GOD'S NEW CALENDAR FOR HIS PEOPLE'S POST-EGYPTIAN LIFE
As we approach the Fall Feasts of the LORD on this visit to Israel, we are impressed with the thorough preparation, during the month of Elul, for the High Holy Days, these concluding Feasts in Israel's year. We have taken up the tradition of reading Psalm 27 at least once a day, some read it morning and evening.
David's focus in this Psalm is that in the midst of enemy threat and attack, our heart's desire for security lies in our desire for intimacy with our God:
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
This desire for intimacy with God, our Creator, is built into us by Him.
When He had delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt, He gave them a whole new life; Egypt is behind them, and is to be left behind them regardless of the temptation to return to the "comforts" of their slavery. They are a chosen people, set apart from all other nations/peoples of the world for the purpose of being a Holy People through whom the Sovereign LORD would show His Character to the world. They would be a LIGHT to the Gentile nations so that these nations could see a model of Godliness, and chose to follow the same pattern; to live their lives according to the instruction book, THE TORAH, which, through His Prophet Moshe/Moses, He gave to them as their guide for LIFE.
In last week's Torah reading, Moshe challenged them to chose LIFE, not DEATH; but prophesied, already at the time of the challenge, that they would make wrong choices and suffer the consequences: they would be driven from their land into all the nations of the world, and their land, the land which God personally selected, both for them and as a place for His Holy Name to dwell on earth, would be laid waste, and would be desolate till He would bring them back to their land, for the sake of His Holy Name.
The pattern for their new life would revolve around the Feasts of the LORD, through which they would remain in contact with Him from the beginning of the year to its end.
We heard in last Sunday evening's sermon at the King of Kings Fellowship here in Jerusalem, the suggestion that we could think of the Feasts as God's "date nights" with His people. He desired intimacy with them, so He invited them to join Him in these feasts. This meant, for the people, that if they felt themselves to be far removed from their God and not able to experience intimacy with Him, they could be sure to come into that intimacy at the Feasts because the Presence would be there. God would not invite them to His Feast and not show up there Himself.
In my own search for understanding of these Feasts, this image has been instrumental in opening my eyes, and heart, to a whole new way of seeing the Feasts to be as significant for Christians as they are for Jews. Since the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob describes Himself as "the same yesterday, today and for ever", "the beginning and the end" and the Faithful One, and since we Christians belong to Him as adopted children, or grafted-in branches, we too are invited to His Feasts. Yeshua kept the Feasts and the early church did as well for many years. I'm thinking that we, as the church, might benefit by returning to the regular celebration of the Feasts of the LORD.
Grace has written, in her last blog, about the coincidence of our 50th anniversary celebration with the Feast of Yom T'ruach, or the feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashana, the Head of the Year. We had already realised, before we left home, that we would celebrate on the Hebrew New Year, but have since also learned that it is also the Feast of T'ruach.
Ruach, the Hebrew word for breath we had already understood as the same word we also translate "spirit"; so "the Holy Spirit of God" is "Ruach Kadosh"; our Creator breathed into us, thus making us "living souls". Finally, I understand that what we call the "Feast of Trumpets" is "Yom T'ruach". The trumpet, or Shofar, the ram's horn, needs ruach, breath, to sound. As we blow the Shofar, we give back to God what He has given to us, His breath.
When blowing the Shofar, it is important that the opening is pointing upward, toward God; the breath of God, which is our LIFE, should be given back to Him through the Shofar.
One of the reasons for blowing the Shofar is to Cry Out "Awake!"; to come to a state of Alertness.
Yom T'ruach begins the month of feasts that are the High Holy Days; and it is the first of the Feasts that remain unfulfilled through the life, death, resurrection and pouring out of the Holy Spirit of God, of Yeshua. We anticipate that since the essential spiritual meaning of the Spring Feasts was so precisely fulfilled in Yeshua, these remaining Fall Feasts also will be precisely fulfilled in their time. So we await the coming of Mashiach To fulfill them as well.
Grace and I are taking this Shofar blast as a call to Awaken to new intimacy with our God through the celebration of His Feasts as we celebrate our anniversary together with the Feasts.
The Feast of Trumpets alerts us to be ready for and anticipate the coming of Messiah; to live life in a state of sensitive awareness of God's Redemptive Plan as He unfolds it in the world He created, a world in which, as the Prophet Habakkuk predicts, "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea". We, as His people, have a role to play in radiating this "knowledge" wherever we may be.
Raphael Poch, one of ISRAEL365's writers, published a wonderful commentary of the Shofar's significance in a September 17th article, which I wish to use as my conclusion, even though you may have read it through Grace's last blog; you can access it at the link below: