The Hebrew word ‘Av’ means father, which can also be translated as desire. The literal meaning is ‘of the sire’ or ‘originating with the Father.’
It is a month, therefore, when we can expect the DIVINE will of the Father to be executed. What has God promised you? What have you been waiting for, maybe for a very long time? This is the month that God intends for His people to step into the promise, to cross over the threshold. Father’s divine will for His kids is to experience the excitement of receiving His great gift.
One of the best known stories in the Bible is the Israelite’s journey through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. At every challenge they encountered, He wanted to show them His ability to care for and provide for them. Undaunted by their unbelief, He still had good in store for them. His desire was that they would receive the blessing and enjoy great celebration in this month.
He instructed them to choose 12 men, one from each tribe, to go in and spy out the land. He wanted to pique their excitement with all the good treasures of the land. While they did indeed see that the land was exceedingly fruitful, flowing with milk and honey and the fruit so large it took two people to carry a cluster of grapes, they focused more on the negative aspects: the people were strong, the cities were fortified and the giants lived there. This might not have been so devastating if they remembered who they were, but they didn’t; they held on to a dwarfed image of themselves while seeing their adversaries as giants. They forgot that they had been completely redeemed from their slavery. They were chosen by God!
Because of this, they missed their DIVINE opportunity. Hebrews 4:2 tells us that the promise they received didn’t profit them because it was not mixed with faith by those who heard it. The result was that this month became a month of mourning and destruction. With their own lips they voiced their unbelief and chose to receive a curse instead of a blessing.
Hebrews 4:1 says, “Now God has offered to us the same promise of entering into his realm of resting in confident faith. So we must be extremely careful to ensure that we all embrace the fullness of that promise and not fail to experience it.” This year, 5779/2019, is an especially significant year to enter into God’s promise; this is a Kairos time, an appointed time of entering a new era when God is doing a new thing!
Their unbelief was offensive to God and after so many lessons, their refusal to believe was not going to be overlooked by God. His heart was broken by the stiff-necked response of His people so he banished them from entering in the same way He had to move Adam and Eve out of the garden for their unbelief. How much more is He looking to us to be a generation full of faith? We are the only people that have received the indwelling Holy Spirit! How much more should we be able to have faith in His promises?
While I would like to say that I’ve got this lesson down, I can’t say that. I have walked with God through many trials and tears. I have waited for His promise for many years, but for me, the temptation not to believe has never been stronger. The enemy has been relentless in his assaults and accusations. I know this is true for many in the Body of Christ. The weariness of the journey has often left me wondering if I really have what it takes to make it. There are days that I rise up and feel strong, but there are others that I feel like a grasshopper, too. It pains me to admit this is true, but I am choosing to be real with you. This walk has been excruciating for the last several years.
Yet my deep desire is to give Jesus the reward of His suffering. The only thing I have to give Him is my trust and belief, my confidence in His goodness. I feel the weight of His heart as He looks at this Kingdom generation and waits to see if we will let him down as Adam & Eve did, as the Israelites did in the desert, or as Israel did at the coming of the Messiah.
The relationship He desired is described beautifully in Psalm 32. The Passion Translation says in verses 8-9, “I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide. So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make me tug you and pull you along. Just come with me!” Other versions speak of the need to use bit and bridle. This made me think of a dog I once had. She wanted to please me, so she obeyed my voice. Even when seeing a deer or other creature I know she would have loved to chase, if I said, “sit” she would sit and wait till I told her she could move. It brought great joy to me to have this sweet relationship with her. My instruction was never for the purpose of stealing her fun, but for her safety and well-being. Imagine the joy it must bring to our Father when He can lead us with a glance of His eye. I want to be so confident in my Father’s goodness that even in the face of what appears to be great danger, I move when He speaks and I rest when He says rest.
In conclusion, let’s revisit the “divine will of the Father.” There are two aspects to the divine will. The first is that He spoke of a place he had prepared for them, a physical land that would yield a good life for them. It was a place that would be good for raising their families and their livestock. The soil would yield abundant crops so they would never be without material blessings. He positioned the tribes across the land so that there would be community relationships and the tribe’s strengths would complement those around them. He would be at the center and corporately they would worship together. His people would govern through Him and with Him. Every detail needed for family, community and economy had been conceived and prepared in His heart long before they arrived at the land.
We gain insight to the second aspect in Heb 4:8-9: “Now if this promise of “rest” was fulfilled when Joshua brought the people into the land, God wouldn’t have spoken later of another ‘rest’ yet to come. So we conclude that there is still a full and complete ‘rest’ waiting for believers to experience.” This is the Sabbath rest that God wants us to enter. Because we are the dwelling place of God, we have access to Him 24/7. We can live in continual rest, the rest that ceases striving in our own strength and allows Him to guide us with His eye. It is complete confidence in His ability to provide for us, to protect us, to make all those things above become our living reality. It is Kingdom living from a place of trust. When God rested on the seventh day, it wasn’t because He was exhausted from His work of creation. He rested because He was so completely satisfied with what He had created. Partnership with Him, individually and corporately, will be so grand that we, too, will be incredibly satisfied. Our hearts will rejoice in this rest.
The month of Av is the time to cross over into this new era of Kingdom building and living. It is the entry point. We will have to face off the giants, but we are totally equipped to do so. At the same time, we are being released to begin the work God created us to do and be fulfilled in our work. It should be a time of celebration and trust even though our situations might still have giants in them. We are assured of victory and we can live in His rest. Let Him rearrange your situation and bring you into the promise. What awaits us all is far greater than anything we have imagined.
Choose faith and experience His divine will!