A significant date on the Hebrew calendar is Tammuz 17 (July 16 on our calendar for 2022). On this date, Moses returned from his visit with God bringing the Ten Commandments on a set of tablets. He was horrified to find that the Israelites were sinning by worshiping the golden calf they made while he was on Mount Sinai. They were sacrificing to their hand-made idol and "indulging in revelry." (Exodus 32:6) Scripture tells us that the anger of Moses "burned, and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain." (Exodus 32:19)
When the Israelites were ready to enter the Promised Land, they sent 12 leaders (one from each tribe) to investigate the land of Canaan. They spent much of the month of Tammuz, the fourth month, in this Promised Land forming opinions that they would report to the rest of the tribes. The spies returned on the 9th of Av, the fifth month. All but two of the twelve gave a bad report and led the rest of the camp into making a bad decision, a decision based on fear, that would keep an entire generation out of the Promised Land.
The three-week period between Tammuz 17 and Av 9 is now one that is named "The Dire Straits." Looking back in history, we see that this period of time has repeatedly been a tumultuous one where evil agendas prospered. The name for this three-week period came from Lamentations 1:3. "Judah has gone into captivity; under affliction and hard servitude. She dwells among the nations; She finds no rest. All her persecutors overtake her in dire straits." (NKJ) In Hebrew it is "Bein Hametzarim" and can be translated "narrow straights." The Jewish people mark this day with a fast and remember that it was also the date when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans in 69 AD.
Over the years, the three weeks in The Dire Straits have been a time of crisis and destruction. The enemy of our souls has this time frame marked on his calendar so that year after year he attempts to destroy the Jews, the Church, and all Believers in Yeshua. The enemy wants to destroy our spiritual temples and our walk with God. How should we deal with the next three weeks? First, we should take the advice that Peter gives us in 1 Peter 5:8-9. "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith..." Next, we must remember the tumultuous seasons of the past and prepare for the battle. Hosea warns the children of Israel: "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." (Hosea 3:6)
Chuck Pierce, leader of Glory of Zion in Texas, calls Tammuz the "filmstrip" month. He encourages us to look back at each frame of the "strip" to review our progression of life and stop to make adjustments so that we stay on the Lord's path. The Israelites failed because they did not remember the ways in which God had cared for them time and time again as they traveled through the wilderness. They did not recall the faithfulness of God in keeping HIs promises.
Satan's demons will be working overtime during this month as they attempt to entice us into building idols instead of directing our eyes and hearts toward our Lord. We should use the next three weeks to repent of our sins and destroy any legal right the kingdom of darkness has because of it. Also, we must not build any idols. John Wesley calls an idol "anything or anyone that we love more than God." Then, we must "guard our hearts, for everything we do flows through it." (Proverbs 4:23) Finally, let's make this time one of extravagant worship to the Lord. He is worthy of all our praise and honor and worship.
Joan E. Mathias