An interesting Psalm gives direction on how we should prepare for the coming of the Lord. "Righteousness goes before Him and prepares the way for His steps." (Psalm 85:13) John the Baptist took this call seriously. Isaiah 40:3 adds understanding to the verse: "A voice of one calling: 'In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'" This should speak to us as we look for the returning of our Lord. The Jews say we should look for His return during this month, the eighth month, called Cheshvan. They say it is reserved for the Messiah since there are no feasts or fasts included in it. Eight is the number of new beginnings and new revelation.
Cheshvan occurs during autumn and after the fall feasts are completed. It is significant in that the great flood occurred during this time. If we go back to Genesis 6, we see that God was greatly grieved by the state of humanity during Noah's day. "The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time...But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord." (Genesis 6:5,8) Chapter 6 continues to make it clear that the "earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence." God instructed Noah to build an ark according to His specifications. This ark would save Noah and his family and two of every kind of creature. He told Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your family, because I have found you righteous in this generation." (Genesis 7:1) This is what the Lord looks for in His people—righteousness!
"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the 17th day of the second month (The eighth month on the calendar given to the Hebrews in Egypt)—on that day, all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of heaven were opened, and the rain fell on the earth 40 days and 40 nights." (Genesis 7:11-12) No one paid attention to Noah or the warnings from God. As the day of judgment approached, everyone continued in their ungodly lifestyles. We are warned not to repeat the ungodly patterns of life from Noah's days. Jesus said, "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur (brimstone) rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed." (Luke 17:26-30)
For me, this is a sobering thought! It is my opinion that the corruption we have today probably rivals the corruption of Noah's day. So many seem to have an evil intent as they live their lives in selfish ways. This is manifesting not only in society, but also in the Church. How long will the Lord allow this to continue? It is my prayer that the fear of the Lord falls upon our nation and the world before it is too late. While we know that God made a covenant with Noah to never flood the entire world again, the unrepentant will reap what they have sown in whatever way the Lord decides.
In the meantime, we have a responsibility to follow the ways of the Lord and prepare a path for Him to walk on. Proverbs 15:9 tells us what the Lord is looking for: "The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but He loves those who pursue righteousness." The prophet Isaiah also has something to say about righteousness. In Isaiah 28:17 it states, "I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line..." As the Jews look for the coming of their Messiah during this month, we can be like John the Baptist and prepare the way for the Lord's return. Hosea tells us how: "Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and showers righteousness on you." (Hosea 10:12)
Joan E. Mathias