Overcoming Fruit From the Tree of Life
By Beth Auman and JoBeth Kested
The evening of August 31 we enter the month of Elul continuing through September 29. This is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. Elul is a month of 29 days and usually occurs in August – September on the Gregorian calendar. Elul is a strategic connecting month in preparation for the “high holy days” of the Fall Feasts.
What is the ripe fruit for us to partake this month of Elul? (Rev. 22:2a NKJV)
Clue — Mercy for repentance with forgiveness!
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18 NIV
In Jewish history, God revealed Himself in great mercy in the month of Elul. It follows the two prior months where God dealt with the sins of the people in the wilderness at Sinai. Moses sought the mercy and favor of the Lord on behalf of the people because the Lord was ready to destroy them due to their unfaithfulness and idolatry (Genesis 32-33). The people repented and God mercifully forgave and made a new covenant with them. Moses then ascended Mount Sinai again to receive the “tablets of the covenant” to replace the ones broken when he saw the people’s idolatry.
“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13b
The Hebrew letter YUD is associated with this month which means “God has appointed mercy from His hand.” We need to grab the mercy God is extending to each of us from His outstretched hand to us! This is a time to experience God’s mercy for repentance and forgiveness.
Jewish tradition teaches that the month of Elul is a particularly propitious time for repentance that builds through this month to the period of Selichot, to Rosh Hashanah, and finally to Yom Kippur. The word Elul means to search. Let us seek the Lord’s mercy and allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts in the next 40 days to reveal any hidden sin for repentance in order for us to enter Adonai’s rest and to feast with Him on Yom Kippur; the Day of Atonement.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
What does it mean that Elul is the month when “the King is in the field?”
Clue — He comes near to us and welcomes us to come!
There is an interesting Jewish phrase for this month that says, “The King is in the field.” For most of the year, the King dwelt in his palace, protected by high walls with guarded gates and only approachable with great difficulty through royal protocol. But, during one month of the year, the king would set up the royal tent in a field close to the people and all were welcomed to come. The proclamation was declared, “The King is in the field!” God is especially accessible and welcoming to us at this time. The King of Kings is close to us and bids us welcome! We can put aside all of our religious striving and spiritual pretenses. He draws near to our homes, our workplace and the everyday places where we are! He moves among his people and loves for us to approach him. This is a time where he lavishes his mercy, forgiveness and love upon us. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine!”
The Constellation Virgo, the Virgin, is aligned with Elul and is traditionally linked with the scripture from Song of Solomon 6:3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine!” In Hebrew, the first letter of each word spells out the name of this month, ELUL! This is a fortuitous time when God is beckoning us to come and seek Him for special times of intimacy with Him!
“He has brought me to his banqueting place, And his banner over me is love [waving overhead to protect and comfort me]. Sustain me with raisin cakes, Refresh me with apples, Because I am sick with love.” Song of Solomon 2:4-5 AMP
Elul is the month that the King is in the field for us to come close to Him. We have access to our beloved during this month that we do not have during other months. It is the month to see the promises and blessings of God manifest; a month to receive rewards! We would all love it if Adonai would just give us what we want when we ask. That is not His way. We just walked through the time of dire straits during the month of Av. But, this is not a time to fear. Like the sons of Issachar, we must understand the signs of the times and expect to see exactly what He is uncovering for us to see. This is a time to receive His rewards, moments of breakthrough and to move forward with Him as the Overcomers He is calling us to be. How will you connect with Him this month? Will you draw near to Him and rest your head on His shoulder and receive His love for you?
We must find our way to “vav” ourself to Adonai this month. Vav is the 6th letter in the Hebrew alphabet and is a connecting letter. It is a hook, a spear, a tent peg and connects things together. The letter Vav in Hebrew literally implies the connecting between heaven and earth. This month of Elul is a special time of connecting Heaven and Earth; our hearts with His heart.
“Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.”Song of Solomon 1:4 KJV
Elul is also referred to as “the eye of the needle” month. God is not asking us to change everything all at once this month, but what little thing can we surrender or what little place can we open in our hearts to Him that we may have been holding on to? The challenge is to yield even the smallest thing or establish the smallest place completely dedicated to Him and let Him prove Himself to us in a BIG way! He is calling to us to, “Open up the eye of the needle and I will open to you the grand storehouses of my goodness!”
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.“ Jeremiah 29:11 TLB
What should we aspire to become from the Tribe of Gad in this month?
Clue — Mighty Warriors!
The tribe of Gad is aligned with the month of Elul as the seventh son of Jacob by Leah’s maid Zilpah (Genesis 30:11). Gad means “good fortune.” His birth was celebrated by Leah with the declaration, “How fortunate!” In Genesis 49:19 (AMP) Jacob prophesied, “Gad—a raiding troop shall raid him, but he shall raid at their heals and assault them [victoriously].” The tribe of Gad were known as valiant warriors. They were described as being fierce as lions and swift as gazelles. The least was said to be equal to 100 others and the greatest said to equal 1000! They came to the aid of David and were named among his Mighty Men. From the tribe of Gad we are inspired to become spiritual warriors of valor willing to plunder the enemy’s camp instead of being plundered!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV
A note from JoBeth:
A few years after I became a Christian, I was disillusioned with all the battles, increasing spiritual warfare and tribulations that I had not anticipated when I had asked Jesus into my life. As I was praying (really whining) to the Lord one day, that I had not signed up for warfare, but wanted the abundant life He promised in John 10:10! As strong as I have ever heard the Lord speak into my spirit, He informed me that whether I liked it or not I was in the Army of God and I could take up my weapons and learn to fight or live a very defeated, plundered life by the enemy! And, that it didn’t depend all upon me either! “So he said to me, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6b NIV) I am grateful to have learned that our battle is the Lord’s (2 Chron. 20:15), He is the Mighty Warrior who will train our hands for battle (Ps. 144:1), greater is He that is with us than our enemies against us (I John 4:4) and that we become more than conquerers because He loves us (Rom. 8:37)! In Him, we too can become Mighty Warriors!
“Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle— My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.” Psalms 144:1-2
We all walk through tribulation. Jesus said that in this world we would have tribulation, but behold He has overcome this world (John 16:33). Amen! Jesus has already overcome for us and we must allow Him to search our hearts so that we can continually repent for our sin, be forgiven and move forward as Overcomers. Elul is a month for sharpening our ability to repent so that we can come before Adonai with clean hands and a pure heart.
Notes from Beth:
Recently, I really felt condemned by a friend. This individual is very accusatory in the way that they minister to others; not something that I respond to well. I really try to release everything to the LORD so that I can come before Him with clean hands and a pure heart to intercede for others. Not one of us can pray for and intercede for others if we are not willing to ask for forgiveness for our own faults and failures.
I will admit to you that many times I had difficulty letting go of this individual’s tendency to minister in this manner and it had become sandpaper to my very soul. I know from past experience that I had to yield this to the Lord and to find His strength in my weakness. I have learned that He always sends something sharp to get my attention to smooth my hard heart.
One day, while talking to the LORD, I asked Him to show this situation to me from His perspective. I was so thankful that I did this because He settled it with me once and for all. I could feel His smoothness replacing the hardness of my heart when I repented for looking at the other person as if they were sandpaper to my soul. In fact, they led me to Adonai in a way that I perhaps would have never known!
I began to pray differently and to ask Him what I could do each day in His Kingdom for Him instead of always petitioning for my wants. When we come before Him and repent quickly for anything that we have done amiss, He forgives, changes our perspective and then He can reveal His heart and His way of overcoming to us. He will gently lead us, not push us into His will. He does not push or shove. He does not condemn. He does however want to teach us throughout the month of Elul to bring everything to Him and allow Him to show us where we need to grow in our Journey of the Overcomers. Praise Adonai! In Yeshua’s Name, AMEN!
Adonai showed me that we are not to accept every invitation to minister with everyone who asks. Every opportunity is not our assignment. Adonai will show each of us exactly what our assignment is. Adonai knows our motives. He knows when others try to goad or guilt us into something. He knows our hearts and when we lay down ourselves and pick up His purpose for our lives, he will lead us and guide us in that which He has purposed for us. Oh, how important it is to take the opportunity this month to seek His face, grab His mercy and look for His overcoming grace and goodness!
Our prayer for you today is that you will focus on Adonai. Ask Him what work He has for only you in His Kingdom. Repent for ever putting your hands on work that was not meant for you. May you see His breakthrough, provision and rewards in all that He has for you. We pray that if you have needs that you will ask Him what you have in your hand to meet the needs of another. He will work everything out on your behalf as you care and minister to others. Our focus should always be on Him and always centered on His Kingdom.
Oh, Adonai, help each of us to find You in the field near us this month, extending Your hand of mercy for repentance with forgiveness. Connect our hearts closer to Your heart, able to hear Your voice and to know Your ways. Please help us to surrender any little thing we are holding on to that keeps us from your goodness and generous rewards. By your mighty power, and by Your Holy Spirit, strengthen us to be Your Mighty Warriors, knowing your heart and Your will to plunder Your enemies. May Thy Kingdom come and thy will be done in our lives and on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Amen.
During the month of Elul Psalm 27 is read out loud everyday. Take time and read it to Adonai. Sing it to Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself through this Psalm to you in a new and revelatory way. Remember, The King is in the Field. Run out to meet Him. May we know Him more nearly as we read and declare these words during this strategic month of Elul.
Psalm 27 Complete Jewish Bible
A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God.
“By David: ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting. Just one thing have I asked of ADONAI; only this will I seek: to live in the house of ADONAI all the days of my life, to see the beauty of ADONAI and visit in his temple. For he will conceal me in his shelter on the day of trouble, he will hide me in the folds of his tent, he will set me high on a rock. Then my head will be lifted up above my surrounding foes, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, sing praises to ADONAI. Listen, ADONAI, to my voice when I cry; show favor to me; and answer me. “My heart said of you, ‘Seek my face.’” Your face, ADONAI, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, don’t turn your servant away in anger. You are my help; don’t abandon me; don’t leave me, God my savior. Even though my father and mother have left me, ADONAI will care for me. Teach me your way, ADONAI; lead me on a level path because of my enemies — don’t give me up to the whims of my foes; for false witnesses have risen against me, also those who are breathing violence. If I hadn’t believed that I would see ADONAI ’s goodness in the land of the living,… Put your hope in ADONAI, be strong, and let your heart take courage! Yes, put your hope in ADONAI!” Psalm (Tehillim) 27:1-14 CJB
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All scriptures from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.
Reference credit: “A Time to Advance” by Chuck Pierce with Robert and Linda Heidler © 2011
(Photography purchased or taken by Beth Auman and JoBeth Kested. Photo Art by Beth Auman)
© Beth Auman and JoBeth Kested 2019