Elul was the first month Israel lived with their 40 year choice of wilderness over promised land. Despite rejecting his promised abundance, God still provided for Israel in the wilderness with manna, quail, and water; and he continued to guide them, cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. Their needs were met, abundantly by wilderness standards, but wilderness provision isn’t the same as promised land abundance.
The word Elul is actually an acronym. In Hebrew it spells out the first letters of Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Li, which means, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” When we think of this month and the King being in the field it brings this romantic picture of our lover seeking us where we can be found. I wonder though if the King being in the field started with Israel insisting on staying in the wilderness. Perhaps we actually are invited into the palace but have chosen to stay in the field? But our King is his great love comes out to see us where we think we deserve to be.
It’s a beautiful thing that our King Jesus came to meet us in our field, but I fear we often forget he invited us into the Kingdom with him. We don’t have to stay in the wilderness. God will still provide for us there, but when we reject his invitation into Kingdom abundance, into the promised land, we miss out on the fullness he’s offering.
“The wilderness and the promise of abundance don’t go together. There’s a limit on the power God will release to us if our goal is just to make the wilderness more livable.”– Johnny Enlow
Are you feeling lack? Overwhelmed by the needs you see vs the resources you have? Do your prayers look more like, “God help me make the wilderness more comfortable!” rather than, “God, help me see your Kingdom solutions!”
While God did provide for Israel in the wilderness, the manna and quail didn’t last forever, once they crossed the Jordan 40 years later, the manna and quail stopped. He wasn’t going to help them go back to the wilderness when things got tough. Perhaps many of the struggles we face are when we’ve tried to return to the wilderness only to find the provision that was there isn’t anymore.
For Israel their choice to reject the promised land affected an entire generation. Fortunately for us in the new covenant, we don’t have to wander for 40 years in the wilderness. We can chose today to embrace Kingdom abundance and follow our King from the field back to the palace.
Take some time to ask God if there are any wildernesses you’ve chosen to stay in. Repent and invite him to show you how to enter the promised land. When he led Israel into Jericho he didn’t expect them to figure it out on their own. He gave them a plan of action they were capable of executing. Expect that he will have clear steps for you as well.
Leah Lesesne, MAAuthor
If you’ve enjoyed this post from Leah, check out her books the Healing in the Hebrew Months: A Biblical Understanding of Each Season’s Emotional Healing and Miracles and Dedication: Christian Devotions for the Festival of Lights.