According to Hebrew tradition on the Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) the righteous are written in the Book of Life, I think that it is very easy to see all references to life in the Bible as eternal spiritual life but I believe that we can and should also view life as our temporal life here on earth.
When God entered into covenant with those who had been led out of Egypt (mixed multitude of Israelites and non-Israelites) He laid two things before them: life and death, blessing and a curse. Yes, this life was linked to an eternal state but it was also linked to the quality of life that they would experience whilst on earth. The blessings included a number of things but in summary we would say that the blessings were of provision (fruitfulness or completion) and security in all areas of their life aka shalom.
There was only one thing that God requested of the Israelites in order to receive these manifold blessings, that one thing was obedience:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
This was part of the scripture reading read on Saturday, the emphasis of the scripture was on repentance or Teshuvah (read Deuteronomy 30: 1-10), God promised that although there would be a time when those who had entered into covenant with Him turned away from it and followed other idols and the lusts of their flesh, when they turned back to Him with all of their hearts He would make them ‘abundantly prosperous’.
Most often than not we are not taught that repentance is intrinsically linked to restoration, and that in fact true repentance is the catalyst for receiving restoration, healing and breakthrough in all areas of our life. We have been taught to believe that repentance is simply about what we do, we confess our short fallings, ask God to forgive us and then work hard at not committing those same sins again. This is definitely not all there is to repentance. We only have to look at the story of the prodigal son to realize that God has prepared blessings for us on our return!
What does repentance mean?
Googling the meaning of repentance highlights that it means to say sorry and ask for forgiveness, it is characterized by feelings of remorse, regret, contriteness, self-reproach etc. This is very different from teshuvah the Hebrew word for repentance which simply means to turn around. Whilst the English word emphasises feelings the Hebrew words emphasises action! Somebody who repents may feel very badly about what they have done, ask for forgiveness but do not feel convicted to change their behaviour, this is not true repentance. True repentance requires the individual to turn around, locate the correct path that they should be on and walk it.
You can not truly repent until you know which way you have to turn and which path you need to be walking on! There are so many different roads available in life but only one road that leads to life, repentance is simple, it’s about getting back on to the road that leads to life in order for you to have life! God said to the Israelites:
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you… For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
The blessing of life is a function of obeying the Word of God and the Voice of the Lord with all your heart and soul. So in order for one to truly repent we need to go back to God’s Word and obey His voice in all things.
Scriptures and prayer points for repentance
Sometimes it’s difficult to know what areas to repent of so during the ten days leading up to the Day of Atonement, here are 10 different scriptures for aiding us to turn back to God. For each scripture you should do the following:
- Read the scripture and listen to God’s voice waiting for Him to pick out a particular area/issue which you need to repent of
- Pray, confessing your transgressions and asking God to help you not just say sorry but to enable you to change your path and to turn around and obey His voice and His commandments concerning this area. God promises that when we return to Him He will bless us with life.
- Monday/Tuesday – Psalm 51
- Tuesday/Wednesday – Ephesians 4: 23
- Wednesday/Thursday – Matthew 15: 17- 19
- Thursday/Friday – 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20
- Friday/Saturday – 1 Timothy 6: 6-10 and 17-19
- Saturday/Sunday – Colossians 3: 22-25
- Sunday/Monday – Ephesians 5: 22-23
- Monday/Tuesday – Colossians 3: 20-21
- Tuesday/Wednesday – James 3: 1-11
I pray that as you are faithful in taking this first step of repentance that God will begin to heal and restore you in the areas which correlate to your faith actions.
B’shem Yeshua (in Jesus’ name) I pray.