If you want to impact the world, here’s what you do first…
Over the past month, throughout the season of set-apart days and festivals, we spent a lot of time considering and focusing on teshuvah, repentance.
This week, in Parashat Noach, we see the process of teshuvah on a worldwide scale, and when examined closely, we can see the micro-process of teshuvah, the teshuvah that takes place on the small scale - the individual level.
We see how we can turn ourselves around and have a true, lasting impact on those around us.
THE NEED FOR TESHUVAH
There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, and within that time frame, the world went from a peaceful, set-apart existence with the Creator to a corrupt, violent land devoid of the Presence of YAH. Somehow, in ten generations, the world - mankind - had fallen far away from its original identity and purpose. The world had to change.
Hence came the flood. We know what happened all too well: YAH told Noah to build an ark, he built it, the rains came, the earth flooded, and only the inhabitants of the ark (Noah, his family, and the animals) were saved.
This whole process was a global teshuvah - a worldwide act that cleansed and purified the earth and got mankind back on track, stopping its spiritual decline and starting over.
YAHUAH hit the 'refresh' button.
The teshuvah that took place required two things: water and an ark.
The flood waters cleansed the earth of its impurities. It was a spiritual washing that cleansed the deepest and darkest impurities from the earth - all the impurities that resulted from ten generations of sin. Wickedness and evil were destroyed and nullified. The cleansing waters created a whole new world.
The ark allowed for the actual setting apart to take place after the flood. It helped clarify man’s identity and responsibility (purpose) in the new world.
Think of the two necessities this way: first you have to erase the chalkboard, and then you can write the assignment on it.
The flood wiped the slate clean, and the ark allowed Noah to receive his assignment and enabled him to carry it out.
PEACE, FREEDOM, AND MASHIACH
Noah was given the responsibility to regenerate the world’s population and to do so in the way of set-apartness, righteousness, and peace.
What was so special about the ark that helped Noah begin the world anew like this?
With all the evil wiped away, the ark was a place of peace and freedom. There was no bondage or oppression, and all were at peace with one another with no violence or murder. Even all the animals dwelled in harmony.
It was a prophecy of the Messianic Era - the wolf dwelled with the lamb and since only Noah and his family were left, the whole earth had knowledge of Elohim (Is. 11:6-9). The peace, freedom, knowledge of YAH - and the Mashiach (Messiah) - were essential in preparing Noah to begin the world anew.
FROM GLOBAL TO THE PERSONAL
Now, boil the whole flood-event down from a global level to the personal, individual level, and we can see the process of how each of us is supposed to do teshuvah and prepare ourselves to impact the world.
First, we must rid ourselves of evil and wickedness.
1. Immerse in a mikvah. The waters of a mikvah aren’t meant for washing dirt and grime from our bodies. They are spiritual cleansing waters that remove impurities from our innermost being. The impurities come from our sins and also from our association with things (or people) that are evil, wicked, or unclean. Immerse in a mikvah and remove all those spiritual impurities from your being.
2. Pray. Confess your sins to YAHUAH. Ask for forgiveness and atonement. Pray for Him to help refrain from sin.
3. Guard yourself. Remove all that is evil, wicked, or unclean from your life to prevent re-contamination. Guard your eyes and your ears. Guard your actions. Guard your mouth. Guard your mind. Guard your associations. Keep yourself clean.
These three steps will wipe the slate clean and refresh your being.
Next, enter the ark. The ark prepared and enabled Noah to carry out his mission on the earth. The ark was a place of peace, freedom, knowledge of Elohim, and the Mashiach.
Before we can have any meaningful impact on the world around us - our family, friends, community, or the world - we too have to enter the ‘ark.’ We have to come into the world of Mashiach, increase in knowledge of Elohim, and bring our innermost self to a place of peace and freedom.
1. Pray for Mashiach. Mashiach is the deliverance of Elohim. YahuShuah means “I am Yahuah El Shaddai who saves His people and blesses them with wealth, security, peace and nobility.” When we say "YahuShuah," we are calling YAHUAH to save us and bless us. Pray for YAH to lead you back to Him, to deliver you, to save you, and to bless you. He will send Mashiach to you to complete your deliverance, and when He is truly with you, you have a taste of the Messianic age.
2. Read and learn Torah. The Hebrew word for ark is teivah, which can also mean ‘word.’ When you enter the ark, you enter the 'word.' Commit to reading and learning the word of YAH, the Torah. It will help you to increase in the knowledge of Elohim. Pray for YAH to give you more knowledge and understanding. Also, the truth of the Torah will protect you from the raging floodwaters of confusion.
3. Actively seek your own inner peace and freedom. It is hard to lead others when we don’t have our self together. I’m not saying we have to be perfect, because no matter where we are, we can always do something to help somebody somewhere in some way. But in order to have a deep, meaningful, lasting impact on our world like Noah did - whether it be our family world or the world at large - we have to be at a place of peace and freedom on the inside.
a. Increase in belief and trust in YAH so that there is no doubt or wavering within you. Strive to live in such a way that there is no conflict between your spirit (your belief) and your actions.
b. Also, deal with your issues. Sometimes, we lack peace and freedom because we have emotional and/or mental baggage. We all have them, and we all have to deal with them at some point. It’s the only way to come completely to peace and freedom.
c. Work to settle your emotional turmoil. Do what you can to eliminate mental distresses and distractions. Identify whatever bondages and/or oppressions you may have and actively seek to free yourself.
Exactly how we achieve peace and freedom can be the topic of a whole other article, but in short, we reach peace and freedom through prayer, staying in the teivah (word), receiving counsel and prayer from the set-apart ones, forgiving and reconciling with others, and simply doing as YAH wills for us.
These, along with the eradication of unclean influences and associations, will bring us to peace and to freedom.
Coming to a place of knowledge of Elohim, peace, freedom, and Mashiach is entering the ark - the second step in our teshuvah process. This is how we get back to our true identity and come to understand our true purpose and responsibility in this earth.
When we have done both - cleansed our self and entered the ark - then, we can join the work of creating this world anew. We can join in the global effort to restore righteousness and peace to the world.
We do this by teaching others to do the same teshuvah process that we did - to rid themselves of evil and to enter the ark of peace, freedom, and the knowledge of YAH - the world of Mashiach.