Today, July 11, 2017, also the 17th of Tammuz, 5777, God brought me to tears. Good ones. He has been speaking in numbers quite a bit recently. It is quite often that I will happen glance at the clock at 1:11. Or 2:22. Or precisely 3:33. Or 4:44. This has been happening for years. I love it. It’s like a kiss from heaven. Today was unique, though.
Not only are the numbers on the Gregorian calendar interesting (7-11-17), but it’s the 17th of Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar. The day when Moses came down from Sinai and broke the 10 Commandments due to the idolatry of the people. The day the Talmud says that the priests stopped sacrificing sheep because there were none left. And one year later on the same day Nebuchadnezzar breached the walls of Jerusalem in 586 BC. It is a day marked by dire consequences for sin. Jewish people all over the world take note of this day by beginning a three-week fast. At the end of the three weeks is Tisha B’Av, or the 9th of Av, another day of infamy in Jewish history.
I was returning to my neck of the woods from bringing my son to a movie play-date with a friend and his family. As I headed north on the freeway, a Mustang almost hit me when its driver cut me off to get around a slower minivan. I know people cut people off all the time on the freeway, but this was waaaay too close for comfort. My heart jumped into my throat as adrenaline raced through my legs and arms. Deep breaths. Wow. Thank You, Jesus. You are my protector.
I have learned. Behavior like that used to really bother me. I used to get red-faced and mad. With exciting hand gestures. But I have learned. Out loud, so that EVERYONE can hear me, I pray, “Father, I release and forgive the person in that car who cut me off and almost hit me. I forgive them completely and release them to You, God. I ask that You would bless them. And I ask for Justice. Your throne rests on righteousness and justice, God. So I know justice is there for me. I ask that your Justice be full and swift, and dripping with mercy. Let that person and their entire household come to full salvation in the Name Above All Names! The Name of Jesus Christ!!” And I continue down the road.
I had my grocery list with me, so I decided to get some chores done while I had time. I usually go to a few different stores while doing my grocery shopping. I finished up at my first store and was logging my receipt in my checkbook app when my eyes were drawn to the total. I spent $67.76 exactly. Inverse numbers. “That’s interesting,” I thought to myself. And I drove to store #2.
Now, many times while I am perusing the aisles at store #2, Holy Spirit will highlight a person. And yes, I am one of those people who will walk up to a complete stranger in the produce section, strike up a conversation and ask if I can pray for them. But today, nobody jumped out at me, so to speak. I paid for my groceries.
“Lord, how come You didn’t show me anyone to pray for?” I had to squint in the summer sun.
His response was immediate. Like He was right there next to me. “I just wanted to be with you today. I like to be with you.”
Blubbery tears in the middle of the parking lot. The breeze temporarily blew the heat away from the blacktop.
“I love you Jesus. You even gave me a parking spot under a tree!”
He just smiles. I’m squinting through joy-tears, pulling the cart. I don’t really know what to say. Stunned that the King of Kings just told me likes to hang with me. This shouldn’t stun me, but I still get overwhelmed in His Presence, wrecked by His goodness.
I put my groceries in the trunk, the cart in the bin and ease into the car to log my receipt. NO FREAKING WAY. I start crying again. This time, the receipt is $76.67. The same two numbers, same inverse pattern, but different beginning numbers. What. Is. This. I open up my iPad to log the receipt in my checkbook app. It’s 5:55. Exactly.
Snot. Tears. Grace. Grace. Grace.
13 = rebellion, lawlessness
I consider that The Lord has creatively answered my prayer already. I have had a run-in with rebellion and lawlessness on the freeway, and have been given grace upon grace upon grace to deal with it like a king and a priest.
And then I look up some Scripture in the NIV. I think my eyes are about to bug out of my head.
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—
2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
3 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
6 The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
7 May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of Asaph. A song.
1 God is renowned in Judah;
in Israel his name is great.
2 His tent is in Salem,
his dwelling place in Zion.
3 There he broke the flashing arrows,
the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.
4 You are radiant with light,
more majestic than mountains rich with game.
5 The valiant lie plundered,
they sleep their last sleep;
not one of the warriors
can lift his hands.
6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob,
both horse and chariot lie still.
7 It is you alone who are to be feared.
Who can stand before you when you are angry?
8 From heaven you pronounced judgment,
and the land feared and was quiet—
9 when you, God, rose up to judge,
to save all the afflicted of the land.
10 Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise,
and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.
11 Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them;
let all the neighboring lands
bring gifts to the One to be feared.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers;
he is feared by the kings of the earth.
This is one of those moments when the spirit of the Awe of The Lord moves. And I press my face into the ground and worship Him. Praise You, God! You are radiant with Light! More majestic than mountains!