Kislev 5777 (2016)

identity 1

I have been blogging about the Hebrew months for 2 years now and I’ve learned so much.   God’s calendar is not like ours…. He has a different way of looking at time. After all, He created time! He designed a calendar to help us stay in step with Him as we move through the year. His calendar was established at creation….

Gen 1:14 “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”.  

On God’s calendar day begins in the evening not the morning.  Night watches set the stage for the new day.  His calendar includes “set apart” or “appointed” days such as the yearly cycle of Feasts and the weekly Sabbaths.  Israel began every month with a first fruits celebration called Rosh Chodesh (Head of the Month).  They did this because they wanted to honor God at the start of every month and during this celebration they also gathered to seek prophetic direction for each month….because they knew every month was like a prophetic season for them. Gathering for First-fruits allowed them to live in sync with God’s timing.

So, what is God saying about the month of Kislev…..

The month of Kislev (כִּסְלֵו in Hebrew) is considered a “month of darkness” because as you move through Kislev the days get shorter and the nights get longer.  But Kislev is not only a month of darkness but a month of light shining in the darkness. It is the month of Chanukah, which is the festival of lights.  God has called us to be a light in the darkness to the world… not just in this month but all the time.

Matthew 5:14 in the Message translation says “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.”  Verse 16 in the same translation says  “Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”  I LOVE that!  By opening up and being generous of myself, my family, my home, my possessions, it will prompt them to open up with God!

Kislev is also the 9th month.   Nine is the number for fruitfulness, completion, fullness of blessings and Holy Spirit.  It is the 9th month on the Hebrew Biblical calendar (counting from Nisan)….. it is a number of Divine blessings, divine completeness, and divine judgment.  9 is the number of gifts of the Holy Spirit and there are 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Twice in the book of Acts the 9th hour is associated with prayer (Acts 3 and Acts 10)  And then of course the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost at 9am in Acts 2:15!   Through the number 9 of this month God gives us a prophetic revelation of what to believe for in our lives…. again, not just this month but all the time.  So let’s believe God for an increase of supernatural healings, angelic visitations, and Holy Spirit outpourings upon our households and families.   

Nine is also usually a number representing finality and judgement.  Lately I’ve been studying a lot on grace and the finished work of the cross… I think the number 9 represents the finality (completeness) and judgement of the Cross so beautifully… God’s judgement was poured out on Jesus who was crucified at 9am (Mark 15:25) and then at the 9th hour (3pm) He said “it is finished!”  We are able to walk in the gifts and the fruit of Holy Spirit because of the finished work of the Cross and in our set prayer times let us continually give thanks to God for the judgement He poured out on Jesus and for the grace of this finished work… the complete work… that grace that enables us to live on Earth as it is in Heaven… to walk in our inheritance… no sickness, no poverty, no lack, only total victory in all areas of our life

I think the most important thing about this month is receiving revelation of your true identity. Kislev is the month of the Hebrew tribe of Benjamin… it is a month to begin to uncover your true identity.   Whenever God changes someones name in scripture, their destiny changes… their new identity becomes their true identity… the identity He had for them all along.  

Gen 35:18 Rachel was dying. As she took her last breath, she named her son Benoni [Son of My Sorrow], but his father named him Benjamin [Son of My Right Hand].

Benjamin was one of those individuals who had a name change which altered the course of his destiny.  Although the tribe of Benjamin lost their way for a bit and were almost destroyed (see the story in Judges 20 – they lost 25,000 men!  Only 600 survived) they ended up strong with members of their tribe saving the Jewish population (Esther and Mordecai) and writing almost the entire New Testament and fulfilling Israel’s destiny of being a light to the Gentiles (Apostle Paul)

Benjamin was the youngest child of Jacob and Rachel….and one of the smallest of the tribes of Israel. Rachael’s first son was Joseph and her second was Benjamin. She died giving birth to him.   Before she died, she  named him Benoni (son of my pain).   Jacob knew this was not the identity God wanted him to have and so he renamed him Benjamin (son of my right hand… or son of honor)God’s destiny for Benjamin is in Gen 49:27 “When Jacob blessed him he said, “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.”  The tribe of Benjamin were fierce warriors, skilled in warfare… trained to hit the mark.  The tribe of Benjamin had many distinguished slingers and archers such as in Judges 20:16, where we read of 700 “left-handed” slingers who could sling stones at a hair and not miss! One such Benjamite by the name of Ulam, had 150 sons and grandsons who were expert archers. (1 Chron 8:40) while King Asa had an army comprised of 280,000 valiant warriors from the tribe of Benjamin. (2 Chron. 14:8, 17:7)

King Saul was a Benjamite and also a skilled warrior (a quality God would use to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines – see 1 Sam 9:16)… however, nothing of spiritual significance is ever mentioned when we are introduced to Saul in 1 Sam 9:2.  What is mentioned is how impressive his lineage and family status is and his physical appearance. Saul is chosen as king because the people asked to be given “a king to lead them like the other nations” (1 Sam 8:5).  Even after Samuel warns them that he (Saul – whose name means “asked of”) will be a king that will take everything from them (sons, daughters, land, vineyards, etc) and make them like slaves… they still choose to have a king.

God, however, in His grace, put a new heart in Saul and made him a changed man (1 Sam 10:6,9) He did this in order to help him succeed as a righteous king.  In contrast, David needed no such change in order to rule… he was already a man after God’s heart, having spent his whole life cultivating a relationship with God.  God literally changed Saul in order to make him the kind of man who could rule and be King. When God removed His anointing… from Saul, He truly removed the qualities that made him king. He left behind the man Saul originally had been and worse.  He became the man who hunted and tried to kill David.  However, his son Jonathan cut covenant with David which forever united the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  Although the potential was there… Saul was given a new identity when he became a changed man with a new heart, his fear of men (1 Sam 15:24) caused his downfall.  Rather than walk in the “new man” that he had become, he chose to fear the people instead of God.

Saul of Tarsus is another Benjamite who had an identity change….. he was given a new heart, a new nature, a new name (Paul) and also given the Name above all Names!  He was changed from Saul to Paul in Acts 9.  Unlike the king who he was originally named for, Paul chose to walk in this new identity and fulfill the destiny God had for him…. a destiny which included writing most of the New Testament, planting churches, and being an apostle to the Gentiles…. he advanced the Kingdom.  He counted the natural qualities of his old self (which were quite impressive) as nothing… in fact he called them “rubbish or dung” compared to gaining Christ.  He received from God the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness and therefore “reigned” in life IN CHRIST.

Sometimes circumstances or people in life brand you with an identity that God never chose for you.  The way you view yourself is not how God views you.  This month choose to change your identity and be all that God has called you to be.  If you are like king Saul, held captive by fear, this is a month to be set free.  Ask God to show you the habit patterns and ways of thinking that hold you in an old cycle.  Guard the word of your mouth, this is a time of confession and decree… what you say now determines your future.  Ask God to breathe fresh revelation on you this month revealing your true identity in Christ… your sonship identity.  And then begin walking as a son. For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation (the revelation) of the sons of God (Romans 8:19)

~ Robin

Abraham’s Journey part 3….. from Abram to Abraham

abraham in hebrew

So in our last 2 blog posts, Abram has been on a journey with God… a journey towards his destiny… a journey of finding the Abraham that God created him to be.  This journey required that he leave behind his father, his family and his country.  God wanted to be a Father to Abram and to transform Abram into Abraham, the father of many nations.  First he had to be taught what a true father is…. his father was not teaching him about a covenant relationship with God but rather covenant relationships with idols.  Abraham made the choice to leave and set out on this journey to Canaan.

He took his wife Sarai with him and all their cattle and servants that they accumulated in Haran… and verse 4 says that Lot went with him.  In the Hebrew it says Lot walked (halak) with him…. halak means to live following a manner of life, to follow the precepts of God, to follow after.  Lot was following Abram who was following God… reminds me of 1 Cor 11:1 when Paul told the Corinthians to “follow him as I follow Christ” or “imitate me as I imitate Christ”.  

Jump ahead 5 chapters to chapter 17 and Abram is now 99. It’s here that God gives Abram a token… a sign of the covenant He made with him in chapter 15… after he rescued Lot and gave a 10th of all (tithe) to Melchizedech.  This was essentially a covenant of grace…  Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.    It’s here also that God reveals himself to Abram as El Shaddai….the God who is enough… Who is able and is everything we need.  It also comes from a root meaning “to pour out”…I am that God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, continually.”  Then He tells Abram to walk before him and be blameless.  At first glance this looks like God is giving Abram a command in order to reap the blessings of the covenant.  … to walk (halak), to follow after Him and to be complete, whole.   But remember back in chapter 15:17 “God caused Abraham to fall asleep, and then He came down in the image of a smoking firepot and flaming torch and walked through the separated halves of the sacrificed animals by Himself”…. God was committed to upholding the covenant.. to blessing Abraham and his descendants whether they were faithful or not.   It was a covenant established on grace not works.  God was telling Abraham to walk with him,  to follow after Him and God (El Shaddai) would make him complete and whole… would pour out The Blessing on his life abundantly and continually.  

And finally it’s here that he changes Abram’s name to Abraham.  God added the Hebrew letter “hei” to Abram’s name.  Hei is the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is a number of grace, goodness and favor.  It speaks of revelation and light.  It is also the wind, breath…the Spirit of God…blowing on us.  It is the divine breath of God breathed into Adam releasing His life into Adam.  Adding hei to the end of a noun allows it to  be fruitful and productive – it is the transforming power of the Spirit.  All of this was added to Abram when he finally became Abraham at 99.  God poured out on him… added to him… grace, goodness, favor, revelation, light and of course the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to be fruitful and productive.  Abram became Abraham – a man whose destiny is wrapped up in and made manifest through the work of God’s Spirit (the hei) working within and through him.

We also receive a new identity when we follow after God and walk in covenant with Him… we are now IN CHRIST…. we are then able to walk complete and whole, blameless before God…. in the completed, finished work of the Cross and Resurrection and we receive the Holy Spirit… Who transforms us, equips us, helps us, making us fruitful. We are new creatures IN CHRIST through grace and empowered by Holy Spirit to walk out our God given destinies….  Gal 3:14, Gal 5:22-23, Rom 8:14, 1 Cor 12:4-11, Eph 3:20 and Eph 3:1-16 just to name a few scriptures.   The letter “hei” is all about GRACE…..the infusion of the very BREATH or LIFE of God within us.

Today allow Him to introduce you to your new self… to the you IN CHRIST, a new creature that never existed before!

 

 

~ Robin

Abraham’s Journey part 2… lech lecha

genesis 12;1

Genesis 12:1 begins with God telling Abraham to  “Go for yourself, from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” and then He gives him a promise as a result of doing that….And I will make you a great nation, and bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.  And of course we know that this promise… the Blessing… is ours also according to Galatians 3:9 “So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.”

God didn’t just tell Abraham to leave his land, relatives and father’s house.  He said to him “lech lecha”.  Lech Lecha is a unique phrase that God only spoke in the Old Testament to Abraham.  To everyone else (Moses, Jacob, etc) He said “kum” which means arise and is always spoken to those who need to come up to a higher level to follow God.  Lech Lecha on the other hand is an invitation.  Literally it means “you go” but it means so much more.   Most biblical scholars say that adding lecha to lech serves to make the verb more intense.  God is telling Abram that this is not just a command to leave home, it is an invitation to journey to himself.  Literally means “come to yourself”… find the you I’ve called you to be!  Go to the Land that I will show you – where I will make  you VISIBLE – where your “potential being” will be realized in multiform and unpredictable ways.

In order to embark on this journey he had to first do 3 things… leave his birthplace, his relatives and his father’s house.

His birthplace implies boundaries and he had to cross those boundaries and leave them behind…. leave his past behind.  He had to cross the Euphrates just like Eber did… to become a Hebrew (one who crosses over) on his own not on his ancestor’s merits.

His family implies influence.  Abraham’s family worshipped idols. God wanted to be Abraham’s influence and wanted to make Abraham an influence to the world around him.  He wanted to become the God of Abraham and through Abraham bless all the families of the earth.  He couldn’t do that if Abraham’s family were his influence.

His father’s house implies control.  Our fathers are our teachers whether for good or for bad. We are under their sphere of control for many years. As a result it is difficult to separate from the need to seek our father’s approval. This is not to suggest that we should ignore, disrespect or dishonor our fathers. The simple fact is we must grow up. We must learn to seek God’s approval in place of our fathers’ approval.  Our fathers are our teachers. They protect, correct and provide for our needs. They are responsible to God to direct us and to use their influence to guide us in the Word.  However, Abram’s father was an idol maker. He was an idol worshipper…. he was not teaching Abram to worship the one true God.  Terah wasn’t guiding Abram to a relationship with God but rather a life without God.

God is also calling us… inviting us to journey to find ourselves in His Word. He is saying to each of us “Lech Lecha”.   An invitation… an adventure to find who we are IN CHRIST and to fulfill the destinies He has for… to be who He created us to be.  In order to do that we first need to leave behind any boundaries that keep us from God and from crossing over into the fullness of who He is… the abundance of His grace towards us.  And also leave behind those things or people that influence and control us away from God.  Even our own ideas and beliefs that keep us from being all that we are IN HIM.

The next blog we will talk about Abraham’s name change and the next part of his true identity transformation……..

~ Robin

Abraham’s Journey part 1… leaving his father

the journey

Genesis 11:31-32 “One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there. Terah lived for 205 yearsf and died while still in Haran.”

Terah and his family (Abram, Sarai, and Lot) set out for Canaan from Ur but they never got there, leaving Nahor and Milcah behind.  We don’t know why  Terah left Ur… something motivated him to leave Ur.  We know that his son Haran had died but that’s all the Bible tells us.  What we do know is that Terah never made it to Canaan. He wanted to go. He started in that direction. But the Bible says, in Genesis 11:31, “But when they came to Haran, they settled there.” The Hebrew word for settled is yashab and means “to sit down.” The thing about “yashab” is it’s a perfect form verb tense.  A perfect form verb describes an action that is completed, done, finished.  It is also an active perfect form which implies purpose.  Terah purposed to sit down there.  He put his roots down in Haran, and there, according to Genesis 11:32, Terah died. Terah had a dream to make it to Canaan but the dream died with him in Haran. He never completed his journey.

We don’t know exactly how long Abraham stayed in Haran… we do know he prospered there according to Gen 12:5, acquiring wealth – livestock and servants.  The rabbis believe that Abraham left his father in Haran and that Terah lived another 60 years before he died.  Some believe that he stayed in Haran and left after Terah died because of Stephen’s speech in Acts 7:4.   I tend to side with the rabbis on this one, believing he left his father while he was living.  I don’t think the command to leave your father’s house was necessary if his dad was no longer living.  My husband Steve’s dad died earlier this year and we no longer refer to the place where he lived as “his father’s house”… we now say “his mom’s house”.  Either way it doesn’t matter because the Bible says he fully obeyed God (Gen 26:5 “Abraham obeyed Me and did everything I required of him.”

The word Haran means “crossroads”… it’s a place of decisions. Terah chose to “sit down” at the crossroads and go no further… he died here.   And it is here at this “crossroad” that Abraham has a decision to make…..a decision that will affect not only him but ALL of the families of the earth….

Abraham’s lineage

abraham

Genesis 12:1 (Youngs Translation) And Jehovah saith unto Abram, “Go for thyself, from thy land, and from thy kindred, and from the house of thy father, unto the land which I shew thee.”

One of the key things about the Hebrew month of Kislev is identity change.  Abraham was one of those individuals in the Bible that had an identity change in Genesis 12.  But before we jump into his identity change, let’s do a history review of Abraham’s family line in Genesis 11.  Abraham was the son of Terah who was the great, great, great grandson of Eber who was the great, great grandson of Noah who of course was the great grandson of Enoch who was the great, great, great, great grandson of Adam.  Wow!  What an impressive spiritual family lineage…. I can honestly say mine does not look like that.  I am the faith pioneer in my family line.

Eber (Abraham’s great, great, great grandfather) was a faith pioneer as well.  He was the 14th generation from Adam. A special distinction is made in Gen 10:21 where it says “Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber”…. Eber was actually about 4 generations from Shem… but before Shem’s sons are mentioned, the Word introduces us to Eber.  It sounds to me like Eber was destined to be a carrier of the Blessing just like Shem was… Gen 9 says “the God of Shem.”

Jewish historians say that during the time of the building of the Tower of Babel, Eber crossed over the Euphrates River… distancing himself and his family from Babylon and Nimrod…..from a sinful land and embarking on a walk of faith.  Eber means “to cross over”.  The name Hebrew comes from Eber…. to be a Hebrew means to have “crossed over”.  Euphrates means “abundant” or “storage houses of heaven”.In fact he named his son Peleg which means “divided”… he placed a divider (the Euphrates River) between them and him.  Genesis 10:25 confirms that the world was divided when he was born. Through the name of his son the godly man Eber gives us a glimpse into his heart and character to live a holy life, separated and consecrated from the sinful world of Babylon.

Unfortunately, the generations after Eber (until Abraham) turned to idol worship and didn’t serve God (Joshua 24:2).  We don’t know much about Peleg except that they died young (even Noah outlived him by 10 years)…. he was the first to die among the 10 generations after the flood.  Likewise, we don’t know much about Reu, Seureg or Nahor (except he died early also and Noah outlived him as well).  All we know is that it’s probable that these 4 generations turned from God and worshipped idols.

Terah we know a bit more about.  Josh 24:2 mentions him specifically as having worshipped other gods.  However, Gen 11:31 tells us that he set out from Ur to go to Canaan.  It doesn’t tell us why he set out to leave his home in Ur, all we know is he never made it to Canaan.  He reached Haran, a place that was similar in many ways to Ur. A city where there was also a temple to the Ninnar, not as big as in Ur, but still similar. The city was smaller, and not as wealthy or important as Ur, but to someone from Ur, it would have all been very familiar, and probably felt like home. The customs and culture were similar.  Seems as if he settled in the familiar… what was comfortable.

Abraham was 20 generations from Adam. Genesis 14:13 refers to Abraham as a Hebrew, linking him to Eber.  The God of Shem, became the God of Eber, and then became the God of Abraham.  Which brings us back again to Genesis 12:1……. which we’ll pick up in the next blog entry.

Today no matter what your spiritual lineage looks like, determine to be a faith pioneer…. going farther than those before you.  Grabbing ahold of the promises of God for your future generations… making your ceiling their floor.