Sundown on September 16, 2012 marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year. According to Hebrew tradition, today, the earth turns 5773 years old. 5773 will be known as the year ayin gimel, or ’73. This year will reveal the Lord as our “Gracious Benevolent Redeemer.” The Hebrew alphabet doubles as numbers giving each character a numerical value. Since each Hebrew character possesses a pictorial meaning as well, there are layers of richness to each letter/number. Pictorial dates tell a story, revealing the Creator’s design for that particular year. Jewish calendar year, 5773, is pregnant with opportunities for recovery and redemption. Before we investigate this year’s potential, feel free to revisit last year’s forecast here. I believe you will find it largely telling as to what you have been experiencing in past months.
During 5772, the winnower was at work, sifting the chaff from the wheat. Not one of us has escaped the process of being tossed and shaken. Rejoice, friend! Though you may feel stripped and inadequate, useless chaff has been loosed from your life. Divine ruach (the breath of God) has blown consistently upon even the most solid areas of your life. Unrelenting at times, the ruach has tempered your faith and has given you new perspective. Yesterday’s sweet spot is today’s chaff. Chaff is the husk or encasing that surrounds the kernel of grain during its maturation process. What protected and nurtured you in times past will be separated from you in the day of sifting. Only after experiencing the winnower’s wind can you be ready for inclusion in the next chapter of Father’s plan.
Sifting differentiates between what is worthless and what is of value. Many in Father’s house, are feeling quite worthless because the wind has blown away what they found central to their identity. Some things have departed that once gave us a sense of great significance. Perhaps you have drawn your identity from a particular assignment, ministry, relationship, or season of past success? Much has blown away in the winds of 5772. Chaff has value and purpose, in its season. Wisdom beckons us to recognize the seasonal quality of what or who has exited your life in the sifting. Chalk it up to process.
Sifting reveals not only the chaff, but also the mature, whole grain. You have been discovered on the threshing floor of God’s house [this is the fulfillment of ayin bet or 5772].
Number “3” in the aleph-bet, gimel, is symbolic of the camel. Gimel’s pictograph depicts a walking camel’s head, neck and forelegs. Camels are burden-bearing beasts employed by kings of old. Unusually tolerant of heat, long periods of time can pass between waterings, making the camel the desert-traveler’s choice of transportation. For many, the past season has been a desert of hardship. Frankly, I struggled sharing this word in light of the prevalent discouragement among the body of Christ. The promises of God, however, stand regardless of our disappointments. “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar,” Romans 3:3-4 NIV. Don’t abandon hope, but humbly accept the word God has planted in your heart, for it has the power to save your soul. During ayin gimel, the Lord will demonstrate faithfulness to the one who counts Him as faithful.
Camels are the desert ships of kings and their riches. In 2 Chronicles 9:1, the Queen of Sheba brought Solomon gold, gems and spices on a caravan of camels. Eliezer brought the bride, Rebecca, home to Isaac on a caravan of camels. Kings and wealthy businessmen used camels to transport goods along trade routes. The following facts are shared on the American Bible Society website.
- Camel caravans were important to the economies of cities and empires.
- Camels are the best desert pack animals due to their amazing strength.
- They can carry anywhere from 350-1000 pounds each!
- Passengers could ride atop or be carried in baskets on either side.
- Camels can live on and digest thorny plants in the desert.
- Camels can survive many days without water as their body stores and releases water on journeys.
- Camels have callouses that protect them from the scorching sand.
- The eyelashes of the camel protect him from the blinding sun and the blowing sand.
- Camels possess an acute sense of smell that leads them to desert water sources.
Ayin gimel illustrates the Father’s ability to provide for His children, even in a barren wasteland. The Talmud [writings of Jewish civil and ceremonial law] depicts gimel as a wealthy man running to overtake an impoverished man with provision. Jesus, our wealthy king, has methods of sourcing His people during times of hardship. He is not limited in how He can achieve gimel’s aim! As I write, my husband reminds me of a vision he had some months ago that corroborates this word. In his vision, a group of people were walking across a stage. From behind the stage curtain, a man emerged to overtake the group. In a surprising gesture, he wrapped his arms around a passerby, not to harm but to bless. Jonathan wrote the vision down (a seed of confirmation for the year 5773). As we cross the stage of ayin gimel, One will be revealed Who is poised to overtake us with mercies. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” Psalm 23:6 KJV.
Gimel illustrates the redemptive power of Christ. It could be said that the camel is a type of Christ, Who lifts others and carries their burdens. Many will traverse the wilderness of 5773 in the basket strapped to gimel’s side. Don’t stop short with the mere hope of survival. Never doubt that God can redeem the losses of your prior season! Gimel never arrives on the scene empty-handed. “See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him,” Isaiah 40:10 NIV.
As the number “3”, gimel speaks of the third person of the Trinity. If aleph “1” is the Father – and bet “2” is the Son; then, gimel “3” is the Holy Spirit of truth that proceedeth from the Father and son (John 15:26). It is the graciousness of the Holy Spirit that works redemption not only for us, but in us. Furthermore, it is the gracious Holy Spirit that works through us to make us agents of redemption and benevolence for others. This is the work of grace.
The forecast for 5773 ends at a dichotomy. In the days ahead, we will both receive and become benevolence from Heaven. Those who consume Father’s kindnesses and do not return the grace, will face years of leanness ahead. The one who receives from gimel and in turn pays it forward, will become a part of Heaven’s caravan. “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed,” Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV.
I leave you with this challenge. Give to others this year as never before. If you’re struggling to put food on your table, give to another of the little you do have. If ends don’t ever seem to meet, work to bless another family in need. As we release our material wealth to gimel, Father can redeem us from materialism, fear and self-centeredness. Truly we depend on Christ to be our gimel in this year. However, by the end of gimel’s season, we should have become the camel of provision in others’ lives.
Based on what we know about the camel, expect that you will grow into the following Christ-like traits:
- You will become important to the economy round about you.
- You will have developed amazing strength by learning to bear other’s burdens.
- Just as the camel can live on and digest thorny desert plants, so the undesirable things of this season will serve to fuel your journey.
- There will be times of refreshing that will hydrate you for lengthy periods.
- Your travels have given your feet callouses that will serve to protect you from the blistering sands.
- The eyelashes of the camel protect him from the blinding sun and the blowing sand. Just the same, your vision will not be impaired by inopportune circumstances.
- Camels possess an acute sense of smell that leads them to desert water sources. You will prove the inner guidance of the Holy Spirit Who leads you in the way you should go – the way everlasting.
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