On this occasion of Rosh Chodesh Preparation Day - the day between the last Sabbath and the New Moon feast which follows tomorrow - I have felt a very strong urging to discuss our opening passage of Scripture with you.
"Stand therefore, having girded your waist with emet (truth), having put on the breastplate of tzedakah (righteousness), and having shod your feet with the preparation of the besorah (gospel) of shalom (peace)" (Eph.6:14-15, NKJV).
Since this is the first time we have marked a Preparation Day in the Creation Calendar I was very keen to 'experience' it in the way that Yahweh intended, bearing in mind that Preparation Day was a regular monthly feature before the Flood when the moon's orbit became changed and we began losing some of them. In those days Rosh Chodesh was always the day after the fourth sabbath of each month - now we only experience it occasionally, thanks to the shortened lunar period.
As far as 'experiencing' Preparation Day is concerned, I can truthfully report that I have felt a restlessness and hunger to hear Yahweh's next monthly instructions following the already fulfilled - and continuing-to-be-fulfilled - revelation on Red April. Though the world isn't paying much attention any more (except those who are on their toes), we are still being drenched in poisonous radiation from Fukushima. How many of you, I wonder, have taken any precautions at all? Indeed, is it not as hard preparing for, and against, an invisible killer such as radioactive particles in the atmosphere as it is preparing for that which is spiritual and also invisible? Those who live by physical sight - or by any of the other physical senses - are invariably careless when it comes to the invisible.
Today's passage contains a word that has long baffled me: "preparation". Only a couple of days ago did I finally decide to try and decipher it for myself. This required that I make a study of ancient armour. You all know what a helmet, breastplate and shield are. But what is the armour of the feet? Amongst the armour of heavy Roman infantry were what are called greaves or 'shin armour', consisting of metal plates covering the legs. Greaves were not an after-thought but an essential part of armour: if the feet or legs were wounded, an infantryman could neither stand nor resist his foe, pursue him in victory nor flee from him in defeat. Protecting the legs and feet therefore became of the utmost importance! 'Shodding the feet' meant putting greaves on the legs.
Legs take a man where he shall go in the service of Yahweh, and indeed also away from sin. Here, though, using a military metaphor, Paul instructs the believer to put on his greaves consisting of the "preparation of the gospel of peace". The Good News of Salvation in Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) brings to the one who receives it an inner shalom, which is more than mere 'peace' but a sense of total well-being and inner harmony. But what does the Greek hetoimasia or "preparation" here mean? It means to be in HABITUAL READINESS in walking the derech or way prescribed by Torah - it means always having emet (truth), tavnith (pattern), and ahavah (love) before one embedded in true emunah (faith). Secondly, it also contains the sense of FIRMESS and SOLIDITY that is required of the talmid (disciple) which the Good News gives to those who conscientiously believe its Teachings or Torah. Thirdly, it contains the sense of possessing those VIRTUES and GRACES which in the first planting of Christianity were indispensibly necessary to those who published it and which remain indispensible to those of us who continue to publish it today.
Rosh Chodesh, which comes tomorrow, is the day on which every believer receives his monthly instructions from our Heavenly Father. But what use would it be to receive this instruction if we did not have the ability to act upon it and, if necessary, disseminate it to those to whom we are commanded to go with it? If the feet are not shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, then what use are the instructions as being any more than a written message that is never delivered to its intended recipient, whether it be for us or for others?
The message from Yahweh to me for today is clear - literally PREPARE YOURSELF TO MOVE INTO ACTION when you get the message! Revelation is not for intellectual titillation but for practical execution. Be ready when you get your marching orders to march, and without delay, if you wish to not only share - but also retain - your shalom!
Rosh Chodesh Preparation Day therefore turns out to be a most important day of preparation after all - it is to give us time to get our battle armour on so that we are ready to move out at a moment's notice. And once we have so done, we are to always be ready to move out on any day and at any time. Putting on armour takes work and some who are lazy may be inclined to leave it off for ease of momvent and more comfort, but this is a luxury we can ill-afford in this mortal sphere of life.
Get yourselves shod, therefore, and ready to move out at Yahweh's Rosh Chodesh command!