Laying a Firm Foundation in the Month of Shevat

Digging Deeper

“Laying the Foundation.” Those three words have been ringing in my spirit the past few weeks as I have been doing my annual journal review of the past year and looking forward to the new year of 2015. It is hard to believe that it’s February already, and I’ve only managed to get through June 2014 in my journal review!! I don’t want to miss thanking Him for all He has accomplished in my life this year, so I am carefully searching for dreams to re-type in my dream journal, prophetic words and promises both old and new for me and my loved ones, and prayer requests, both answered and unanswered, that challenge me to keep wrestling with God like Jacob did until I see them manifest in the atmosphere around me. So much has happened in the past year that I feel like I am in a whirlwind. As it turns out, that is exactly where God wants us to be.

The Hebrew year of 5775 began last September in the month of Tishri. I would encourage you to look back through the Rest and Be Thankful website to learn about the prophetic words for this year. There are other resources following this article that can help you get into God’s timing and RHEMA word as well. A letter I received recently from Chuck Pierce at Glory of Zion states, “In this Hebraic year, 5775 (Ayin Hei), a year to embrace the sound of the whirlwind of heaven and unlock seeds for your future, we want you to stand firm, amidst the turmoil and the winds that may be swirling around you.” Perhaps I’m not the only one that God is instructing to lay a foundation in the midst of a whirlwind.

The word “foundation” has several facets to its definition. It is the basis upon which something stands or is supported. It is the natural or prepared ground or base on which some structure rests. It is the act of founding, especially the establishment of an institution with provisions for future maintenance. In the simplest sense, foundations support something else. All of these definitions have spiritual significance as well as worldly importance.

These definitions along with my reflections on the past year cause me to stop and ask questions like the following:
*What do I stand for?
*Who has God entrusted to me to support?
*Who is supporting me? Who am I aligned with?
*What is the territory or sphere of influence (the ground) that I am responsible for? How do I best steward that territory? Have others prepared my ground well before I settled there?
*What provisions do I need for future maintenance for me, my family, my home, and my sphere of influence?

These are questions worth wrestling with. Every builder knows that without the proper load-bearing foundation, anything that is built above it is doomed to destruction regardless of its appearance on the outside. God wants us to be wise builders in every part of our lives. 5775 is indeed the year of the whirlwind. How we choose to lay the foundations of our lives will determine how much we can withstand the winds of change all around us.

In the Hebrew calendar, we are now in the month of Shevat. In our Roman calendar, Shevat started on January 21 and ends on February 19. It is associated with the Hebrew letter Tzadik (zadeek’) which symbolizes “the righteous one.” This is the month for righteousness to become our foundation. God designed this month for us to spend time making sure we don’t have any cracks in our foundations!!

Shevat is a month associated with the tribe of Asher, which was a tribe blessed with abundance in every way: food, resources, children, favor of God, security of enemies, etc. Therefore, Shevat is a month to experience God’s blessing. I like the idea of blessing, but I love the experience of it even more!

Because this is the time of year that spring begins in Israel, Shevat is also called the month of trees. As I look out my window and see frosty snow covered trees overshadowing sparkling snow in February here in Wisconsin, I am only too happy to dream about spring! The bible says a lot about trees, but it is the almond tree that is a symbol of spring in Israel.

The Hebrew word for the almond tree is shaqed (pronounced shakaid’). It comes from the root word that means, “to watch; to be watchful; to keep watch over, and be alert”. The almond tree is the tree that watches. In Jeremiah 1, God gives Jeremiah a vision and asks him, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” Jeremiah replies that he sees a branch of an almond tree. To which God replies, “You are right, for I am on watch to carry out My Word.” Therefore, just as the almond tree is watching and waiting to burst into bloom at springtime, God is watching and waiting for someone to proclaim His Words so He can bring them to fulfillment.

Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet to the nations. He was young and a little timid. He wondered what authority he had to accomplish such a big job. God told him that he wasn’t going in his own authority, but by God’s authority. Because God was sending him, he went with the authority of the One who sent him. Not only did God give Jeremiah His authority, but also He reached out, touched his mouth and said, “Now, I have put My Words in your mouth.” Jeremiah was sent to declare into the atmosphere what God had said. And he didn’t have to worry about what happened because God watches over His Word. He will perform it when we declare it!

Once I learned this principle of praying God’s Word out loud into the atmosphere, I found a few books that have helped. Prayers That Avail Much by Germaine Copeland, Power of a Praying Wife, and Power of a Praying Parent, both by Stormie Omartian, are books full of prayers that contain God’s Words for various topics. When I am in a place where I have run out of strategies and I’m not sure what to pray, I know that praying those prayers releases God’s Word. It is comforting to know I can be sure that He is watching over them to perform what He promises.

Another tree that is important in this month of Shevat is the tree of life. Out of His love, He directed Adam and Eve to eat only from the tree of life, which symbolizes the free access we have to God’s goodness and blessing. God desires to pour out His blessings upon us. Whatever we need grows on that tree. Choosing the tree of life is to choose to love God passionately, follow His Word and live under the waterfall of His blessing.

As we know from the Garden of Eden, God put two trees in the garden. So what was the purpose of the other tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

God is a gentleman and doesn’t force us to love Him. It wouldn’t be true love if it were forced upon us. By His design, the two trees were put in the Garden to give us a choice. Just like Adam and Eve, God gives us a choice to walk with Him in love and blessing, or we can choose our own way and attempt to live independent of Him. Of course, we know that when Adam and Eve chose the tree of knowledge, they cut themselves off from the flow of God’s life.

We are not God. When we cut ourselves off from God’s blessing, all we are left with is the curse. It is Satan’s curse of pain, suffering and death. Adam and Eve were seduced by the enemy and chose the curse. Much of the human race today has also been seduced into choosing independence because it wants to go its own way instead of being dependent on God.

The good news is that Jesus died to redeem us from the curse. When he hung on the cross (a tree of death), He opened the way to the tree of life.

It’s interesting to note that another symbol of a tree in the bible is the menorah. It was actually designed to look like a tree. The menorah is a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s light. Remember that Holy Spirit is a person, and through Him, you can access all the goodness and blessings of God. Because Jesus died and rose again, he was able to send Holy Spirit to be our teacher, counselor and comforter (John 14). Through Holy Spirit, we can access all the goodness and blessings of God.

So, in this month of trees, let’s worship God for the experience of abundant blessings, let’s press into God’s Word and proclaim it out loud, let’s watch for God to perform His Word as He promises, and let’s ask Holy Spirit to fill us and guide us on the path to God’s tree of life. Let’s press in and ask the questions about our foundations. Let’s wrestle with them until we are sure that our foundations are solidly rooted in righteousness so we are equipped to stand in the eye of the whirlwinds all around us this year.

Standing on the foundation of righteousness,
Jenny Hannack

Resources to help build a solid foundation:
A Time to Advance: Understanding the Significance of the Hebrew Tribes and Months by Chuck D. Pierce and Robert and Linda Heidler
Messianic Church Arising by Robert Heidler

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Jenny Hannack is a former elementary teacher of 21 years. She loves kids, loves learning, and loves the Word of God. In addition to being a Christian life coach, she is also a ministry partner, member of the Board of Directors, and a regular contributing author in the "Digging Deeper" section of the Rest and Be Thankful website.