In the coming weeks we have several Festivals coming up. We will observe Yom Terurah, the days of Awe, and Yom Kippur. As we approach these days of Judgment and Atonement we have a need to prepare for them. This is not anything new. When we prepare for a trip we take inventory or evaluate our bags and lugage. When we have a test we prepare ourselves by studying and reading the material. When we have a difficult task to struggle with like a long hike or intense workout we prepare ourselves through stretches or consuming the appropriate food and drink for the workout.
In this season we should be preparing ourselves spiritually for the coming season of conviction and atonment. This process can be called introspection. By introspection I mean the process of looking at ourselves and what we have done so far, what we are doing presently and what we are planning to do.
This process can be painful as we encounter the areas that need imporvement. This includes those areas that we have struggled with, areas that have caused us great offense, and areas we are to prideful about to admit our own faults. This process should as be joyous as we also encounter those areas where Adonai has delivered us, areas where we have been blessed, and areas where we have grown.
Today I want to present a method of performing this introspection using some the prayer of the Master Yeshua. We are all familiar with the Lords Prayer. It is printed and presented in many buildings all over the world. It is often times one of the first prayers many people learn. As our messiach prayed this prayer and taught his disciples to include this prayer with their daily prayers in the temple it should be easy for us to accept that it might be very effective. Let us step through the prayer together and use to examine ourselves. This is offered as an example of an effective way to be introspective and to examine oneself. If one has another method that is better then they should use it. I tend to be practical and so wanted to give a tool to people to use in this season.
Using the Complete Jewish Bible and starting in Mattiyahu we read
“… Our Father in heaven! May your Name be kept holy.”
So immidiately let us ask the question: ‘How have I kept Adonai’s name set apart?’ We discussed the law of Adonai’s name previously and to not misuse it. We looked at it from an Orthodox standpoint and we also have our own common traditions of how to treat the name respectfully. Let us think about this after reading Dani’el
19 Adonai, hear! Adonai, forgive! Adonai, pay attention, and don’t delay action—for your own sake, my God, because your city and your people bear your name!”
May your Name be kept holy.
I would never trivialize the name of Adonai nor would I trivialize the mitzvot about his name. Yet how can I say I have kept it when I am called by his name and so my actions and thoughts reflect on his name. Now let us think over the past year “Have I kept Adonai’s name set apart? Am I now keeping Adonai’s name set apart? What are my plans to keep Adonai’s name set apart?” As we think back there maybe some areas where you have succeed to honor the name of Adonai that we are called by. Good rejoys and Baruch Hashem Bless Adonai for these victories. There maybe areas we need to work on. Baruch Hashem Bless Adonai he has shown us what we can do to improve. Perhaps we have never given it thought Baruch Hashem Bless Adonai he has brought you to a place to prepare. Good news as well you have time.
Moving further in the Master Yeshua’s Prayer we read:
May your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.
What are we doing for the Kingdom? I am not asking for us to build the entire kingdom on our own, but have you placed a brick in the road? Have you swept the road? have you invited others to join you on the road? In what capacity are you preparing for the kingdom? Is it time to rejoice or time to repent? We have recorded in Mattiyahu parable to help us understand the Kingdom of Heaven.
47 “Once more, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net thrown into the lake, that caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen brought the net up onto the shore, sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad fish away. 49 So it will be at the close of the age—the angels will go forth and separate the evil people from among the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will wail and grind their teeth.
Notice what we are is the fisherman. We gather the fish. Notice what we are not the ones who seperate the fish. Yeshua plainly says the angels will go forth and seperate the evil people from among the righteous. Are we serving the kingdom are we gathering the fish are we participating in coming of the Kingdom of Heaven?
Continuing on We ready in verse 11
Give us the food we need today.
Some translations and current scholerly research have found the word for today is only used in the Master’s prayer and it may be more accurately translated as something closer to tomorrow or will need. How have we asked for our provision are we humble or are we demanding? Do we plead with Adonai and accept his answer or are we winny and upset we did not get our way. In other words are we thankful for what has been intrusted to us with an expectation that even greater is to come or are we disappointed and resentful? What is our plan to use what we have been entrusted with? What is our plan to recieve even greater blessings? Are we careful we are appriciating our creator more than the created?
Moving to the next verse 12
Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.
Do we accept forgiveness or do we allow ourselves to be beat up by it over and over? Do we allow the shame of the past to stifle us from moving forward to serving Adonai? Have we allowed a fear of what people might find out about us keep us from reaching out to have relationships with others and include them in our lives? We ask for forgiveness daily yet do we ever really accept it? In turn who do we hold a grudge against? Who do we still hold offense with? Are we forgiving them as we have been forgiven? Are we letting them move on as we should move on from our SIN?
Then lastly in verse 13
And do not lead us into hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.
Are we putting ourselves in to bad situations? Are we allowing temptation and SIN to creep in to our lives? Is there something we need to remove? Have we allowed a substance or thought or temptation to get to close to us? Are we allowing it these things to consume our time, thoughts, resources, or energy? Why? Clean it out. In the book of Ya’akov or we have a clear message from the Apostolic father to the Jews in the Diaspora:
13 No one being tempted should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and God himself tempts no one. 14 Rather, each person is being tempted whenever he is being dragged off and enticed by the bait of his own desire. 15 Then, having conceived, the desire gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. 16 Don’t delude yourselves, my dear brothers.
We put ourselves in these situations. Adonai is not tempting you to test you. We do it to ourselves with our own desire. Then we convince ourselves of any lie that makes it easier for us to justify being in the situation. Stop it stop hurting yourself stop going to the places, listening to the things, participating in the activities that cause your desire to tempt you before it kills you.
If one is able to truly be introspective of their self their soul then by the time we arrive at Yom Terurah and celeberate with the blasting of trumpets and the shofar we will be able to rejoice in true peace and gladness. We will be able to truly participate in the days of awe. When we fast on Yom Kippur we will also understand just what we need to work on and how we can be better. Then when the season of our Joy arrives and we celebrate Sukkot, We will say in full gladness For kingship, power and glory are yours forever. Amen.