What is Elul? Elul is a month on the Jewish calendar preceding the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These holidays are about repentance and right standing with the Holy God of Israel, and one doesn’t enter such a season lightly. Engaging well with the Lord on these matters requires preparation. That’s how Jewish people and Messianic Jews spend the Hebrew month of Elul.
Elul sits on the calendar between the time of year when Israel committed two of her great sins against the Lord (the golden calf and the 10 spies’ bad report) and the High Holy Days. It proves a fitting time of year to dedicate extra focus to self-examination, repentance and seeking right standing with God for the coming year. Some scholars believe this period overlapped with Yeshua’s 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. Jewish tradition holds that on Rosh Hashanah, God pronounces a judgment on each Jewish person for the coming year and, 10 days later, on Yom Kippur, He seals that judgment.
Elul is a month of intentional time reflecting on our lives with the Lord. As the days progress, our focus intensifies as we pray and ask God to reveal where we have fallen short of His laws and desires for our lives. We humble ourselves before Him in repentance, seek forgiveness and make amends with others as needed.
What is Repentance?
The Jewish tradition of repentance is called teshuvah, which means “returning.” Teshuvah includes three aspects: confession, regret and a commitment not to repeat the sin. As the Lord reveals our sins to us, we agree with Him that they are wrong, express genuine remorse and turn from them with a determination to forsake them in the future.
Along with taking stock of one’s life before the Lord, Elul traditions include blowing the shofar every morning (except on Shabbats) during the month. The shofar serves as a call to awaken the soul to repentance. Special prayers of repentance, called selichot, are recited during Elul. Another custom is to read Psalm 27 twice each day of the month and through the last day of the Feast of Sukkot, following Yom Kippur.
Preparing Your Heart for the New Year
As Messianic Jews who believe in Jesus, we understand that we have been sealed in the Holy Spirit. Still, reflection and repentance should be an ongoing part of our relationships with God. The time preceding the High Holidays is a perfect time to dedicate extra focus to assessing our lives before the Lord.
To help you participate in this season of prayerful searching, we’ve put together a list of Scriptures, one for each day of Elul, that you can meditate on, pray over and listen to the Lord regarding. We’ve alternated Scriptures centered on examination, sin and repentance with the verses of Psalm 27.
Daily Scriptures for Elul Meditations
A Jewish day begins and ends at sunset, so we’ve listed both Gregorian calendar dates that coincide with each Elul date of the Jewish calendar. For instance, Elul 1 begins at sunset on August 8 and ends at sundown on August 9.
Start your journey by praying to have an open heart, willing to hear what the Lord has to say to you. May you encounter Him more personally and intimately than ever before this Elul. May you discover afresh His love and forgiveness along with new mercies every day. And may you know His power to restore and revive you as you return to Him.
Elul 1, August 8/9, 2021 Psalm 85:8
Elul 2, August 9/10, 2021 Psalm 27:1
Elul 3, August 10/11, 2021 Psalm 139:23–24
Elul 4, August 11/12, 2021 Psalm 27:2
Elul 5, August 12/13, 2021 Psalm 38:18
Elul 6, August 13/14, 2021 Psalm 27:3
Elul 7, August 14/15, 2021 Psalm 51:10
Elul 8, August 15/16, 2021 Psalm 27:4
Elul 9, August 16/17, 2021 Psalm 19:12
Elul 10, August 17/18, 2021 Psalm 27:5
Elul 11, August 18/19, 2021 Isaiah 30:15
Elul 12, August 19/20, 2021 Psalm 27:6
Elul 13, August 20/21, 2021 Psalm 26:2
Elul 14, August 21/22, 2021 Psalm 27:7
Elul 15, August 22/23, 2021 Psalm 51:1–2
Elul 16, August 23/24, 2021 Psalm 27:8
Elul 17, August 24/25, 2021 Lamentations 3:40
Elul 18, August 25/26, 2021 Psalm 27:9
Elul 19, August 26/27, 2021 Psalm 119:59
Elul 20, August 27/28, 2021 Psalm 27:10
Elul 21, August 28/29, 2021 Psalm 86:11
Elul 22, August 29/30, 2021 Psalm 27:11
Elul 23, August 30/31, 2021 Psalm 51:1–2
Elul 24, Aug 31/Sept 1, 2021 Psalm 27:12
Elul 25, September 1/2, 2021 Psalm 25:11
Elul 26, September 2/3, 2021 Psalm 27:13
Elul 27, September 3/4, 2021 Matthew 3:8
Elul 28, September 4/5, 2021 Psalm 27:14
Elul 29, September 5/6, 2021 Psalm 32:5