God says it's time to rebuild! The last three weeks from 17 Tammuz to 9 Av have been three weeks of mourning. According to the Jewish tradition, this was the time when Moses went up on Mt. Sinai at God's request to receive the Ten Commandments, and when he came down, He found the Israelites worshipping a golden calf. He was so angry he broke the tablets. The Jewish people also mourn the breaches and destruction of what today is known as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, built by the Jews, which was destroyed during this time in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This resulted in the massacre of 100,000 Jews and a massive national exile. The destruction of the first temple led to the Jews rebuilding it later in that century. The rebuild, known as the second temple, also was subsequently destroyed, on the same date as the first—only 655 years later, at the hands of Titus of Rome.
As much as I personally have issues with the Gregorian calendar month of July, such as church attendance decreases, and my husband and I are pastors, so this sorrow is close to home. It is also time to celebrate in many ways, when we get close to the end of the month. God spoke to me all week it was a time to rebuild. I didn't quite understand that until this morning before worship, He said today, "Declare and decree before My throne and My people that the spirit of heaviness is gone, and to put on the garments of praise and begin to build the desolate places."
He then showed me in Isaiah 61:3-4, that this is exactly what He told the people.
There was a time of mourning but now get up and rebuild what was destroyed and the desolate places will be restored.
To preserve those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,
that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. They shall build the old ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
As I sought Him more, He shared with me that the main way to rebuild this month is by faith and faith alone. It was during the Three Weeks of Mourning that He was tearing down our self- righteousness by revealing areas in our life where we have been worshipping idols just as the Israelites did when Moses went on Mt. Sinai. However, now that the mourning is over, God wants us to rebuild on what Jesus has done for us. That is by faith alone in God's righteousness through Jesus, as our foundation, and not our own self-righteousness, judgements or good works.
In Philippians 3:7-12, the apostle Paul is revealing the secret to living life in the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ, it was by faith alone in Jesus' righteousness.
But what things were gain to me, I have counted these things to be loss for the sake of Christ. Yes, certainly, I count everything as loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have forfeited the loss of all things and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God on the basis of faith, to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if somehow I might make it to the resurrection of the dead.
Not that I have already attained or have already been perfected, but I follow after it so that I may lay hold of that for which I was seized by Christ Jesus.
Our restoration of the desolate places that occur when we worship idols will depend on how much we set aside our own self-righteousness, and instead put on His robe of righteousness as He says in Isaiah 61:10-11:
II will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth her buds, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
So, let us "declare and decree" and stand together today, as we had three weeks of mourning the worship of idols in our life and the things we held higher than you God. Maybe that was money, relationships or security, but today we set aside the garments of heaviness in exchange for those of praise and your robe of righteousness! Though things were torn down we will rebuild the desolate and waste places by your righteousness alone in the faith we have in the resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ. We will adorn our living temples with holiness and the robe of your righteousness as we stand in faith."
Therefore, rejoice in a new foundation that God is rebuilding in our lives by faith in His righteousness. It is what we need for the New Year of 5779, which begins in only 7 weeks on Sept. 9-11, 2018.
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