LISTEN FOR THE FAMILIAR PHRASES
During the season called Elul, you may hear a few familiar phrases repeated over and over again. One of my favorite phrases of this season is the one that originated with King Solomon in The Song of Songs. In Chapter 6, verse 3, we read these words from his writings; “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.”
When we write these words out in their original Hebrew translations, the first letters of each word form an acronym spelling out the word “Elul.” This is exactly where we are in time on the sacred calendar. We are living out the days of the month of Elul on the Hebraic calendar.
THE ACRONYM OF ELUL
Elul’s acronym, (“I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine”) illustrates this concept; its first letter, aleph, stands for “I” (in Hebrew, “ani”) and the second letter, lamed, represents, “my Beloved’s” (in Hebrew, “ledodi”) – God.
The Hebraic meaning of this verse is that of being “face-to-face” in expressing one’s love for another. This is the idea that the heart of the giver is entwined with the heart of the receiver and vice versa.
EACH ONE HAS THE HEART OF THE OTHER
The key to understanding this phrase is knowing that the love between two lovers is reciprocal. When there is a reciprocal relationship, each one in the relationship has the other’s heart.
One secret to knowing how to change and make a real transition as we pass through this time, is that of dwelling on the words of the scriptures that tell us; “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.”
If you divide this sentence down into two parts you begin to see they each represent a different aspect of our relationship with God.
OUR TIME TO SPEAK
The first part: “I am my Beloved’s” alludes to our main thoughts during Elul, to cry out to God, to communicate our love and loyalty to Him.
This is our speaking.
OUR TIME TO LISTEN
The second part; “and my Beloved is mine,’ hints to God’s activity toward us in this time, in which it is possible for a divine revelation to descend upon us from above.
This is our listening.
GOOD LOVERS ARE GOOD COMMUNICATORS
Good communications involve both speaking and listening.
Good lovers are good communicators.
Each year as we ponder this phrase during the month of Elul, One cannot help but think of the soon coming return of the lover of our souls; Jesus Christ. We begin to wonder how much longer it will be before He returns for His Bride, the Church.
On this last month of the Hebrew calendar, many of us try to focus and meditate upon what has happened during the past year of our lives. It is a time to bring before our Beloved our misdeeds, mistakes, and wrong actions so that He can show us how we can make changes in the new year to come.
I have come to look at this act the same way you would look at preparing for a wedding.
I ask the same questions a Bride planning a wedding would be asking:
QUESTIONS OF A PREPARED BRIDE
How do these shoes work?
Or what have my feet been doing to better the Kingdom of God during the past year?
What can I change to make where I am going in these wedding shoes more favorable to the One I love?
What veil should I wear?
A veil is a beautiful covering.
How have I been careful to cover myself with the blood of Christ and to protect my face from the sins of the world?
How can I do this better in the days to come?
Is my dress ready?
Am I keeping my garments white and spotless from sin? If not; what stains do I need to bring before God so that He can remove them and make me clean again?
What should I keep?
A Bride is always pondering her new life, where she will be living and what she will be doing when she arrives in her new home. Are there some precious treasures from her earlier life that she will not want to leave behind?
The things that are lovely, pure, true and good; those things should be remembered and kept. She should always plan to take those things into the new place because they will serve her well and bring more beauty into her new home.
What should I change and/or leave behind?
There are things which are not pure, lovely, true and good from the past. Those things need to be healed by a God who knows all about healing. The Bride should give them over to a Holy God who knows what to do with them. Those things may need to change or to be completely replaced by something new and better.
A good Bride will be pondering the things that should change and the things that should be left behind and making arrangements for this as soon as possible.
The big questions should be addressed.
What about all of this planning is in keeping with the heart of my beloved?
Have I spoken to the groom about everything?
Whenever someone is engaged to be married, they need to discuss all the skeletons in their closet before the wedding. Nobody wants the experience of their loved one discovering these things by mistake or from a stranger. No one wants to be surprised or hurt by something they didn’t already know directly from their spouse after marriage.
A true lover will confess everything to their future spouse, so when the wedding day arrives there will be no surprises. Both parties will know for certain that all past mistakes are forgiven and forgotten.
Under such circumstances a Bride can feel safe with the One that she has vowed to love for eternity.
NOTHING IS EVER UNKNOWN TO GOD
When all of this confession does finally happen, most Brides are usually surprised to find that their Beloved already knew what they didn’t know they knew!
That is just how our relationship with God works too. Nothing we have done is unknown to Him; still He wants us to bring it up in conversation and talk with Him about it. We should accept this, confess it as truth and move on to a better place with our lives.
TRUE FORGIVNESS MEANS NEVER REVISITING THE PAST
Both parties in a healthy relationship always decide to forgive completely. That involves putting the past in the past and only expecting good in the future. After this time period of discussion, confession and forgiveness they would surely promise each other never to revisit these things again. The past should be the past and the future should remain secure. With this type of forgiving love between the two, it is totally possible to begin a fresh new page of life.
This is how I have learned to speak to my Beloved, Jesus, during the time of Elul.
He knows I am not perfect.
He loves anyway.
TURNING TOWARD THE FUTURE MEANS NOT BEING AFRAID
As the two lovers in The Song of Songs speak to one another; notice that they are not afraid. They are comfortable enough in their love that they can speak of their faults and mistakes and not feel their future is threatened.
They are humble enough; and each one is so much a part of the other that one can come to the other and ask forgiveness for things done wrong because each one knows that anything they have done would have an instant effect on the other.
No sin is a sin all alone.
Every sin we commit against ourself also hurts our Beloved.
This time of Elul is a time for the healing of such pain. Healing begins with honesty and confession.
Healing always comes before joy.
After the season of Elul, The Feast of Trumpets and The Day of Atonement; we come to The Feast of Tabernacles; which is our season of joy.
A CLEAR PATH TO FUTURE JOY
Elul is a clear path to future joy. It is a time to say “I want to change for you and never put you through such pain again.” The honesty, love, and truthfulness of this confession only serves to make the bond of love stronger. The stronger the bond between lovers, the less likely it will ever be broken.
This season is a time for the weaker to seek strength from the stronger. There will be encouragement that comes from the stronger lover that will change the spirit of the weaker lover from sadness to joy, from being ashamed to being confident and sure of their love.
TWO HEARTS ARE STRONGER THAN ONE
In this type of relationship this couple will be stronger together than they would ever be apart. Now they will be capable of things they could never achieve apart from one another.
All of the conversations in The Song of Songs seem to be very relational. This is the state we should be in during Elul, a relational state;, a state totally in tune to the desires of the One we love the most. This state is always looking to see what He will show us, listening to hear what He will tell us next.
NOW IS THE TIME TO JOIN THE DANCE
This type of loving relationship will always lead a couple to dance!
If you don’t know how to dance, your Beloved will teach you. Just step into His arms and trust Him. Dancing must be done face to face. There should be nothing standing between you and your partner in the dance.
If we are out of step, our Beloved will help us pick back up on the beat of the dance and He will guide us smoothly through the rhythms of life.
Being in the dance lets us know that He is the only One who truly understands our souls. He truly loves us as we are, and accepts us with all our flaws; even enough that He would die for us and all our imperfections. As we step together we realize He has a loving desire to help us change into the person that He created us to be.
Lean into the dance and begin to make the transformation.
He is a perfect dance partner!