The first of Tammuz, the fourth month on the Hebrew calendar, is on Thursday. If we look back in history to this month we see that Moses sent out the spies into the Promised Land to evaluate what they saw and report back to the people. We know that when they returned all but Joshua and Caleb gave an evil report that would convince the tribes that they could not take the Promised Land. The sin of unbelief led to a negative confession that put the people of Israel under a curse that kept them in the wilderness for 40 years. Instead of believing that God is able to do as He promised, they knit themselves to a lie that impacts the nation of Israel even today.
This is also the month when the golden calf was made while Moses was receiving the first set of tablets from God. When Moses returned from the top of Mount Sinai he was so angry that he threw the tablets, breaking them to pieces. "Then he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it." (Exodus 32:20) Afterward, the Levites joined Moses in confirmation of their alliance with the Lord. They went through the camp, killing about 3,000 people who had worshiped the golden calf. Later, the Lord struck the camp with a plague because of their idol worship.
While visiting the ruins of Israel, one can see how frequently the tribes fell into idol worship. It became a theme of their lives. Ruins of defiled altars are scattered throughout the land. Remains of altars built to false gods testify to the erroneous alliances made by the nations of Israel and Judah.
The unfortunate consequences of the sinful behavior of the Israelites during Tammuz speak loudly to us today about how we should live in this month. First, we must guard our hearts and eyes. "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Proverbs 4:23) We must remember the miracles of God so that we see life from His perspective. "He is your praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes." (Deuteronomy 10:21) It is important to be sure that our confession of any situation agrees with the Kingdom of light. Negative confessions that agree with the kingdom of darkness can draw us into a downward spiral that will impact us for years to come. We must evaluate every situation in our lives through the eyes of Christ and let His light radiate in our hearts and eyes.
We must make our alliances with God-fearing people who will encourage us to confess the Lord's best over our lives. Isaiah warns about making ungodly alliances in Isaiah 30:1. "'Woe to the obstinate children,' declares the Lord, 'to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin.'" If we need to make adjustments in our lives so that we are on the right path, now is a good time to do it.
Let us be careful of what we worship. We see how quickly the children of Israel developed a golden calf. We should be aware of our tendencies to place other things before the Lord. John Wesley said, "Anything we love more than God is an idol." This month, especially, is the one to worship the Lord in "Spirit and Truth." (John 4:23) The Lord is seeking a set-aside people who delight in worshiping Him and who give Him first place in their lives.
The month of Tammuz presents us with a challenge and an opportunity. We do not want to repeat the sins of the past. Redemption is a gift from the Lord. Let us take the challenge and make this the month of unbridled worship of the One True God--the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. May God bless you as you choose to worship Him.
Joan E. Mathias