I don’t know about you but this year has been crazy, we have had so many highs and celebrations as a family the birth of our nephew Caleb Lucas, weddings and the birth of our friends children makes you so grateful for the life we have been given. However life has also seen its fair share of troubles this year, upset and grief makes you even more thankful for the joy and blessings God has provided us.
This week it’s Rosh Hashanah for the Jewish people a New Year celebration at first glance, yet as always, the tradition and hidden religious significance can often be lost. Rosh Hashanah translates to the Head of the Year and is first mentioned in the Bible as Yom Teruah (Numbers29:1) A day of Blowing Trumpets. Hmmm is that it?? And yet its significance is much more than that, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of Adam and Eve, the first Sin, and also the day when Abraham anticipated that he would sacrifice his only son Isaac.
We have heard the story a thousand times before if we went to Sunday school, or perhaps the story of Abraham and Isaac is less familiar. Avraham who has followed God from his homeland gets into a few scrapes now and then but ultimately clings to Gods promise that he will be blessed as well as his descendents. Doesn’t seem too difficult God wants to bless me I can get behind that, however a mighty nation with only one son at a 100 hmm? It doesn’t get much better when God calls Avraham “Take your son, your only son, whom you love Yitz’chak; and go to the land of Moriyah. There you are to offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will point out to you” Gen22:2
Not looking great for Yitz’chak really is it? and not only that he has to carry the wood he is going to be burnt on. I love God’s imagery as we are quickly reminded of our own Saviour having to carry his wood which he will be sacrificed on. You see Yitz’chak and Yeshua are similar it’s not said how old Yitz’chak is we usually assume he is young because he goes along with his Fathers plan. He doesn’t run away, even when they should be sacrificing something and yet no lamb has been brought with them. We assume since he hasn’t twigged he must be too young to understand, even when he is being bound on the altar where is His struggle?
Josephus has Yitz’chak’s age at 25! A 25 year old has enough strength to overpower his 125yr old elderly father, yet he submits to His plan. Even if it’s going to cost him some pain, even if it’s going to cost him his life. You see by both Avraham and Yitz’chak submitting to God they get to witness an awesome miracle a shout from heaven is heard from an angel telling them not to sacrifice Yitz’chak and a ram has been provided caught in the bushes by its horns. They witness personally Gods depth of love for them calling the place Adonai Yir’eh Adonai provides.
During Rosh Hashanah we as Christians also can take the time to remember Gods love for us, that He is our Provider and our Sustainer. That he cares for us so deeply that He sent His only son to die for us, to atone for our sins so that we could have a relationship with Him and have everlasting life.
There will be times in your year, like mine, when it’s easy to hold onto these promises of God. These are the days of joy and happiness. The choice for us is to remember like Yitz’chak that through the unexpected days, the days of frustration and sometimes the just painful days that God is exactly who He says He Is.
Luke and I baked Challah bread for Rosh Hashanah. Its customary to braid a Challah into a circle, some say to crown God as King and others to remember the cycle of the year all I know I was quite impressed with our achievements. I will be dipping my challah in some honey as is the custom to hope for a sweet New Year
I will leave you with this Jewish blessing; (which I am not going to try and pronounce)
“Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim,” May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.
Understand, then, that those who have faith are the children of Abraham Galatians3:7