Practical Application of the Word of God
When we give instructions to somebody, we expect them to follow all the instructions, including all the steps we included, that we gave them.
Halfway, sort of, almost, or somewhat is not good enough. In fact, it’s simply not enough at all. They might as well have not done anything because the results we expected upon successful completion are nonexistent.
If we as humans expect this when we give instructions to others, do we think God, in Whose image we’re made, expects any less from us when He gives us instructions?
In a recent statement I read about why we observe the Feast of Tabernacles, this was given as a summation of the purpose for our observance: “The important thing is rejoicing before God as we observe these Holy Days.”
And this statement underscores one of the fundamental spiritual problems among the ekklesia today.
While this summation is not totally wrong, it is also not totally right. In fact, what is most egregious about it is that it leaves out what God says is the most important outcome that He expects from our observance of His Feast of Tabernacles.
I’ve included the entire section of scripture – Deuteronomy 14:22-26 – that the writer took a portion of as being important – in the graphic at the beginning of this post. Go back and read it carefully.
Among the definitions of the word “fear” used here are reverence, awe, and honor. How do we show these things to God? By obeying Him, living by every word that proceeds out of His mouth.
Obeying God doesn’t come naturally to us humans. In fact, we are, by nature, innately and openly hostile to God, to His laws, to His word.
So we have to learn to obey Him and it’s an ongoing process that continues throughout our physical lives. It’s not a one-and-done event (which is what drives me crazy when I hear people say they are converted, because it implies a past event, while what actually happens is that we are in the process of converting our entire physical lives – I believe having the wrong perspective on this by the word we choose can lead us down the wrong spiritual path entirely).
Learning to fear God is a multilayered, intense, and deep process that must be begun and built upon and reinforced with our continual education by God Himself.
So the next obvious question is how do we learn to fear God? How do we learn anything as humans?
We make mistakes. We learn from those mistakes. We correct those mistakes.
Then we continue that process with the goal of becoming experts in both knowledge and application.
The reality, then, is that the outcome that God expects of us from observing His Feast of Tabernacles is spiritual: growing in knowledge and application of His law, His word, His way of life.
Have you ever heard anyone say that out loud? I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to say the answer to that question is “no.”
Notice why the law was to be read every seven years: ““Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God.”
What do you hear instead about people’s excitement about “going to the Feast?” (Notice the difference even in the focus from God’s focus.)
You hear their excitement about the great accommodations. You hear their excitement about all the fun things they’re going to do. You hear their excitement about all the friends and family they’re going to meet up with.
It shouldn’t surprise us that this is what the tenor of the ekklesia is regarding God’s Feast of Tabernacles when this statement – “The important thing is rejoicing before God as we observe these Holy Days.” – is presented as what God’s Feast of Tabernacles is all about.
And what makes this statement even more disturbing on a spiritual level is that it is not given within the context of Deuteronomy 14:22-26 and it is misapplication of the scripture.
It’s so obvious and so straightforward in the context of the entire passage of Deuteronomy 14:22-26.
When we are doing what God tells us to do – from following the simple instructions in Deuteronomy 14:22-26 to obeying Him in all of His word – the inevitable result is that we will rejoice before Him.
When we’re not obeying Him, there is no reason to rejoice before Him. In fact, if we are spiritually alert and aware, we should be mourning and repenting before Him because we haven’t obeyed Him.
So within the context of Deuteronomy 14:22-26, we see that “that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always” leads to “you shall rejoice, you and your household.”
By leaving out the most important part of this equation in our relationship with God and how that is strengthened by fully following God’s instructions on how He expects us to observe His Feast of Tabernacles, the meaning is completely lost.
And that is, sadly, why God’s Feast of Tabernacles has become nothing more than a party-filled vacation at swanky resorts with lots of entertainment (locally and built in by the ekklesia itself – listen to the announcements of all the activities planned and note how much time they take up at each service) to play at for eight to ten days.
I hope that each member of the ekklesia will be stirred by God’s spirit and begin to awaken from the deception and the slumber and mourn and repent before God, by observing God’s Feast of Tabernacles and fully following His instructions instead of picking and choosing and ascribing our own meaning – to satisfy our own physical desires – to the God-breathed words of scripture.