“In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them.” (Deuteronomy 1:3)
Counting from the springtime month of Nisan, the eleventh month of the year is Shevat. It was on the first day of this lunar month that Moses began to deliver his final words to the Israelites shortly before his death. The book of Deuteronomy records his message to them.
Deuteronomy is a re-telling of the entire Torah. One Hebrew nickname of Deuteronomy is Mishneh Torah (משנה תורה), which means “repetition of the Torah.” During his final address, Moses repeated many of the same commandments that the previous generation had already received at Mount Sinai. He also provided many new details about the commandments that the previous books did not record.
Apart from Joshua and Caleb, the generation that prepared to enter the land was not present (as adults) at Mount Sinai. They had been dragged around on this journey by their parents. Instead of standing before a smoking mountain, they received the Torah as they surrounded an old man alongside a river.
As he spoke, the Torah surely came alive in their hearts. Suddenly it made sense and was full of clarity. Suddenly they were full of zeal to carry it out.
This is the “Sinai” experience to which I relate. We were sitting in a classroom full of people, as D. T. Lancaster explained the book of Leviticus from a Messianic Jewish perspective. My friends and I would marvel to each other about the “aha!” moments we shared that week. I was so excited to put this new information into practice in my life.
Perhaps you have a similar story. It might have been a class you attended, a book you read, or a tour to Israel, but suddenly the Torah clicked into place, and the entire Bible snapped into focus. You were excited by the sudden growth you experienced.
The Torah is like nourishing rain from heaven, and the month of Shevat is the season when that moisture surges into the trees, causing them to burst into life. Buds and blossoms form, signaling the beginning of new fruit.
Let it be this way for us, too. Think back to when you experienced your Sinai, and let your life come alive once again with new growth.