SNAPSHOT OF ELUL
TRIBE: Gad- Jacob’s seventh son. His mother was Leah’s maid, Zilpah. His birth was welcomed by Leah with a cry, “Fortunate!” His name means, “fortune or luck.”
OCCURANCE: Between the months of August and September
DURATION: 29 days
IMPORTANT DAYS: There are no important days in this month, but Elul is known as “the month of repentance,” “the month of mercy,” and “the month of forgiveness.” Elul prepares us for the high holy days of Tishrei (our next Hebrew month). The Month of Elul is the month when Moses ascended to Mount Sinai to receive the second “tablet of the covenant.”
6th month: on the Jewish Civil Calendar.
ALPHABET: The Hebrew Letter Yud
Modern: The Modern Hebrew name yud is a derivative of the two letter word (yad), a Hebrew word meaning “hand,” the original name for the letter.
Paleo: The Hebrew letter Yud became a Greek letter known as iota, and then became the letter I and J in the Roman alphabet.
Pictograph: The original pictograph for this letter is an arm and a hand. The meaning of this letter is work, worship and throw; the functions of the hand.
Coming Into a Broad Place
In the Old Testament, God’s people had a celebration every month called, “Rosh Chodesh,” which meant the head of the month. It was a firstfruits celebration, a time of giving, praise, and rejoicing. This celebration was a time to honor God, and hear what God was saying prophetically about the month so they could stay in step with Him. Biblically every month is a new prophetic season. Today we are leaning into what God is saying about the month of Elul.
In the month of Elul, we go from a narrow place (The month of Av) to a broad place! This always reminds me of the monarch butterfly, because they must pass through their own narrow slit in the chrysalis to push all the blood into their wings to fly. And this month, in Minnesota, we see them flying around everywhere, preparing for their journey to Mexico. I love how God’s speaking to us through His creation and revealing to us the process of walking in step with Him. God could always make things easier, but there are precious things that He wants us to have that can only be produced through pressure. A butterfly’s ability to fly is initiated by tension. Flight requires a narrow place to push the blood through its wings. The same can be said of us in our process of growing up with God. Our faith and trust in God become stronger when we engage with God through our trials. When you realize you can’t do it on your own, your only choice is to lean on God, and this is where the blood of Christ floods every part of our being, infusing us with both purity and power. We need to constantly be purified by the power of the Word to lead people well.
The development of purity in trials is the contrast between David and his son Solomon. David was known as a man after God’s own heart, and I believe the reason for this was because of the hard things that David had to go through. He was constantly rejected by people, and he had to work through those times with God. In the Psalms we see the way his heart was postured to bring every problem to the Lord and receive heavenly solutions. A relationship between him and his God took place in those times of great pressure. This is because pressure removes impurities in our hearts when we keep leaning into the Lord.
Through times of testing, David’s heart became more and more like God’s. But for his son Solomon, there was no such pressure. And we can see how that affected Solomon’s heart. On the outside, everything appeared to be going well for him and the people of Israel, for Solomon had built a glorious house for God; Israel experienced great prosperity and peace; and he was known for having this incredible wisdom. What could go wrong? There was no purity, no refining of the heart of Solomon. In the end, he began to turn Israel away from God. His heart was given to fleshly desires, to the point where he was sacrificing his own children to the Phoenician false god Molech. Solomon is known as being the wisest fool there ever was. And we can learn from his mistake, by allowing the Lord to transform our hearts and minds, keeping a repentive heart so we can lead well in our areas of influence.
Pressure allows us two choices: pushing through in faith or moving into doubt. The Lord desires for us to experience the production of purity because He knows this will keep us aligned with Him, so that we can continue to walk in integrity before Him. King David wrote a beautiful Psalm after the Lord delivered him from his narrow place, and it describes how the Lord broke open a way and brought him into freedom. It is an important reminder and declaration of the character of God; that His love and faithfulness will make a way through!
God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field;Psalm 18:19 MSG
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
“The King is In the Field”
The Jewish people have an interesting phrase to describe the month of Elul. They say it is a month when “the King is in the field.” Let’s explore the meaning behind that phrase so that you can see how God wants to relate to you during this season. Typically, a king lives in a palace, surrounded by armed guards and iron gates. To have an audience with a king, you must make an appointment, learn palace protocol, and dress and act appropriately. You must go through layers of security to get into the throne room, which was always intimidating. An audience with the King was formal in nature, and a little frightening.
However, one month each year the king left his palace and went out among his people. He set up his royal tent in an open field, and welcomed all who wanted to see him. The announcement became, “the king is in the field!” This is how God relates to us, and the only reason we have this access to Him is because Jesus came into the field. We don’t need to climb up to the heavens to get God’s attention or follow some religious protocol. Jesus tore the veil, the wall of separation, so that we can have an audience with God Himself. The Lord has come into your field– where you live– to make Himself accessible and surprise you with His presence. He wants to meet with you in the everyday affairs of your life. His glorious presence is available and accessible for you!
Will you run into His tent? The Bible says that the name of the Lord is a strong tower, and when the righteous run into it, they are safe. There is an invitation for us to run to Him, throwing ourselves into His arms, and become utterly lost in His loving embrace, giving ourselves totally to Him. It’s important that we remember that our Heavenly Father is like the father in the parable of the prodigal son; He is watching and waiting for us to make the first move, and as soon as we do– He starts running towards us. If you know anything about the culture of the time of Jesus, you would know that a man running towards his child would have been seen as a disgraceful act. Men don’t run, especially those who are held in high regard. It would have been socially unacceptable, and that is the beauty of a relationship with our Heavenly Father- He won’t let anything get in the way of loving us.
“I Am My Beloved And My Beloved Is Mine”
The Hebrew month of Elul is the time of preparation. We are choosing how we enter the new Hebrew year. The choices we make each day will set the course of our future, so it’s important to evaluate priorities during this time so that they align with God’s will for your life. The greatest way to prepare for the year ahead is to draw closer to God. James 4:8 says, “Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you.” There is no greater pursuit than going after God with all of your heart. Intimacy with Him keeps us from destruction and makes our paths straight. The interpretation given to the very name of the month, Elul, says it all. The word “Elul” forms an acrostic. There is a phrase in the Song of Solomon 6:3, – “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine”– in Hebrew, the first letter of each word in that phrase spells out the name of this month: ELUL.
The rabbis understood this book (Song of Solomon) as teaching that our ideal relationship to God can only be understood when compared to the love between man and woman. The Shulamite bride is the Church (that is you and me), and the Bridegroom King is Jesus. The verse above is spoken by the Shulamite bride to the Bridegroom King, and it is an oath of love. In the Passion Translation it reads,
“I am fully devoted to my beloved,
and my beloved is fully devoted to me.”
Fully devoted. Our communion with God is very much maintained and kept up by the frequent renewing of our covenant with him and rejoicing in it. The term devotion is a covenant word. It defines the terms of love between two people, and it separates all other relationships. You can only be truly devoted to one person, and it is the same way with Jesus. Does He have your time, energy, thoughts, desires, gifts, and resources? If we are truly His, we share those things together. And as His wife, we must fully submit to Him our very lives. Love is a mutual exchange of surrender to one another, without conditions. God’s plan for our relationship with Jesus is oneness. When we make covenant with Jesus through His blood and His body, we are becoming one with Christ. Isn’t that brilliant?
It is always us and Jesus, in every situation we face, because we cannot be separated! What sweet and precious loyalty there is in our Kinsman Redeemer. My encouragement for you this month is to read the Song of Songs every day. You can read the entire book every day for the whole month of Elul. Or, you can set aside a certain portion to read for the week. If you read 4 verses a day, you will be able to finish the Song of Solomon within 29 days. Whatever you can do, I believe the Lord wants to reignite a passion in you for your Beloved, Jesus.
This month is a time to run into the tower of Yahweh’s might. God has a strength greater than yours that will encompass you when you lean into His embrace. This is a form of rest that proves to God that we trust Him. We need to learn how to rest in a storm; leaning on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness. Jesus did not need to address the storm when they were in the boat fearing death. Jesus had such a oneness with God that He knew they would make it to the other side. We can have that assurance too, but it takes focusing our eyes on our Beloved, and resting in His loving arms.
As I mature in Christ, I am realizing that submitting to God must always come first in any battle I face. We need alignment with God to have the power to fight the enemy. And then there are many times when it isn’t our battle to fight because it belongs to the Lord. The only way to know this is by strengthening yourself in the Lord and giving Him your ‘yes!’ He will tell you how to cooperate with Him, and it will go a lot easier for you if you let Him take the lead. Ask me how I know. It’s been a journey of falling on my face and getting back up again. Proper alignment is needed in our warfare, and the only way to be aligned is to come to God in humility, asking Him to remove the things in your heart that were not placed there by Him. God desires to create in you a clean heart and renew a right spirit within you (Psalm 51:10). Let Him in and watch the reward of your submission. Whatever is broken will be made whole, and whatever is missing will be restored.
Purify my conscience!
Wash me in your love until I am pure in heart.
Satisfy me in your sweetness.
Hide my sins from your face; erase all my guilt by your saving grace.
Keep creating in me a clean heart.
Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please youPsalm 51:9-10 (TPT)
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I can’t wait for you to jump in with me!
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.