The word for repentance in Hebrew is Shuwb or Teshuva, meaning to turn or reverse direction. It is a necessary step in following Yeshua. Those who witnessed Peter’s stirring sermon on that fateful Shavuot asked “What shall we do?” He simply stated “Repent and be baptized…”
What accomplishes repentance? Why do we do it? What motivates our change of heart? Simplistically it is because we recognize our way of life conflicts with the precepts laid down in YHWH’s instructions, his Torah. We change direction to come into harmony with his Word.
YHWH’s word and his thoughts are often likened to water. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;” Isaiah 55:10-11
The priest who served at the Mishkan washed in the Laver before approaching the altar and then again after making the sacrifice. The apostle Paul declared that the bride of Messiah is cleansed by the washing of the water of the Word. An essential feature of repentance is a decision to “humbly accept the engrafted Word which is able to save you.” Yaakov reminds us in this passage that there is another quality that the Word shares with water and that is its ability to act as a mirror. We can see ourselves in its reflection. This is not merely reading or listening to words—this is a supernatural encounter with YHWH himself in the form of his Word. It requires an openness and vulnerability to hear his voice, to wash away anything foreign to Him or his intent, to allow the Word to be “hidden in our hearts” that we might not sin against Him. As we seek His face during these 40 wonderful days of preparation, may we be open to the transformation and cleansing Yahweh provides through His Word.
Paul had much to say to the believers in Corinth about the troubles they were experiencing. We may see ourselves pretty clearly in some of the things he holds up to them. Are we participating in such things? Initiating them? Approving of them? Disapproving but doing nothing to change anything? What Paul talks about here is something we see all too often in our midst. Where are you standing?
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you, but [that] you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s [household], that there are contentions among you.”
(1 Corinthians 1:10-11, NKJV)
When division and contention arise among us, are we ready and willing to confront them and stand firm in love and unity?
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; renew in me a resolute spirit.”
(Psalm 51:10, CJB)