Nourishment in the 11th Month
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8) This is a good Scripture to meditate on during the 11th month of Shevat. There is both a natural and spiritual component to this verse. Food is meant to nourish our bodies. We can follow the example of Daniel when he was taken to Babylon. "Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." (Daniel 1:8) An experiment was set up. Daniel and his friends ate only vegetables and drank only water. At the end of ten days they were healthier than the other young men who were drinking wine and eating the king's rich food.
The Word of God, "eaten regularly," is also meant to produce good health in us. It points us in the right direction because, as the Bible tells us, "Every word of God is flawless..." (Proverbs 30:5); "...the word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8) Jesus understood the importance of God's Word. He said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
As if to confirm God's desire to have us take in good food, He appointed the tribe of Asher to be associated with the 11th month. Some of the most fertile land in Canaan, along the seacoast between Tyre and Carmel, was the inheritance of Asher. This is the very area where Jesus disclosed that He is the "Bread of Life." Cana in Galilee is also the place where Jesus turned the water into wine.
Jacob prophesied over his son Asher, whose name means happy or fortunate. "Asher's food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king." (Genesis 49:20) Moses delivered a word to Asher to confirm God's favor on him and to direct his future. "Most blessed of sons is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil. The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days." (Deuteronomy 33:24-25) God blessed Asher with food, mineral resources, many children, peace with other tribes, and security from enemies. (A Time to Advance, Chuck Pierce) The members of this tribe were part of the rear guard. They were considered greatly favored by God because they were blessed with so many children and became the largest tribe.
Shevat is the month to declare our blessings are coming and to meditate on the nourishment that God provides for our future. Likewise, we are to pay attention to the ones "planted in our field," particularly those who provide water for us. In evaluating this, we are to remember the next generation and to put into place a plan to sustain them. Aquarius, the water carrier, is the constellation that is tied to the 11th month.
As we think about all of these Shevat highlights, let us remember that the Hebrew symbol for the month is TZADIK, meaning the "righteous one." This month we need to build upon the foundation of our Lord Jesus. He is a "sure foundation" for our times (Isaiah 33:6) and the "precious cornerstone for a sure foundation." (Isaiah 28:16) As we trust in Him we will be like trees "planted by the water" that will "never fail to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8) Let us remember that "the fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever." (Isaiah 32:17)
Joan E. Mathias