The 4th chapter of Hebrews talks about entering the Sabbath rest of God. Sadly, the children of Israel, except for Joshua and Caleb, never entered that rest because they did not apply faith to God's promises. Their lack of faith started Israel on a cycle of destruction that frequently manifests during the month we have just entered--Av. The cycle began on the 9th of Av when God's people chose to listen to the wrong voices.
God had good plans in mind for the month of Av. Av, meaning "father," was to be a month to celebrate the Good Father. It was the month when Israel was to enter the Promised Land where God's rest would be realized. His intention was that every year the month of Av would be a time to remember God's goodness. Instead the people of Israel remember Av--especially the 9th of Av--as a time when destruction occurred.
The Sabbath rest that God intends for His people can only be reached when we believe in His goodness and His dedication to keeping the promises and covenants He has made. How can we enter a place of rest if we do not believe in a faithful God?
Trust in our Heavenly Father was modeled by Jesus when He came to earth. Daily, He went before Father God for wisdom and guidance and was able to live in peace and rest despite unsettling circumstances around Him. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us: "Since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess." (Hebrews 4:14)
The month of Av is a time for us to make choices. The way in which we live can restore God's plans for this month. Listen carefully to the voice of God and choose to live according to His guidance. Choose to walk in freedom by repenting for iniquitous patterns of behavior in your life. Choose to believe in God's promises and receive His blessing. Seek the counsel of the Lord and follow His lead. Agree with the Psalmist and declare, "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." (Psalm 116:7) "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress. I will never be shaken." (Psalm 62:1-2)
Joan E. Mathias