So, you may be thinking, ” What’s Tisha B’Av?” It is the ninth day of the Hebraic month of Av, which this year (2017) corresponds to the evening of July 31st into August 1st. It is the historical date back in Biblical time referring to the return of the 12 spies sent into the Promised Land by Moses, recorded in Numbers 14. If we remember the story, ten of the spies refused to give a good report on the Land, because of the “giants” and walled cities they saw, and their vision of themselves as “grasshoppers” facing the “giants in the Land”. The remaining two spies, Joshua and Caleb, gave a good report of the Land, noting that with the power of God and focusing on His amazing sovereignty over the nations (goyim), they could easily take the Land, so why not go forward? So, the 10 ( or the majority ) saw the obstacles in the way of victory and chose to align with negativity, unbelief and fear, shrinking back from the challenge, seeing only impossible odds, whereas Joshua and Caleb aligned with faith in God, vision and their capabilities with God’s power.
It was a watershed experience, for sure. They had come out of 400 years of slavery, into the hardship of the walk in the desert, with miraculous food and drink being given to them daily by God, and yet, when faced with entering into their ultimate promise – the Promised Land, they recoiled at the idea of more battles for situations that they felt totally unprepared to face. Imagine how God must have felt at that point! Yes, God has feelings, too! He would not force them to believe Him and go into their promise, as He never forces us to do anything against our own free will. He could see the wonderful future He had planned for them, if they would only believe He could get them there,but their vision was too small to grasp it, and they preferred the “new normal” of the desert life ( at least that misery was predictable!) to the battle necessary to obtain their amazing promised land!
How much can I relate to the 10 spies myself! Every time a new door opens and different expectations are facing me, I also feel that twinge of fear of the unknown trying to grab my emotions and immobilize me! It has to be an intentional decision to go back over my stones of remembrance of how many other obstacles God has already moved aside for me in my recent and long-term past, how much I can trust Him to do it again, and think about the pain of standing still when God says “Move ahead”!
The misery of the extra 40 years in the desert, and the fact that the original players never made it in to their promise, was enough to make me really repent for myself and for their original dilemma as I prayed with a friend a week ago or so. We entered into prayer by faith into God’s Court Room and repented on behalf of our own unbelief as well as our Hebrew ancestors’ lack of trust and faith, and asked the Lord to bring that case out of the Court of Judgment into the Court of Grace and Mercy!
For those who are new to Hebraic roots, the curse of Tisha B’Av is very well known in Jewish and Messianic circles. Many awful things have happened to the Jewish people on the exact Hebraic date of the Ninth of Av throughout history. Just to highlight a few of these, we have the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem (421 BC and 70 AD), the expulsion of the Jewish people from England and the confiscation of their property (1290 AD) , the expulsion of Sephardic Jews from Spain in 1492, as well as the deportations of Jewish people from the Warsaw Ghetto (1942), which began on Tisha B’Av of that year! Amazing, isn’t it? There are many more sad events that can be traced back to the date of the ninth of Av, but the point is made that the original event was in Numbers 14, when the sin of unbelief kept the Chosen people out of their Promised Land.
As with most issues, until the root problem is found and remediated, the problem continues to reoccur. If the root of this awful curse was the original sin of unbelief and grumbling against the Lord, refusing to believe Him capable of doing what He had promised, could not our repentance and humility reverse that bloodline curse?
Being that we are in the time of grace and mercy with Yeshua, I believe that the terrible curse of Tisha B’Av can be reversed with humility and repentance. Since we know that His Mercies are new every morning and great is His Faithfulness (or chesed – covenant mercies ), why not humble ourselves as Daniel did in Daniel 7, and intercede for restoration of all that has been lost? We see the results of that prayer – with Cyrus sending them back to Jerusalem to rebuild the broken down walls of that great city!
May we say “yes” to the new things God has for us today and not fear whatever rebuilding project the Spirit of the Lord has set before us, as we know that with His capable help, truly all things are possible!