You in my thought life? Are there any arrogant attitudes that I have adopted? Please show me how to capture these rogue thoughts and bring them into total obedience to Christ. Thank you for the grace you offer me as I am learning to manage my inner world with you. I release any worries or fears connected to my callings and my spheres of influence. Holy Spirit, infuse me with supernatural courage and strength to accomplish what You have given me this month! My heart is to expand what You have provided for me. Would You enlighten my spiritual eyes to see what has been provided, and enlarge my discernment to know how to increase my resources? All of it for your glory! Amen.
- “The Lesson of the Almond Tree.” Edited by Juergen Buehler , The Lesson of the Almond Tree | ICEJ International, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, 1 Apr. 2011, https://int.icej.org/content/lesson-almond-tree.
- “The Letter Tsade.” Edited by John J Parsons, The Letter Tsade, https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/Tsade/tsade.html.
- Pierce, Chuck D., et al. A Time to Advance: Understanding the Significance of the Hebrew Tribes and Months. Glory of Zion International, Inc., 2011.