I looked for a stone that would fit into my hand to hurl into the lake but all I could find were small pebbles and the big rock pictured above. Every year during the Jewish feast day Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets, Lev. 23:23-25), I practice a Jewish custom of throwing a rock into a body of water. This is a visual act of an inward repentance for sins for the past year. 10 days after Rosh Hashanah comes the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Holiest Day on the Jewish calendar which is celebrated tomorrow, September 19. Yom Kippur remembers the high priest act of once a year entering the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood of bulls and goats on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of Israel (Lev. 16).
So one day I threw a rock in a lake and another day I was doing a men’s retreat in Kansas City. I love teaching on Hearing the Voice of Your Father. I shared how the first step to hearing the Father’s voice is developing a humble repentant heart that follows Jesus into the Jordan River (Mt. 3:13-17). Jesus identified Himself with the worst of sinners and walked right into the Jordan as sinless lamb. This act of obedience pointed to His upcoming sacrifice on the cross. Jesus-the Cornerstone-cast Himself into the water as a humble servant to demonstrate that He would take on our sins and not only thrust them into the depths of the sea, (Micah 7:19) but also open up our hearts to the forever love of the Father.
I shared with the men how the Jews believed that the 10 days of repentance before the Day of Atonement would open up the heavens to those whose hearts were repentant and the result was to encounter the voice of God. Now don’t miss this, when Jesus emerged out of the Jordan River after the baptism of repentance He heard the Father say,
“This is My Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased,” Mt. 3:17.
I challenged the men to let the Spirit reveal their sin, their rebellious heart, find a rock, confess their sin, and hurl that rock into the water. But since there wasn’t any water at the retreat center we were at we improvised and had a bonfire to symbolize the removal of our sins. Abba moved during this time of repentance-many of the men’s ears were opened to hear the loving voice of their Abba Father.
It has been a week since I rode my bike to the lake, confessed a ton of sins, and with both hands and all the strength I could muster threw that big rock into the water. What a relief to place all my wrongdoings on the Rock of Jesus Christ. Yes, that rock made a gigantic splash! I must admit I felt like hiding behind a rock when I scared a couple sitting nearby. Oops I guess we neither of us will forget that day!
I rode my bike back home full of joy, full of the Father’s love, knowing I am His son because of the gift of the Son. I cherish the words He speaks over me. May you cherish the word He speaks over you!
You are His son, His daughter and He is proud of you!
Go find a Rock!