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The King In The Field

Moreover the profit of the land is for all;
even the king is served from the field.
Ecclesiastes 5:9

The last month of the civil Jewish calendar is the month of Elul before the New Year starts with the month of Tishrei again. The month of Elul is a time of paradox. Why? Because it is known as the time of spiritual workdays.

The Jewish calendar distinguishes between two general classifications of days: "mundane" (chol) and "holy" (kodesh). Ordinary workdays are mundane, but the Shabbat and the feasts of the Lord are holy.

On holy days, we free ourselves from the material entanglements of life to devote ourselves to the spiritual pursuits of praise, worship, prayer, intercession and the study of the Word of God.

These holy days are enriched with spiritual attributes such as rest on Shabbat, freedom on Passover, and awe on Rosh Hashanah etc. Each holy day provides a unique experience to us as we journey with the Lord through life.

The month of Elul resembles the holy portions of the calendar. Elul is a haven in time. It is like a city of refuge where we can escape from the ravaging and devastating demands of material pursuits in life.  It is a time to take stocks and audit our spiritual life and accounts – a time to assess and evaluate how we have fared in the current year that has gone by.

Elul is also a good time to prepare for the New Year (Rosh Hashanah), Ten Days of Awe, and Yom Kippur.  We repent of the things we have done and failed the Lord, and also resolve what to do in the future. It is a great time to read the Word of God more, pray more, praise more, worship more, give more to the Lord and to others by doing charitable deeds.

Elul is a great opportunity to draw near to God as we renew our relationship with God – asking Him to light our way, lead us, guide us and guard us in the days ahead.

In contrast to the other holy days such as the Shabbats and the feasts of the Lord, the days of Elul are workdays. On Shabbats and the holy days, the Bible commands us to cease from doing all physically constructive work (melachah). Work is forbidden on these holy days. However, in the month of Elul, there are no such restrictions. The divine and holy activities of Elul are conducted in the midst of our workday lives in the workplaces, fields, homes, schools, shops, factories, hospitals or offices etc.

According to a rabbi’s explanation for the paradox of Elul, the month of Elul is when the king is in the field.

 The king is usually in his royal palace in the capital city. If we need to see or approach the king, we need to go through the proper protocols and authorised channels in the palace bureaucracy. Approval is needed and granted through a succession of ministers and departmental heads.

We must also journey to the capital where the king is located. We must pass through many gates, corridors and passageways that will eventually lead to the throne room. Our appearance before the king must be meticulously prepared and presented. And we must adhere to a strict and acceptable code of dress, speech and mannerism before and upon entering into the royal presence.

But this is different when the king is in the field. Sometimes, the king comes out of his royal palace to visit his people in the open fields. At such times, we can approach the king just as we are. No protocols, no pre-arrangements and no prior preparations.

The king will receive all of his people with a smiling face and a radiant countenance. Even the peasant or farmer with all their dirt and sweat can have free access to the king in a manner not easily available even to the ministers when the king is in the royal palace.

For eleven months of the year, our lives alternate between the mundane workdays and the holy days, between facing the people and the King, between the fields and His royal palace, and between the outer courts and the Holy of Holies. But in the month of Elul, the King of glory comes to the field.

What happens when the king comes to the field? When the farmer sees the king in his field, does he keep on doing his work? Does he behave as if it were just another day in the fields? Does he have the time to run home to wash and change? Can he keep the king waiting for him to get ready and look right? Of course not. The farmer must be ready to meet his king in the fields.

Likewise, we must be able to meet the King in our fields - our homes, schools, workplaces and neighbourhoods. At all times! We must be ready to receive Him wherever we live, work, rest, eat and enjoy leisure.

1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, His own special people,
that you may proclaim the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
who once were not a people but are now the people of God,
who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

We are chosen by God. Chosen for the high calling of priestly work; chosen to be a holy people; chosen to be His instruments to do His work;  chosen to speak out for Him and to tell others of what He has done for us. Transforming us from nobody to somebody, from rejected to accepted, and from a sinner to a saint.

We are a holy people, regardless of whether it is a mundane workday or holy day! At all times, we are called to be holy as He is holy! Some of us will utterly and totally unprepared if the King of glory will come and knock at our doors. Will we be ashamed to open the door for Him to enter into our homes, our workplaces and the places we are frequenting or visiting?

Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

When Jesus comes knocking at our door, will we be glad to hear His voice and open the door immediately? Will we be ready to invite Him to come in, and share a meal together as friends? Will we be happy to commune with Him? Will we be able to stop all we are doing and serve Him when He comes to us in our fields?

Elul is not a month of ordinary workdays. The very air is charged with holiness. Everyday we live, everywhere we go, everything we do is unto the Lord! When the King is in our field, where the King is, it is holy ground. We are standing on holy ground! Our field is a holy ground!

God is more interested in a holy people than religious projects, activities, programs planned and made by man! It is time to stop playing church and spiritual games with God. Game over!

God is more interested that His people are a royal priesthood and a holy nation at all times than that they become holy on holy days and secular on mundane workdays!

This year, the month of Elul is from August 19 - September 16, 2012. We are now in the month of Elul.

The King is coming to our fields. Are we ready to meet Him? Face to face.


Written on 23 August 2012