SNAPSHOT OF AV
TRIBE: Simeon- Jacob’s second-born son with Leah. His name means, “to hear.” When Leah saw that she had born Jacob a second son, she said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has given me this son also.”
OCCURANCE: Between the months of July and August
DURATION: 30 days
IMPORTANT DAYS: The 9th of Av was the date of Israel’s sin of unbelief at Kadish Barnea. So every year on the 9th of Av, Israel finds that their enemies are too strong for them and they die. The result was that the month of Av became a month of mourning and destruction.
Tishah B’Av is a fast day of mourning that recalls the many tragedies that all happened on the 9th of Av.
5th month: on the Jewish Civil Calendar.
ALPHABET: The Hebrew Letter Tet
Modern: The Modern Hebrew name for this letter is tet, but probably originally pronounced thet, which means “mud” or “clay,” materials used to make baskets. It also represent a womb.
Paleo: Tet represents the number nine, and the paleo form of this word is similar to the pictograph.
Pictograph: The original pictograph for this letter is a container made of wicker or clay. Containers were a very important item among the nomadic Hebrews. They were used for storing grains, tools, foods, housewares and other items. Wicker baskets were used as nets for catching fish. The meanings of this letter are basket, contain, store and clay.
The Month 0f Tragedy
God designed Av to be a month to celebrate entering into Promise. But instead of believing God, the people of Israel agreed with unbelief and gave a negative confession. On the 9th of Av Israel chose to listen to the voice of unbelief! When they came to the promised land, God sent out twelve of them to spy out the land. Ten of them said, “Our enemy is too strong for us. We will all die!” They had even tasted the fruit of the land but still refused to enter. Only Joshua and Caleb said, “God will give this land into our hands!” And so, there became a mix of the voice of faith and the voice of unbelief. That’s why we must be careful which one of those voices we listen to agree with this month. When Israel held themselves back in unbelief, they had to spend 40 years in the wilderness. Every year the cycle comes back around, and the window of destruction opens again. This is not a coincidence of course; for Israel had put themselves under a curse. We can learn from their mistake and be careful not to curse ourselves with our mouths. Israel’s confession became a reoccurring reality in years to come.
- The 9th of Av – The destruction of the first temple (Babylonians 586 B.C.)
- The 9th of Av – The destruction of the second temple (Romans 70 A.D.)
- The 9th of Av – The Battle of Betar was lost
- The 9th of Av – Romans plowed over the Temple Mount
- The 9th of Av – The first crusade was launched, thousands of Jews were killed in 1095 A.D.
- The 9th of Av – All the Jews were expelled from England in 1290 A.D.
- The 9th of Av – All the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 A.D.
- The 9th of Av – The deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to death camps began in 1942
- The 9th of Av – The expulsion of the Jews from Gaza began in 2005
Coming out of the Dire Straits
The Jews call Av the time of “Dire Straits.” The word dire means a causing of great fear, or dreadful, or terrible. It also indicates trouble, disaster, or misfortune. The word strait means a narrow passage, or a position of difficulty, distress, or need. This tells us that from a Hebrew perspective, Av is not a month of joy and celebration. To the Jewish people, Av is a month of distress. On the 9th of Av, Israel found themselves in dire straits. It was a narrow place they needed to press though in faith. Satan often tries to bring God’s people into dire straits in the month of Av. The Jews also call Av the Eye of the Needle month. In the ancient world, city gates were always closed at nightfall. But the gates usually had a small door called “the eye of the needle.” Through this door, they could let people in and out, one at a time, after the gates of the city were closed. Sometimes a merchant would arrive after the gates were closed, and his camel would be burdened down with valuable merchandise to sell at the city market the next day. He wouldn’t have wanted to leave the camel outside. And so, the question at the eye of the needle was, “how can a camel get through?” There was a way- they needed to take off all the baggage it was carrying. The camel then had to get down on its knees, and when it did that it could pass through the eye of the needle.
Thus, going through the eye of the needle means that you are going through a narrow place, but if you humble yourself and get rid of your excess baggage, you can make it through! This month is a time to press through a narrow place. It is a “make it or break it” time! Some of you may be in a narrow place right now and you have felt uncomfortable with the situation you are in. Satan has come to offer you the products he is selling which are fear and anxiety about the future. He wants you to turn back in unbelief. You may be wondering at this point; how will I ever make it through this? Like Israel at Kadish Barnea, you may feel the walls closing in around you. You may feel like you must press through a narrow place to enter God’s promise. If you have been in a narrow place this month God wants you to know that He has made a way to bring you out of the dire straits and into His blessing!
Be a Caleb
Israel was terrified of the giants in the land. These giants were the same race as Goliath and were also known as the Nephilim or the Anakim. Jews believed that the Nephilim were half human descendants of demons interbreeding with humans. No wonder their hearts melted when they saw the giants in the Land of Promise. But in the midst of fear, one man stood up in faith- and his name was Caleb. His friends called him “mad dog,” and this is because his name means raging with canine madness. Caleb was like a mad dog for he had a fearless tenacity. He fixed his eyes on the goal and would not turn back in unbelief. He refused to let himself be discouraged, distracted, or intimidated. Caleb saw the giants standing in the land and said, “Let me have them!” He had faith to enter the land.
Do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.Numbers 14:9
Unfortunately, the people of Israel did not heed Caleb’s advice and turned back to the wilderness. Because of this, Caleb’s promise was postponed. For 40 years, Caleb wandered in the wilderness, waiting while the unbelieving generation died off. Then finally the window of opportunity came around again, for God directed Israel back to the Promised Land. They conquered that land. Well, that is every place but the hill country where the giants lived. Caleb was not satisfied with this because 45 years earlier, God had promised him the hill country and that promise was not yet fulfilled. And so, when the time came to divide up the land to the different tribes of Israel, Caleb said, “Give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.” (Joshua 14:12)
Caleb obtained the promise! At 85 years old, Caleb killed the giants, took the land, and left it as an inheritance to his children. So how did Caleb pull this off? The Bible says that Caleb had a different spirit (Numbers 14:24). Others drew back in fear, but Caleb rose up in faith and believed the promise of the Lord over what everyone else was saying and what he saw with his physical eyes. This is an example of us allowing our spirit man to rise up instead of the flesh. When Caleb took the land, he was still as strong as he had been 40 years earlier. This is because of the Lord infusing supernatural strength into him.
Those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]Isaiah 40:31
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.
He is Giving You Wings to Fly
One of the benefits of trusting the Lord is that He will strengthen you by the power of His awesome might! God wants you to know that if you keep a tenderness towards Him and are willing to be tenacious and press in without reserve or hesitation, it is never too late to receive the promise. He has already put within you the grace and the courage to trust Him in every situation you face. There are times when we have to strengthen ourselves in Him, remembering His history, testimony, and promise. Building trust in God’s identity will protect us from believing the lie our enemy offers to make our problems appear bigger than the solutions we carry. For wherever there is no sense of hope, it is under the influence of a lie. May the Lord reveal to you any areas of hopelessness in your life and renew a sense within you of the promise and provision attached to impossible seeming situations. Praising God is what will disarm the enemy in this season and cause you to be able to take the land of promise that God has given to you. Av is a month to look back at your personal history with God and see how He has led you through. For the Lord says that He is working out a good and perfect plan for your life! Like a monarch butterfly must squeeze though a narrow slit in its chrysalis to push all the blood into its wings so it can fly, we too must push through this season of choosing faith over unbelief. God desires to celebrate you receiving what He has promised. He is giving you wings to fly! When you see the monarchs flying around in the month of July and August, remember what they had to go through to get there! Push forward with faith this month and the Lord will lift you up.
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Pierce, Chuck D., et al. A Time to Advance: Understanding the Significance of the Hebrew Tribes and Months. Glory of Zion International, Inc., 2011.
I highly recommend A Time to Advance if you want to learn more about this subject.