It was on this day, in the year 636, that Arab armies wrested control of the Holy Land from the Byzantines. It’s interesting that all three monotheistic religions have lost control of the Holy Land in the Hebrew month called Av. Judaism lost control on the 9th of Av. Christianity lost control on the 14th of Av and then on the 26th of Av, Islam lost control – all very interesting. As it relates to those who call upon the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it’s even more interesting to consider that the Hebrew month Av, spelled אב (alef – beit), is also the Hebrew word for “father.” That leads to this question: is it possible that all of the tragic events that occurred to God’s people during the month of Av – e.g. the destruction of the Temple – because God’s people turned their back on their Heavenly Father?
God had told them, even before they went into the land, that if they turned their away from Him, that He would turn away from them and scatter them among the nations (Deuteronomy 4:27). Yet He also said that, when they were in the nations:
“From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)
The theme of this verse sounds very familiar to something Jesus said: “Knock and the door will be opened; ask, and it will be given; seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). Through Moses, He told the children of Israel that, if they would seek Him, they would find Him. The word “find” in Deuteronomy 4, is very interesting and especially in light of what Messiah said in Matthew 7. The Hebrew word translated as “find” is matza and is pronounced exactly like the word used to describe the unleavened bread we eat at Passover, called matzah. The two words are spelled slightly different but pronounced exactly the same, suggesting that they are linked phonetically. In other words, the concept of seeking God and finding Him are somehow connected to the matzah eaten at Passover.
The verse in Deuteronomy 4 plainly tells us that, to find Him requires seeking Him with our whole heart. Therefore, those who are truly seeking Him in hopes of finding Him, will have to face the reality that Jesus is the Messiah and the only way by which we approach the Father. This realization will not come to those who are on a quest for knowledge in order to satisfy their intellect. Those who find Him are those who are seeking Him with their whole heat.
Consider the two disciples who traveled to Emmaus on the day of the resurrection. While discussing the strange turn of events of that day, they were approached by a stranger who inquired about their long faces and interesting discussion. The stranger, of course, was the Messiah, but His identity was concealed from them. When they reached their destination, they invited their new friend to go into the house with them. Because this was during the festival of unleavened bread, the bread the stranger took and blessed was matzah. When He broke the matzah and prayed, then their eyes were opened and they saw who He truly was – they “found” Him. Then they said, “Did our hearts not burn within us as He spoke? (Luke 24:30-31) It wasn’t their intellect that was engaged, but their hearts. It’s clear that those who seek the face of the Father will have to open their heart to the Messiah.
Our prayer, today, is that we would purpose in our heats to seek Him diligently – not with our head, but with our hearts. Let us do this that we would come to know the Messiah in the fullness of who He is. May our hearts burn within us as we hear His Word and may it always be that His Word is hidden within our hearts.