Hebrew month of Tevet 5777 (2016)

god_is_good

Today we enter in to the Hebrew month Tevet.  Tevet is the 10th month of the year on the Hebrew Biblical calendar.  10 is a number of divine order … 10 is also 5 + 5… five being the number of grace or in this case a double grace…. multiplied grace… abundant grace… dare I say it?… hyper grace!  😮

Tevet is a month full of the goodness of God.  The first two letters in the word Tevet is tet and vav.  Tet and vav make up the word “tov” which means good.  The first time the letter “tet” is used in Scripture is Genesis 1:4 …. and God saw that it was good.  The final letter in Tevet is also “tet”…. so the whole word Tevet from beginning to end is a word full of God’s goodness.   A month beginning with goodness and ending with goodness.  

I’m a lover of all things good.  I’m an incurable optimist.  I like looking for redemption and goodness….in people and all things in general.  I do believe it’s a gift from God… I’ve always been like that.  My mom nicknamed me Pollyanna Sunshine when I was little because of this abundance of optimism and hope.  Though, these past couple of years, there have been a lot of personal challenges that would try to produce a critical spirit instead of seeing the good.

Sometimes it is going to require more effort than usual to find the good in something…. thank God for His grace to help in those times.  Especially today when we are inundated with bad news from the media, bad attitudes from people, etc.  It’s a choice we have to make.  And when we make the choice, God will be faithful to open our eyes to see something good… even if it’s just hidden potential…or buried treasure in someone.  Then we get the privilege and joy of co-laboring with Him to pull out that potential and treasure in those around us.  

If I want to be like my heavenly Father then I need to make that choice to look for the good in everything around me daily.  Because He is good… ALL THE TIME!  In fact, good isn’t just a description of Him… it’s who He is.  1 Chronicles 16:34  O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  Good in this Scripture is called an absolute noun, meaning it follows another noun forming a single idea. “Good” and God are one single thought. There is no “good” separated from God and then associated with Him. “Good” and God are the same thing (see my blog post on Goodness and Goodness and Grace)

I’ve been teaching weekly Bible studies this past year and I’m always amazed when I teach on the goodness of God, how some people will adamantly argue against it.  They prefer to see God as judgmental, harsh, punishing and while they’ll see Him as sometimes good it’s based on only if they’ve done something to deserve it.  Sadly, their interpretation of Scripture is in light of that perception of God…. and their representation of Jesus and of the Father is also through that perception.

There is nothing I can ever do to deserve His goodness.  He is not good to me because I’m being good and “obeying” His Word (for a definition on obeying see my blog post on No Hebrew word for obey).  Goodness just overflows out of Him in my life because it’s who He is.  He can’t help Himself.  He’s not angry with us… He’s not angry with the sinner who is unsaved either.  That’s the good news of the Gospel.  Jesus satisfied the wrath of God, the punishment we deserved for sin, and He reconciled us to God.

Then He made us ambassadors of that reconciliation (2 Cor 5:20).  It’s going to be hard to be an effective ambassador for Christ if we fail to see the goodness of God in the land of the living (Ps 27:13).  2 Cor 5:19 says “He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” We have been anointed to preach the good news just like Jesus (see my blog post on Jesus is our JubileeThe widow of Sidon and one of my favorites Naaman the Syrian).  No one wants to be reconciled to an angry, harsh, God who is only going to breathe down our necks and punish us every time we slip up….. that’s not the good news of the Gospel.  

This month of Tevet, I encourage you to dig deeper into the Word and find out about the goodness of God… to quote Bill Johnson, “He’s better than you think”.  We have a responsibility to re-present Him correctly.  The more we begin to see Him as good in the Word, the more we will begin to see the goodness in the people around us and in this beautiful world of ours.

Then our co-laboring will be a joy to us and we will become true ambassadors of Christ…. running after ALL people, begging them to be reconciled to God because He is GOOD and wants to overflow that goodness into their lives.  

~ Robin

Full of Grace and Truth

grace and truth

John 1:14 “….We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus came full of grace and truth. Full of is “pleres” in Greek which means abounding in and completely occupied with. Grace is “charis” which means bowing down favorably toward us… it’s also the Old Testament equivalent of “chesed” which is God’s covenant loyalty toward us (see the last blog post Goodness and Grace).  Chesed (grace) is His love that will not let us go!  And truth is “aletheia” which is not just truth spoken but the reality of truth.. truth revealed. Summed up, Jesus came abundantly and completely occupied with bowing down favorably toward us… He came abundantly and completely occupied with showing us God’s covenant love toward us and revealing to us the reality of the Father… what He’s like… that He’s a good Father to us all the time. Completely occupied!!

He was consumed with revealing to us the true realities of the Father’s love.  The Word, the Son, who is God, became flesh to reveal a divine glory that is “full of grace and truth.” The Word of God became flesh to be gracious to us. The Word became flesh so that this graciousness to us would come in accord with God’s truthfulness. Paul put it like this in 1 Cor 4:4 “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  The glory of Christ is the image of God, our Father. Verse 18 says although no one has ever seen God, Jesus has revealed Him and made Him known to us. Our Father is full of grace and truth all the time.  Verse 16 tells us that we have received “out of this fullness” grace upon grace!  We’ve received an abundance of grace.   

Sometimes I get preoccupied with the demands of my life… motherhood, being a wife, family time, making a home, friendships, our business, etc. and don’t make the time to be completely occupied with Him…. completely occupied with His love and allowing that Love to flow through me to the world around me.  Completely occupied with the truths and realities of what my Father really looks like…. and showing others what our Father looks like.  Being a walking, talking manifestation of His extravagant grace.  Being full of grace makes me more pleasant to be around.  I’m not pointing out others faults or weaknesses but rather helping them to look to the One who can pour out His grace upon them.  Being full of grace causes me to encourage and walk along side those around me.  It makes me realize that apart from Him I can do nothing, because in Him I live and move and have my being.

I have become more occupied lately with learning about grace and the truths or realities of my Father. The more I learn, the more it replaces old mindsets… the wrong perceptions of who my Father is and what He’s like.  And the more revelation I get, the more I become a walking epistle for a hurting world to read…. because isn’t that truly what we all want… for the world to come up and grab our coat tails and ask us how they can have a life like ours… one that is victorious, peaceful, loving, and full of grace and truth.  For them to look at us and not see us but to look into our Father’s eyes and experience His truth (realities) and His grace (chesed).  And then we get the honor of directing them to the One who can give them life more abundantly.

Goodness and Grace

chesed love

Yesterday we looked at the word good.  We studied 1 Chronicles 16:34  O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good…  ” and learned that good is not an adjective describing God but it is who He is (see yesterdays post entitled “Goodness“).  Good and God are the same thing… they are a single idea.  He is good!  And He can’t be anything but good to you!

The rest of that scripture says “for His mercy (lovingkindness) endures forever”.  The word mercy is not an accurate translation.  Translators use words like kindness, loving-kindness, mercy, loyalty, steadfast love, and graciousness  because there really isn’t a proper English word that encapsulates the meaning of this word. Perhaps loyal love is close.  Hebrew has a word for this loyal love that is richer and deeper than anything in English—it is chesed (KHEH-sed). It is a covenant word that goes beyond the requirements of mere duty and obligation…..it is a love that WILL NOT let me go!  It is from the root word chacad, which is to be good or kind….”to bow down.” It is a picture here of God coming down to where we are (in the person of Jesus)  and providing us the Way of Salvation! It truly is covenant love an immovable, unshakable, unchanging loyalty to His covenant with us.

We also quoted Ps 23:6 yesterday “Surely goodness and lovingkindness (chesed) will follow me all the days of my life…. goodness and chesed (God’s loyalty to His covenant) will follow me ALL the days of my life.   The word”surely” is set as a seal upon it… it’s guaranteed… a done deal! It doesn’t depend on what I do or don’t do… I can add nothing of myself to it.

Psalm 107:1 is the same verse as 1 Chronicles 16:34 (above) and the same word chesed is used.  Psalm 136 is another identical scripture….again the word used is chesed although our English uses the translation mercy.  I like Psalm 136 in the Complete Jewish Bible translation (you can go to bible gateway.com to read it)…. this translation always translates chesed as grace, not just in this Psalm only.

One of the earliest usages of chesed is by Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, when he was sent to find a wife for Isaac. He realized that his success was because of the Father’s chesed (translated “kindness” in Genesis 24:12) God’s covenant loyalty to his master Abraham.

Moses used this term to show why God delivered Israel from captivity in Egypt…. because of covenant loyalty (chesed). “You in Your mercy (chesed) have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13). In Ex 34:5-8 after God gives Moses the Tablets, He descended in a cloud and stood before him proclaiming who He is… verse 6 translates chesed as abounding in goodness! He abounds in covenant loyalty towards us.  We see a similar statement in John 1:17  “grace (charis) and truth (reality) came through Jesus Christ.”  Jesus is the manifestation and the reality of grace and truth… of chesed (covenant loyalty). Thus we see the connection between the Hebrew word chesed (translated here as “goodness”) and the Greek charis, meaning “grace.”

Ps 117 says Praise the LORDall nationsExtol him, all peoples!
For great is his loving kindness (chesed) toward us, and the faithfulness (truth) of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!…..The CJB translation says in verse 2… For his grace has overcome us, and Adonai’s truth continues forever.  Grace and truth! Jesus came full of grace and truth….this had always been His character and by extension the character of His Father. 

Chesed is covenant word ….  it is the OT equivalent of the NT word charis which is “grace.”  Sometimes we view the Old Testament (Judaism) as a religion of laws and the New Testament (Christianity) as a religion of grace.  God extended his grace in both Testaments… both Covenants. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He revealed his grace to the fullest in the New Testament coming of Jesus (John 1:16-17 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace…….grace and truth came through Jesus Christ) but His grace is also displayed throughout Old Testament Scriptures

Chesed is definitely a word that begs for a deeper study than we can give to this one blog post.  Now that I know it is the equivalent of NT grace, it will change how I read scriptures and it will definitely cause me to do a deeper study of it.  I hope it sparked you to do a deeper study as well.  Hosea 6:6 says that God desires chesed (covenant loyalty) not sacrifice, and He desires the knowledge of Him (yada – intimate knowing as in a husband and wife) not burnt offerings.  That reminds me of Paul’s words in Phil 3:10 that I may know (ginosko in Greek – the equivalent of the Hebrew word yada) Him and the power of His resurrection.  By going deeper, drawing nearer to Him… knowing Him more intimately… only then can I fully understand chesed.

God’s grace is a given that is always being given!  There is nothing you can do to earn or merit His grace.  It is given because of chesed… His covenant loyalty toward us…. HIS LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET US GO!

Goodness

good father 3

This Hebrew month of Tevet is a month filled with the goodness of God.

God is a good God… He can’t help but pour out His goodness on us all the time!  The word good, which in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word tov, is listed 562 times.  Strong’s defines it as favorable, pleasant, festive (I like that one!), pleasing, well, better, right, best. Some of the translations in the KJV are beautiful, best,  bountiful, at ease, joyful, prosperity, ready, wealth.   In the New Testament the Greek word for good and goodness is “agathos” and is mentioned 101 times.  It describes goodness as something that originates from God and is empowered by Him in our lives, through faith.  Good originates from God… I really like that!

The Psalms mentions good in connection with these things….

  1. God… He is good!
  2. having life and adding to to thatlong life
  3. God’s name
  4. His loving-kindness
  5. drawing near to God… is good and releases good into our lives
  6. increase… gotta love this one!
  7. giving thanks to God… again like #5 not only is it good but “thanks” is a releaser, releasing even more good into our lives!
  8. God’s judgements… it doesn’t say judgment is good, it says God’s judgements are good because He is good!
  9. God’s mercy
  10. God’s dealings with us ….I especially like this one!! .
  11. It is good to dwell in Unity…. ooh this one is really good, and our lives are good when we walk in unity… I did a study on this not too long ago….
  • unity is:to be in tune or in sync with one another.  All going the same way, headed in the same spiritual direction together.
  •  “to breathe” or “to breathe spiritually together”. Breathing together speaks of covenant relationship… becoming one (Jn 17:21).
  • it is not based on likes and similarities… it is having one heart and one mind

12.  God’s spirit

The Psalms also say….

  1. that to find goodness we are to look to God – because there is no good without Him
  2. that God sends blessings of goodness to us
  3. that He makes goodness follow us
  4. that we are to taste and see that God is good
  5.  when we choose God we will lack no good thing in our lives
  6.  God gives good things

Truly, life is good because God is good!  Life is not supposed to be hard for us…. Prov 13:15 says that the way (or life) of the transgressor is hard (and continues that way).  We are not transgressors, we are righteous… in covenant with God.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us He has good plans for us.. plans that give us a hope and a future.  Psalm 23:6 tells us that goodness and covenant loyalty (God’s loyalty to His covenant toward us)  follow (pursue us, chase us down) us ALL the days of our life.  Psalm 103:5 says He satisfies (fills me to full) my life with good things.

That’s not to say that life is always sunshine and roses.  Many in the Bible had circumstances in their lives that didn’t appear to be good… Joseph, David, Daniel, etc… but God’s goodness was still working in their lives in the midst of those circumstances… producing favor in these circumstances and using it to fulfill His destiny in their lives!   The root word for tov is “tet-bet” which means preparing something to receive.  God is always preparing us to receive more of His goodness…. preparing means to set us up or establish us.  Good in Hebrew  means working the way God created it to work..  functional, kind of like a well oiled and tuned machine….. whereas evil which is “ra” means dysfunctional.  God is always at work in our lives setting us up and establishing us to receive even more goodness than He has already poured out on us and causing all things to work together for good (Rom 8:28) the way He designed and purposed (Eph 1:4, 2 Tim 1:9, and Eph 2:10 just to name a few) for us.

1 Chronicles 16:34  O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good…….Good in this scripture is called an absolute noun, meaning it follows another noun forming a single idea.   Good is not an attribute of God. “Good” and God are one single thought. There is no “good” separated from God and then associated with Him. “Good” and God are the same thing…. good is who He is. He can’t be anything but good to you!  

life is good

Today begin looking at your life as good… regardless of your circumstances.  Begin confessing His goodness over your life today… saying….”My life is full of God’s goodness…  it is  pleasant, it is festive , it is truly the best!  My life is beautiful, it is bountiful it is at ease and full of joy.  My life is full of prosperity, wealth and abundance.  My life is full of His good plans, full of hope and a future.  His goodness is chasing me down and pursuing me.  He is filling my life with good things.  God is preparing me today to receive even MORE of His goodness.  My life functions the way He designed and purposed it to function… there is no dysfunction in my life.  Truly, my life is good because my God is good!

~ Robin

Tevet

chesed

My mom nicknamed me Pollyanna Sunshine when I was little… because I have an abundance of optimism.  Truly it’s a gift from God that I cherish. I have always tended to always look at things through a heart of hope.  I love believing God and I like to look for His goodness in all things.  I’m learning to read the Scriptures through the lens of redemption… through my Father’s eyes.

When I’m studying the Hebrew months I look for goodness and hope… for something that encourages and causes me to grow higher in Him. Each month was given by God with a unique purpose and is designed to release a blessing into our lives.  I pray that my study of this month and this season gives you fresh hope of the goodness of God and all that He has for you.

Tonight  we enter into not only a new month on the Hebrew calendar, Tevet (Dec 13th – Jan 10th).. but also a new season, Winter.  Winter is  the season to plan for increase in the next season.  Tevet is the 10th month on the Hebrew calendar… 10 is a number of divine order … 10 is also 5 + 5… five being the number of grace or in this case a double portion of grace.  This month walk in the double portion of grace available for you… choose to walk in the fullness, in the grace that Jesus made available for us.  He paid it all so that you could have it all!  It’s a free gift (Eph 2:8).

The first two letters in the word Tevet is “tov” which is the Hebrew word for good and it is followed by the letter tet which is also a letter connected to the word good…. so the word Tevet from beginning to end is a word full of God’s goodness.

While I LOVE the Christmas season,  I realize not everyone enjoys it.  It can be a time of bitter disappointments, sadness over loved ones gone, rejections of family members, depression, etc.  It can also be a financially stressful time for many.  But this month, Tevet, let’s declare it as a month of God’s goodness from beginning to end.. allowing Him to lavish us with His goodness, His grace and His favor.

Tevet is also connected to the Hebrew letter “ayin”.  Ayin means the eye.  This month purposely choose to see things through the Father’s eyes.  Seeing circumstances through the eyes of faith and hope… and seeing others through the eyes of love, grace and redemption.  Read the scriptures through the lens of the finished work of the Cross and the Resurrection… it will change how you read it!

Each month is associated with a tribe of Israel.  The tribes were divided into four groups of three.  This Winter season included the three tribes:  Dan (the leader of this group), Naphtali and Asher.  They formed the “rear” guard of the camp and were the ones to watch out for the enemy attacking the camp from behind.‭ ‬These three formed the rear guard not because of military skill but because they brought the glory of God.  They were the most creative of the tribes… Dan were skilled craftsmen in all kinds or artistic work, Naphtali brought forth beautiful words, and Asher caused the land to flourish.  This Winter season let’s allow His glory to be our rear guard  (Is 58:8)…. creating in us His most artistic work, speaking over us with beautiful words and causing us to flourish in the land.  

Dan is the tribe connected to Tevet.  Dan in the Hebrew means to judge.  Dan’s ensign was the eagle!  Dan is one who can see the prey afar off‭ ‬-‭  the ‬one who soars on high in the Spirit and get the heavenly perspective on things.‭ ‬His judgement takes in the full scope of the scene and from his viewpoint,‭ ‬he is able to objectively give good direction and accurate assessments of situations.‭ ‬As a result,‭ ‬he is called to judge Israel.‭  Let’s judge correctly this month… soaring on wings of Eagles and judging things through God’s eyes of love and mercy, of goodness….. of grace.

May this season be full of the goodness of God, full of His glory (Ex 33:18-19)…. Merry Christmas (Celebration of Christ) from our family to yours!

~ Robin

Declarations for the month of Tevet:

  • God is good and He wants to lavish me with His goodness and abundance.
  • This month of Tevet is full of goodness, grace and favor from beginning to end
  • This month I look at my circumstances through my Father’s eyes… eyes full of faith and hope.
  • This month I walk in a double portion of grace!
  • This month I see others through the eyes of love, grace and redemption… seeing them as the Father sees them.
  • This season, God’s glory is my rearguard… He is creating in me His most artistic work, speaking over me with beautiful words and causing me to flourish in the land.
  • This season, I soar in the Spirit and get the Heavenly perspective on things.
  • This season I judge correctly…  judging things through God’s eyes of love and mercy, of goodness….. of grace.

Hebrew month of Tevet – 2014

10550816_10203022448981446_4244884723566086638_n

This year I’ve been learning to trust how God speaks to me, to my heart.  I’m an optimist, a Polly Anna Sunshine. I tend to always look at things through a heart of hope.  I love believing God and I like to look for His goodness in all things.  When I’m studying the Hebrew months I look for goodness and hope… something that encourages and causes me to grow higher in Him. Each month was given by God with a unique purpose and is designed to release a blessing into our lives.  I pray my study of this month and this season gives you fresh hope of the goodness of God and all that He has for you.

Tuesday night we entered into not only a new month on the Hebrew calendar, Tevet… but also a new season, Winter.  Winter is  the season to plan for increase in the next season.  Tevet is the 10th month on the Hebrew calendar… 10 is a number of divine order … 10 is also 5 + 5… five being the number of grace or in this case a double portion of grace.  This month walk in the double portion of grace available… walking in the fullness, the grace that Jesus made available for us.  He paid it all so that you could have it all!  It’s a free gift (Eph 2:8).

The first two letters in the word Tevet is “tov” which is the Hebrew word for good and it is followed by the letter tet which is also a letter connected to the word good…. so the whole word Tevet from beginning to end is a word full of God’s goodness.  While I love this season of Christmas, I realize not everyone enjoys it.  It can be a time of bitter disappointments, sadness over loved ones gone, rejections of family members, depression, etc.  It can also be a financially stressful time for many.  But this month, Tevet, let’s declare it as a month of God’s goodness from beginning to end.. allowing Him to lavish us with His goodness, His grace and His favor.

Tevet is also connected to the Hebrew letter “ayin”.  Ayin means the eye.  This month purposely choose to see things through the eyes of your Father.  Seeing circumstances through the eyes of faith and hope… and seeing others through the eyes of love and grace.

Each month is associated with a tribe of Israel.  The tribes were divided into four groups of three.  This Winter season included the three tribes:  Dan (the leader of this group), Naphtali and Asher.  They formed the “rear” guard of the camp and were the ones to watch out for the enemy attacking the camp from behind.‭ ‬These three formed the rear guard not because of military skill but because they brought the glory of God.  They were the most creative of the tribes… Dan were skilled craftsmen in all kinds or artistic work, Naphtali brought forth beautiful words, and Asher caused the land to flourish.  This Winter season let’s allow His glory to be our rear guard  (Is 58:8)

Dan is the tribe connected to Tevet.  Dan in the Hebrew means to judge.  Dan’s ensign was the eagle!  Dan is one who can see the prey afar off‭ ‬-‭  the ‬one who soars on high in the Spirit and get the heavenly perspective on things.‭ ‬His judgement takes in the full scope of the scene and from his viewpoint,‭ ‬he is able to objectively give good direction and assessments of situations.‭ ‬As a result,‭ ‬he is called to judge Israel.‭  Let’s judge correctly this month… soaring on wings of Eagles and judging things through God’s eyes of love and mercy, of goodness.

May this season be full of the goodness of God, His glory (Ex 33:18-19)…. Merry Christmas (Celebration of Christ) from our family to yours!

~ Robin