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The Fifth Month

Introduction: Ab is the Jewish name for the fifth month in the religious calendar and the eleventh month of the civil calendar. This non-biblical name began to be used during the Babylonian captivity. The Bible simply calls this month the “fifth month.” This designation is found ten times in the Bible. The month of Ab begins with the new moon of August and always has thirty days. Agriculturally, the month of Ab is known in Israel as the time for the ripening of grapes, figs, and olives.

In this message, the fifth month is symbolic of those times of your life you think of as evil: the bad year, the dreaded month or time of year, or, as the Bible states, “the evil day” (Amos 6:3). The young are warned to serve God now “while the evil days come not” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). The believer is to redeem the time “because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Perhaps you are in an evil time of life or dread a particular time of year because of past experiences. Perhaps you need to learn the lesson of the fifth month.

    1. Aaron died on Mount Hor on the first day of the fifth month in 1423BC [Reese] (Numbers 33:38)
    2. The false prophet Hananiah prophesied the defeat of Babylon and was rebuked by Jeremiah in the fifth month in 594BC [Reese] (Jeremiah 28:1).
    3. Ezekiel prophesied of the coming judgment of God on Israel and the mercy to follow on the tenth day of the fifth month in 591 BC [Reese] (Ezekiel 20:1). This chapter closes with a prophecy of fire on the land.
    4. The Babylonian general Nebuzaradan burned Jerusalem on the seventh day of the fifth month in 586BC [Reese] (2 Kings 25:8-9).
    5. Jerusalem was carried away captive in the fifth month (Jeremiah 1:3). This occurred on the tenth day of the fifth month in 586BC [Reese] after the destruction of Jerusalem by fire (Jeremiah 52:12-16).
    6. Zechariah was asked as to the propriety of continuing the fast of the fifth month in 519BC [Reese] (Zechariah 7:3-5). The fast was established to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem, but now Jerusalem was being restored.
    7. Ezra arrived at Jerusalem from Babylon on the first day of the fifth month in 458BC [Reese] (Ezra 7:8-9).
    1. Even in Judgment, there is Restraint (Ezekiel 20:33-44); there is mercy (Psalm 130:7)
    2. Even in Sorrow, there is Promise (Zechariah 8:1-5, 11-15, 18-19); joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5)
    3. Even in Disaster, there is Providence (Ezra 7:6, 10); all things working together for good (Romans 8:28)

Conclusion: Mother Hen Teaches Us to Wait on God – A. W. Tozer told this story from his youth: “I’ve often wondered how a hen must feel about sitting for three weeks on an egg. My mother always put thirteen eggs under a hen and the old girl would sit right there. She might take a little coffee break once in awhile, but back she’d come again to the nest. For the first week, it was a novelty. Two weeks of it she might endure, but that last week must have been torture—just sitting there with nothing happening.

“Then about noon of the twenty-first day, the first little experimental peep is heard under her wings. And she smiles as only a hen can smile and says, ‘Thank God, they’re here.’ After that it is just a question of time. One after the other, the chicks peck themselves out of their shells. I used to get down on my hands and knees as a boy and watch them pecking themselves out. They’re messy when they first appear, but give them about ten minutes in the sunshine and they’re as fluffy as can be, and lovely to look at. But they only come after twenty-one long days of waiting.

“God sometimes makes us wait. He made the disciples wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4) and He may make you wait. But remember, God is faithful who called you, and He also will do it [1 Thessalonians 5:24].” –from The Attributes of God: Volume Two by A. W. Tozer (p. 178-179).