Look out for One Another

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)

These are fairly well known words from the apostle Paul.  But what does this look like in reality, especially in the western culture’s motto of ‘me first’?

I’ll illustrate with an example.  My last post mentioned that I had to move.  I was so busy with all the moving that I wasn’t paying much attention to the upcoming “appointed times” of Yehovah (God’s feasts).  I knew they were approaching and looked forward to them, but I forgot some of the preparation, specifically some for the time of Tabernacles (which, according to the Jewish Calendar, is going on this very week).

One of the commands of Yah (short for of Yehovah – the LORD), is that we wave some particular tree branches before Him during this holiday.  One can, in most places, go out and find the required items.  I like to purchase them as a set, called a “lulav” in Judaism.  However, the evening before Tabernacles started I realized I had forgotten.

The next day a brother stopped by as he and his family where on their way to the synagogue.  He had a spare lulav that he wanted to give me.  He couldn’t stay as they were on their way to synagogue (I can’t get out much, so I wasn’t going), but he took the time and effort to bring me the lulav.  I must admit I don’t remember telling him that I forgot to get mine (not even sure I did).  All I can say is that this was a huge blessing that touched me deeply.  He put my interests before his at that time.

That is what God wants of us, and what Paul meant with the words he penned in Philippians.  It may cost a bit of time.  It may cost us a bit of money.  But when we notice a brother or sister that needs or can use something, and we can fill that need – do so!  I didn’t ‘need’ the lulav but that was an act of love I’ll probably never forget.

So, whether the act be large or small, expensive or free, meaningful or not in your eyes, bless a brother or sister with a ‘random act of kindness‘ to put Paul’s words in today’s lingo.  Not to be seen by others, but by your Father in heaven, and possibly by the recipient of the act.

Shalom,

  • Yosef

 

 

God’s Calendar: Tabernacles

Well, the Day of Atonement is gone.  I enjoyed the day – a day of complete rest without any of the usual activity, seeking God.  He did show me a couple things that have been sneaking into my life over the last year that need to be dealt with – that is one of the purposes of the day – so I am glad He showed me what He did.  If you observed the day, then I hope God met you also.

Next comes the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ or ‘Feast of Booths’.   It is a seven day feast!  And, in the words of scripture, the first day, and on the eighth day are to be days of “solemn rest.”

“…that you generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.  I am Yehovah (the LORD) your God.”  Leviticus 23:43 (ESV)

The days are to be joyous celebrations.  There are two commands associated with the days.  One is to build and live in ‘booths’ (though that is specifically for “native Israelites”, anyone can join in the fun!), and the other is to ‘wave’ some stuff before the Yehovah.

“And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before Yehovah (the LORD) your God seven days.”  Leviticus 23:40 (ESV)

In Jewish tradition, the “4 species” to wave are an etrog, palm branches, myrtle, and willow.  Those are great if you can get them.  Often used substitutes are a lemon, corn stalk leaves, olive leaves, and willow.

The point is that you have a chance to be in the center of God’s perfect will by grabbing these items, and waving them around before Yehovah (and dancing if you like – I do).  It’s fun in a group or even alone!

An interesting point about the feast of Tabernacles is that it is the one feast explicitly mentioned that will be observed in the millennium.

“Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, Yehovah (the LORD) of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths…” Zecharaia 14:16-17 (ESV)

So get a early start and enjoy the feast now!  It starts, according to the Jewish calendar, at sunset on Sunday, the 23rd of Sept., 2018, and ends at nightfall on Sunday the 30th.  The final day (Saturday night to Sunday night, the 29th and the 30th) is known as “Hoshannah Rabbah” (sort of translated to “the Great Salvation” or “the Great Praise”).  Click this link to see an opinion on this day.

This leaves Sunday, the 30th to Monday night as the ‘eighth day’ and another ‘solemn day of rest’.  In Judaism, the day after this is celebrated quite vigorously as this is the day that the yearly cycle of reading through the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible) ends and starts new.  Dancing and singing are part and parcel of the celebration!

Hope you join in the fun!

  • Yosef