“Who covers the heaven with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass to grow upon the mountains.”
While we enjoy the warmth and sunshine of summer here in the southern hemisphere, it is winter in the Land of the Bible. In any clime, winter usually has the connotation of cold, bleakness and little growth. However, Monday begins the 11th month of the Biblical year, known as Shevat. Like the other months, the name of the 11th month is a Babylonian one. In the narration of the prophetic words and visions he was receiving from the LORD, Zechariah the prophet uses it in 1:7, “On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month-that is, the month of Shevat…” The word has a connection to lashings of rain and heavy downfalls are common during this month as winter comes to a close, preparing the soil for renewal of growth.
Shevat brings hints of spring. The beautiful cyclamen, in Hebrew ‘rakefet’, will already be flowering among the rocky hillsides, in forests, and will even poke through crevices in walls. Its appearance attracts hikers throughout Israel who walk the trails and view the pink and mauve displays of this humble flower. A delightful legend says that because the flower stands modestly upright but bends its head so gracefully, it was chosen by King Solomon as the model for his crown, and one of its Hebrew names is ‘nezer Shlomo’, King Solomon’s crown.
A beautiful blossom that is a symbol of hope and restoration is the almond tree, also making its annual display of pink and white across Israel’s landscape. Read about its biblical message here:
The month of Shevat is a beautiful picture of renewal, refreshing and growth. It was on the first day of Shevat that Moses began his summary of the Torah and his exhortations to the children of Israel to stay faithful to its Divine instructions (Deuteronomy 1:1 & 3). And it is trusting in God’s Word that brings the renewal He promises when He leads us through different seasons.
“…that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the LORD…” Acts 3:20
Refreshing and growth is happening in another way in Israel as the ingathering of the exiles – the most prophesied event in the Bible – continues. You can partner with God in the fulfilment of these prophecies including Isaiah 49:22 which speaks of the Gentiles bearing home their sons and daughters. An Aliyah camp for Jewish youth from Ukraine supported by ICEJ is ‘super!’ according to a youth from Kiev…
ICEJ Australia National Director