40 Days of Repentance 2019 – Day 40

Devotion during 40 days of Teshuvah

Father Damien devoted his life to working in a leper colony. One day he mishandled a teapot full of boiling water. Scalding water drenched his foot. Oddly he felt nothing. At that instant he knew he had contracted the form of leprosy rendering him unable to sense pain.

As we contemplate “teshuvah,” we often encounter a similar situation—the inability to feel and respond to our environment. We can suffer from a spiritual leprosy that makes us oblivious to danger–unaware of what is harming us and destroying us. Isaiah 29: 9 Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. 10 Yahweh has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers).

An essential component of repentance, teshuvah, is waking up to see who we are and where we are. Being in a state of anesthesia or slumber threatens the quality of our life in the Spirit.

1 John 1: 7 But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Yeshua his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Here the apostle John reminds us of the cleansing power of the blood of our Messiah and points out that its cleansing action is conditional. Our sins are only cleansed when they are brought into the light.

The context of this chapter intimates that confession is an act that brings sin into the light. While empty words have no impact, words expressing the true decision of our heart are powerful and life-giving. Confession is essential to coming into the light. However, many times we first need to turn on the light switch and see the truth of our situation.

We see this in the story of Yeshua’s parable commonly known as “The Prodigal Son.” In the story the prodigal prematurely claims his inheritance and then squanders it on wasteful and profligate living. When his money runs out so do his friends. Alone and penniless, he finds himself reduced to feeding pigs and starved to the point he longs for the husks he is feeding them. In Luke 15:17 the light switch flips. The translations of this verse say “he came to himself” or “he came to his senses.” Something happens that confronts him with reality. The impact of his destructive behavior becomes clear. His chosen path has reduced his circumstances to a place far worse than his Father’s servants. This dawning realization sets him on the road to repentance and restoration.

An essential part of Teshuvah is embracing the light—even admitting that we haven’t been aware of the light—being willing to open our eyes and accept the guidance of both the Word and the Ruach. Paul says in Ephesians 5:14 ​​​​​​“Awake, O sleeper! ​​​​​​Rise from the dead, ​​​​​​and the Messiah will shine on you!” When we have been sleeping a flash of light startles us. We recoil in pain until we adjust to the light.

Sometimes we are unaware of our true condition. Like the assembly at Laodicea we think we are rich, clothed and seeing but in reality we are poor, naked and blind. Repentance eludes us because we are asleep and our eyes are tightly closed. Often God uses people in our lives to turn on the light and other times he sovereignly accosts us through the Ruach. Our first reaction may be to avoid the light but by embracing the light we enjoy the healing found through the cleansing blood of Yeshua that only occurs in the light.

As we have walked these 40 days of Teshuvah let us pray with the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:18—”open the eyes of our heart that we may be enlightened to know the hope to which he has called us.”

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