By Julia Johnson – Bney Yosef North America [reprinted with permission]
Recently, while pondering the upcoming 40 Days of Repentance, I was reminded of II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I shall hear from the heavens and forgive their sins and heal their land.”
As I walk out this new journey of discovery, I know now more than ever that I have been called by Yahweh to be among His set apart people, His congregation of priests. As I have come into this truth, I must admit that a spirit of pride overtook me. “I” have been chosen, “I” have been set apart. Yahweh, has chosen to open “my” eyes to His truth in these last days. As I look back on those days of early discovery and how I must have come across to family and friends as I tried to explain this new walk, I know that I appeared arrogant. Oh, God, forgive me!
It would appear that the first step in repentance is to humble ourselves. What does that mean for me today? The dictionary defines humble as “being in submission, subdued, prostrate, bowed down, reduced in importance.” So, how does my life reflect humbleness? For me, the phrase “not my will, but Yours be done” comes to mind. This is no longer MY life. Well, yes, it is, but I no longer live my life for my desires, my wishes, my dreams. Now, I live my life for the Kingdom. It is my desire and hope that this is reflected in the choices I make … choices that others see.
The next step is to pray. Can one pray without being humble? I am reminded of the Pharisee who stood on the street corner, head held high, praying in a loud voice so all could hear and see and the woman who went into her closet where no one could see or hear to cry out to Yahweh. I am also reminded that prayer is a conversation. And a conversation is two-way. Do I approach the King of Kings in humbleness, giving thanks for all He has done for me or do I only come with my list of “requests”? Do I take the time to sit before Him in quietness and wait for Him to speak to me? Do I seek His face and not the works of His hands? As He reveals the evilness in my heart, do I quickly ask for forgiveness and turn from those things or do I defend my rights, my freedom to “follow my heart”? Oh, Abba, forgive me when I have done that, for I can see now that my heart is deceitful and wicked. Oh that He would give me a new heart, His heart. That, I believe is now a “work in progress” for me.
Yahweh has promised that IF we will do these things, He will hear, forgive our sin and heal our land. As His chosen people, we are called to “stand in the gap” for the world that surrounds us. Will you join me during this time to cry out to our gracious Father in humility? To spend time at His feet listening for His voice? To cry out in deep sorrow for the way each of us has “followed our own heart” doing what is good in our own eyes? To cry out for the people around us that walk in such flagrant sin? To acknowledge that only Yahweh can heal us and our land.
40 Days of Repentance. The courts are in session. Will you accept the challenge?