We have need of a congruent set of touchstones to guide us, the deep roots, if you will. These roots must be grounded in the story of God’s heart for His people. But is there such a structure? What is the deep root system that we can draw from through the seasons of life in God’s Kingdom?
Clues to the identity of the deep roots of our faith and practice have come to me in the times of flow and blessing that my family and I have fitfully enjoyed over the years. Many times when God seemed to meet us, and there was a special flow in our worship and ministry, my wife and I would marvel at how the songs, words, and messages all went along with the seasonal emphasis in God’s ancient calendar. This brings us to one of the central scripture passages describing the work of the founding of the House of Prayer:
“And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve Him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship Him — all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to My covenant — these I will bring to My holy mountain and give them joy in My House of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a House of Prayer for all nations” Isaiah 56:6&7.
This passage indicates that foreigners will be brought to the House of Prayer, yes, yet they will be Gentiles who “bind themselves to the Lord”, who keep the Sabbath, and who hold fast to the covenant God made with His people Israel. We are these foreigners! This speaks clearly to me of you and I — Gentiles in this day being brought to the task of establishing the House of Prayer, and at the same time being drawn into the spirit and truth of all that God has set forth for His people throughout time.
At one point I was dissatisfied with santas and bunnies. Dionne was pregnant with our son, Jonah, and I was seeking God as to what kind of heritage I was to practice and hand down to my children. As I pressed into the presence of God with this issue, God told me, “It’s in the Book!” As I have searched “the Book” He has opened to me much depth of meaning in the celebrations He ordained for His people as “everlasting ordinances”. The seasons of God’s calendar revolve around seven commanded festivals. You can find them in Leviticus 23.
God Has Given His People a Heritage
These festivals are given to us by God so that we as God’s people can come into an understanding of the purposes of the Messiah – God’s people from before the time of Christ, God’s people in the First Century, and God’s people in these last days. The spring festivals, with the paschal lamb and their culmination in the festival of Pentecost, are a picture of the coming of Jesus as the suffering Messiah: The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. The fall festivals, beginning with the sudden blowing of the trumpet, and culminating in our dwelling with God and celebrating the Word, are a picture of the coming of Jesus as victor and king: the Bridegroom coming for His Bride, the Lion of Judah come to rule and reign. It is a revelation to many believers that God has given His people throughout history a heritage wherein, if we embrace it, our lives become a celebration of the Messiah Jesus — the lover of our souls!
I am not advocating the observance of a dead legalistic practice based in old Jewish law. I am offering a challenge from God to move more completely to a thoroughly Biblical structure for our corporate practice that draws meaning in God’s way, from His seasons of celebration and remembrance that He has set down for us. The facts are that God instituted His calendar, Jesus lived it, the apostles taught it, and Roman Christianity rejected it. The Biblical holidays are not necessarily Jewish in an ethnic sense, nor are they Christian in a religious sense; but they are divine in a Biblical sense and therefore eternal, universal, and given by God for the benefit of His people throughout time. What other structural root system, what other heritage has God given in His wisdom and love that may give form and meaning to our faith and practice? What better heritage could we claim, than the one God has ordained since before the beginning of time for the benefit of His people throughout all generations? Therefore, “Let us celebrate the feast…”
“The Deep Roots” is an excerpt from the book, The Establishment: the fallen tent of David and God’s end-time house of prayer by J. Scott Husted.