The traditional month of preparation for the Fall Feasts of the Lord is called Elul, an acronym for Ani l’dodi v’dodi li — “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3).
It is a month for preparing the heart for the special “moedim” or appointments that God has ordained for His children every year in this season.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob proclaims, “The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Lev. 23:2). Convocation means dress rehearsal. These feasts are dress rehearsals so we will understand and be prepared for the real thing that is coming very soon and they teach us how to behave in the here and now.
These feasts are more than just the “Jewish Holidays.” They are God’s feasts! Those that occur in the fall include Yom Teruah (aka Rosh Hashana), Yom Kippur (aka day of atonement), and Sukkot (aka feast of tabernacles).
Let’s read references to these feasts in the Book of Psalms:
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. 4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: 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 inquire in His temple. 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. 7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” …14 Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!
My Light, My Salvation, My strength (Verse 1) My light—ori (o-REE) אוריּ in Hebrew, is referring to a spiritual light. It has been said that God aids our repentance by revealing how Bright and Clear He is, as contrasted to our spiritual darkness. This connects Psalm 27 with Yom Teruah, when we allow the light of God to search our hearts and reveal our sin.
My salvation—yi-SHEE ( ישעיּ ) in Hebrew, is the psalm’s connection with Yom Kippur. After perceiving light and truth on Yom Teruah, we need to repent fully and be completely cleansed of sin on the Day of Atonement.
Of course, we as Messianic believers, know that this cleansing has happened—once, for all time—through the atoning blood of Yeshua, the final sacrifice for sin. He is our salvation! Even His name, which means “God saves”, testifies to the redemption that He has provided for all of us.
The strength of my life; מעוז (ma-OZ) in Hebrew. Since God is the strength of our life, nothing can harm us. We do not need to be afraid. Whom shall you fear? No one!
He Shall Hide me (Verse 5) The Hebrew translation would more correctly be, “He will treasure me in His Shelter.” David is saying that, in the time of trouble, God hides His precious spiritual treasure (us!) in His sukkah!
Your Face, Lord, I will Seek (Verse 8) God asks us to seek Him through faithful prayer. His Face, mentioned three times in verses eight and nine means His Presence ( פנים pah-NEEM in Hebrew). It is the Lord’s desire that we seek Him, but note that He reaches out to us first.
Psalm 27, verse 14 ends with an exhortation to wait on the LORD and place confidence in Him. When we do this, He gives us courage and “makes our heart strong.” The Hebrew word used for “strengthen yourself” is chazak ( חזק —kha-ZHAK), which means to be of good courage.
Even if it appears to you that all is lost, even if you feel totally disheartened and discouraged, do not give up. Hope mixed with faith, and the knowledge and belief that the God of all creation lives within you, means He has given you His limitless power!
If you don’t have that security in your life, if you don’t have that inner peace, come talk to me after Service. Baruch ha Shem!