“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his tabernacle, in the secret of his tent shall He hide me; he shall set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5-6, Jubilee Bible 2000).

Elul is the 6th month of the Hebrew religious calendar and the last month of the Civil Calendar. It is 29 days long and this year begins on August 27. It is a very important month for Orthodox Jews because it precedes Rosh Hashanah (Judgment Day) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It is a time for introspection, repentance, and reconciliation.

Each person is to critically evaluate his/her behavior over the past year and look for ways to improve that behavior in the upcoming year. After soul searching, one must repent of all sins. Selichot prayers (of repentance) are recited where God’s people ask Yahweh for forgiveness.

Sin separates us all from God. Only in Jesus, are we reconciled. For the devout Jew, repentance is the next step towards reconciliation with God. Throughout Elul, the people of God move closer to the Lord. The letters ELUL are the first letters of Song of Songs 6:3 which is translated: ” I am to my beloved as my beloved is to me.” Psalm 27 is added to morning and evening prayer. It is a way to remind us that Adonai is our first love and He is our shield and reward.

Every morning the shofar is blown during morning prayers and it is to remind the people of God of the following:

1) To accept and honor God as King.

2) All should be dedicated to God as Abraham was in Genesis 22 (where a ram was offered instead of Isaac).

3) The Torah, God’s Commandments need to be followed.

4) The words of the prophets must be heeded.

5) The destruction of the Temple must be remembered.

6) There needs to be a reverential awe of Yahweh and sins must be repented for.

John the Baptist, had a Baptism of repentance before Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit. So for a Christian, repentance also precedes Reconciliation through the Blood of Christ. Just like God is the husband to Israel, Jesus is our bridegroom. This heartfelt love is beautifully expressed in the Song of Songs.

In conclusion, those who have hatred towards Israel need to remember this: the devout Jew now is turning to God with both heart and soul. The Christian who prays for the peace of Israel is standing in the gap. God will have mercy and protect those who diligently seek Him. (cf: Isaiah 55:6-7). Any act of hostility over the next few months against Israel will not succeed. God is protecting His people. Soon God will have His Day and all evildoers will be judged. EJ

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