My last blog titled Madmen showcased the prophet Elisha, Jehu, and Hazael. This blog is a bit of a contranym concerning life and death and the most sacred place of all, the womb. We will begin with darkness and then go to the light.
In II Kings 15, we have a king who rips the unborn from the womb. Ironically, this King’s name means “consoling—comforter.”
At that time, Menahem (Comforter) sacked Tiphsah and all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on because they did not open it to him. Therefore he sacked it, and he ripped open all the women in it who were pregnant. (II Kings 15:16).
Menahem was like a rapist. The verse says he did these things because they would not open to him. They would not open the gates and doors and let him in to usurp the kingdom, so he took it by force.
Menahem sacked Tirzah: Tirzah was one of the seven daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher of the tribe of Manasseh. Tirzah brought a change in Mosaic hereditary laws. Both places Menahem invaded and destroyed had meaning: Strong’s Hebrew 8607: Tiphsah– (crossing over).
- Menahem came to bring chaos and remove comfort.
- Menahem came to destroy life.
- Menahem came to usurp a king.
- Menahem came to murder.
- Menahem came to stop people from crossing over (bridge).
Meditate on Menahem’s characteristics and also how spiritually we can shed innocent blood with our words. We can suck all the joy out of a room. Bring chaos instead of shalom. Try and usurp authority and even try and usurp our King Yeshua’s authority by being rebellious. We can prevent people and especially baby lambs, from crossing over by being harsh. We can sow discord and harm life and gifting in others that may make for a spiritual miscarriage. Forgive me. I am going to get to the light.
The Month of Av is about hearing and hearing correctly to obey. Remember when we were in High School or college, and the teacher/professor would tell us to prepare for a term paper/ oral presentation. The instructor would explain that it would be wise to go ahead and research or start writing our paper for our topic because the due date would be there before we knew it. Many times, we let other things and distractions prevent us from getting a “head” start. Those who started early were well prepared to give a presentation and had time to read over the material and prepare for exam day. Next month is Elul. It is a time of preparation and examination. Some brides wait so long to pick out a dress–come wedding day; it’s still not altered because they waited too long. Now, they have to settle for any dress that fits or buy a used gown.
Remember the cruel acts of Menahem to cut life from the womb?
“The days of Elul are known as days of Teshuva (repentance), from the word LaShuv (לשוב to return (- returning to ourselves, our truth, our real inner connection. Rabbi Nahman from Breslov says that the Hebrew word Tikun (תיקון correction) has the same letters of Tinok (תינוק a baby). Meaning that a person, who corrects himself by removing separation and disconnection from his soul, returns to his initial state, like when he was a baby, sort of restarting all systems, and this is the purpose of these forty days – losing our suffering, pain and distorted self and returning to our real selves. This is the purpose of creation and the secret of the journey of the Month of Elul” (Jewish source—Rabbi Nahman).
That’s in Elul, but we aren’t there yet. We are still in the month of Av. On the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av, Titus and his army forces broke through the city walls and commenced a great slaughter of those left inside the temple. According to Josephus, a river of blood flowed down the Temple stairs. Before they set fire to the Temple, the legionaries made pagan sacrifices on the holy alters. Josephus describes the destruction of the Temple:
While the holy house (The Temple) was on fire, everything was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand of those that were caught were slain; nor was there a commiseration of any age…but children and old men…and priests, were all slain in the same manner… The flame was also carried a long way and made an echo, together with the groans of those who were slain… one would have thought the whole city would have been on fire. Nor can one imagine anything greater and more terrible than this noise. (2)
The place of life was filled with death and that of God’s chosen people. The sound of death echoing in the place of life is very grievous. Just as Menahem cut out the life of the womb, the Holy One allowed the destruction of the first and second temple over idolatry and baseless hatred. All week I have been asking the Father if I have baseless hatred for anyone. Do I have echoes of bitterness and unforgiveness? Does death echo loudly inside our house?
Have you ever been pregnant with life and had someone rip it from you? I do not mean literally but figuratively. What if in a place called Tirzah, meaning Delightful Pleasantness, we are met by Menahem? Cruel Menahem aborted life. He cut out the babies and allowed the mothers to bleed to death. To add to the cruelty and invoke fear on the people, they would hold the baby up and allow the mother to see her precious life before taking her last breath. It is at this moment that I want to take this horrific scene and transform it into a message of hope and light.
Speaking of birth, Yeshua said we must be born again or rather born from above. A heavenly birth. A spiritual awakening. Evil Menahem’s name means comfort. What if the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit), the true Comforter, came to help us cut some of the past year’s fleshly nature out of our bellies?
Paul says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Will not inherit. A tad scary, don’t ya think? We often look at some of the fruits we deem more serious and think, well, I don’t do that. But fits of anger make the list. What pictures come to mind when you read fits? For me, it’s a toddler stomping and kicking, throwing toys, and crying over not getting their way.
A wrathful man stirs up discord, but one slow to anger calms strife (Proverbs 15:18). He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city (Proverbs 16:32). Menahem could take over a city and a kingdom but he could not rule his own spirit.
Division made the list. Division is something we see today in families, in assemblies, in ministries, and so forth. A house divided cannot stand. A nation divided cannot stand. Strife is discord and bitter arguments that lead to division and often with no closure or healing. Folks just stop communicating. Decades go by until the one party gets a phone call–death.
Paul lists Jealousy, fits of rage, and envy. All these things will count us out a bride ready and prepared for our King. Jealousy and envy are feelings of discontentment. Not being grateful or coveting someone else’s possessions or even their spiritual gifts. Comparing ourselves to others is not good. We need to tend to our own fruit unless we need counsel or have been asked for counsel. The book of James explains why we don’t receive or bear god fruit:
“What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the passions at war within you? You crave what you do not have; you kill and covet but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask. 3And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3, BSB).
What if all these were cut out of our wombs by the Comforter–by the fire of the Ruach burning our tongues with purifying fire and cleansing our eyes with eye salve. Changing our hearts towards others and seeing their journey is different yet beautiful in its own way. What if new life could be birthed that was the fruit of the Spirit? What if the sword of the Spirit was held by the Comforter who gently cut and circumcised our flesh away. Can you picture seeing our ugly flesh in our bellies being cut out?
If my siblings were fighting, my mother used to say, “Cut it out you two,” What if our wombs had death cut out by His sword—the Word of Yahweh. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
The Holy One knows what we are birthing. What if we began to birth life– beautiful life? No ugly babies! No bad fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26).
Brad Scott explains more about life:
“There are two Hebrew words that are translated as the word womb in Scripture. One is beten (בטן) and is used commonly to express the area of the belly. The other word is used exclusively to speak of the home of the first nine months of a child. This word is rechem (רחם). Rechem is from the root racham, and is, in its root, the word for compassion and mercy. Its root meaning is “protection from harm.” (Wild branch ministry)
Oh, the Holy One wants to protect us from harm. He wants to gather us under His Wings of Torah and His Truths and cause us to eat from the Tree of Life.
What if we begin to protect what He is birthing in our wombs so that our babies and our fruit are sweet and juicy. No rotten worms or holes or blackness. What if we protect it by placing boundaries so that we are not invaded? Of course, we know that no man can tame the tongue, but we can sure use our tongues to spread life, honey, His Word, and mercy to those who need it, and when we see someone giving birth to what would seem an ugly baby, we can cause them to “cut it out.” just like our Mother (Holy Spirit) would say to us. The older (wiser) women were to instruct the younger women, and many times we can do that with no words—just our actions. Older doesn’t always mean age but wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. People are watching us.
In the desert, we get hot. We need water. We need bread. We need a Shepherd. We need to hear His Voice and heed His instructions. We need to protect the seeds we carry. we are to have rivers of LIVING WATER flowing out of us. Not contaminated filth. No dirty bathwater. Not cisterns with cracks in them. Rivers of living water cannot flow with bitter.
“Can both fresh water and saltwater flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree grow olives or grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good conduct, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast in it or deny the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peace-loving, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace reap the fruit of righteousness. James 3:11-17).
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy” (James 3:17). May we protect our wombs and the seed in our wombs. May we cut out all the foolishness and desires of the flesh and walk as Yeshua walked. We need a savior.
Annie Hawks, 1835:
I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Ev’ry hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r
When Thou art nigh.
I need Thee ev’ry hour,
In joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain. [Refrain]
I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises
In me fulfill.
Sources: Jewish sources, Brad Scott, Abarim publications,