We have entered the eighth month--Cheshvan. Eight is the number of new beginnings and eternal revelation. It is associated with the Hebrew letter NUN, symbolizing the Messiah. Consequently, Cheshvan is called the month of Messiah. This month aligns with the tribe of Manasseh (meaning one who causes to forget). Manasseh was Joseph's son, born during a time of abundance. Joseph was thanking God for helping him forget many years of pain and loss in his life through the naming of his first-born son.
Manasseh would become one of the 12 tribes that camped around the Ark of the Covenant and marched to war. This next-generation tribe, along with Ephraim, was included as one of the 12 tribes so that they gained experience for the future battles they would need to fight. The tribe of Manasseh was learning what was holy and how to guard and defend it. This was their job when Israel went to war.
We are studying about Gideon during our Sunday morning meetings at Church. This is timely since we are in the eighth month and Gideon was a member of the tribe of Manasseh. Sadly, this man whose very name means warrior and feller, forgot the lessons of his tribe. His identity was in the weakness of his tribe. Because he had his eyes on his mistaken identity he lived in fear and suppressed the very person he was born to be.
God had eternal revelation for Gideon and called him out by the name that was given to him before the foundations of the earth were laid. In essence, the Lord told Gideon that it was time for a new beginning. Here is the declaration made from heaven: "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior...Go in the strength (meaning capacity) you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" (Judges 6:12, 14)
Gideon's tendency was to look back but the Lord was calling him into his prophetic destiny. The Israelites were being attacked and suppressed by the Midianites. The root of the name Midian is strife and contention, and, indeed, Midian was creating conflict and struggle amongst God's chosen people. Gideon had to shed the erroneous image he had of himself and clothe himself with the Spirit of the Lord. (Judges 6:34) It was time for him to embrace his identity in Christ.
As Gideon stepped into his identity and walked out the call on his life he would help all of Israel walk into theirs. The false idols in his life had to be destroyed before he moved forward in victory. Along with ten of his servants, Gideon demolished the altar to Baal, cut down the Asherah pole, and built a stone altar to God upon which he sacrificed a bull from his father's herd. (Judges 6:28) The Lord was with Gideon so that he and only 300 Israelites defeated the Midianites. (Judges 7)
Cheshvan is the month to deal with your root issues and take in new revelation from the Spirit of God. The Israelites would have seen the constellation Scorpio in the night sky during the eighth month. It is a sign that God has given His people power and authority in His name to "tread on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy..." (Luke 10:19) We will also overcome the enemy as we cast down the idols in our lives and focus our eyes on Jesus.
Like Gideon, the Lord has anointed us to preach good news to the poor. He has sent us to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recover of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. (Luke 4:18-19) This is the time for us to step into our destinies by cooperating with our Messiah as He leads us into a lifestyle that will transform us into His image.
Joan E. Mathias