Lately we have been discussing the origins of certain holidays (see February 12-14 blogs), and it can be confusing trying to fully understand what God requires of us for annual celebrations (which ones to celebrate or not and how). We MUST remember while we are yearning for understanding and truth, to remain in God's rest. That means:
1. We can't get impatient to figure it all out or try to force any of the pieces.
2. In our zeal for celebrating God's traditions, we "shant" (cool word, huh?) foolishly add the toil, bondage, and more man-made traditions to His appointed times (feasts).
It can be so freeing to learn Biblical truths about certain holidays in light of the stress, confusion, and chaos that our traditional holidays bring into our lives. Many of us feel torn during holiday traditions—believing we should strive to keep the "Christian meaning" while exhausted and spent (in every way) by the worldly traditions and compulsion of it all. It was easy to see how a person could feel guilty (for not having our hearts into them), tired, and obligated by these traditions instead of joyful and worshipful!
God's true Festivals were incredibly joyous occasions because they were truly about HIM, not man made traditions and wishful thinking. As we learn what it means to celebrate God's way, we have to be careful not to pick up a bunch of toilsome, tiresome ideas of our own. We need to keep it all about resting in Him, feasting on Him. Then I believe we will experience the true JOY and FREEDOM that He intended. Now I understand that the reason we were so tired and burned out on those holidays is because God never established them. His ways should bring us joy, peace, and energy.
So, let us rest, and enjoy this journey, not picking up a yoke of bondage that God does not intend for us. Let us slowly and carefully piece the picture together until our understanding and joy is complete!
40:36-37 Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. But if the cloud did not rise, they remained where they were until it lifted. I have times in my life when God is moving me about in adventureville, and I am following the Wild Goose, as Mark Batterson lays out in his book about following the lead of the Spirit, "Wild Goose Chase." But then there are those other times when I feel sort of stuck and want to get a move on (sometimes creating problems for myself out of impatience). Of course, there is the other extreme, those times I LIKE staying in camp when the Spirit moves, because I'm not ready to move out of my comfort zone. The key is, following the Spirit's lead, not my own fickle nature.
1:1-3 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written: "Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord's coming! Clear the road for him!'" Don't you love to see the fulfillment of these major specific prophecies?
1:9 One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. Notice in verse 16, right after Jesus came out from the Jordan and after His 40 days of testing, He began to select His 12 disciples. Did anything like this ever happen (foreshadow) in the Old Testament? If you read Joshua 3:9-4:9, we see Joshua (the Old Testament version of Yeshua and another Christ-type), cross the Jordan River, bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land. As he crossed the Jordan, he picked 12 men to pick 12 stones out of the Jordan River, one for each of the tribes of Israel, and they made a memorial on the other side. He had them make another memorial of 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan. I believe these stones were symbolic of the 12 disciples that Yeshua would choose shortly after coming out of the Jordan someday much later. 12+12=24 elders? (previous lesson). Also, remember that the disciples were called the foundation stones of the Church, with Jesus as the chief cornerstone. Cool that He would actually use stones as a symbolic memorial!
Get in the habit of automatically mentally translating at least two words when you see them in the Old Testament. Law=Torah or teaching. Salvation=Yeshua. Can you find the Psalm today with Yeshua? On a personal note, I encountered a mortal enemy in my life for a long season, and I have to say, Psalms like this were life and comfort to me, knowing that someone understood how I felt and that it was okay to have these kinds of thoughts and express them in a safe place!
9:11-12 Love this proverb! Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
Question for reflection:
Do you ever have those times in your life when it seems God is on the move, taking you on a new unknown journey, and there are other times when your Tabernacle (YOU) is sitting in one spot for an undetermined amount of time? We need to get to the place where we are content in both times, on the move, or patiently awaiting the next part of the journey. Willing to move out of our comfort zone, and willing to sit quietly until the next transition.