Friday, March 22, 2019

To God's House

As Israel prepared to leave Egypt, the Lord sent the people to their own homes for the celebration of the first Passover. They were to slaughter the sacrifice for their own family, paint the blood over their own doors, eat at their own tables, and be prepared to walk out of their homes one last time - sandals on their feet and bags slung over their shoulders. And then they are told that they will celebrate this event, this Passover, every year for the rest of their lives, remembering what it is that the Lord did for them when they were slaves in Egypt.

Now, in Deuteronomy, as they stand on the edge of the Promised Land, Moses reminds them about this celebration that they must hold every year. He reminds them that they are to sacrifice and feast every year in honor of what God has done for them to deliver them to this good land in which they are about to live. 

But in Canaan, the Passover has changed.

No longer are the people to slaughter their own sacrifices. No longer are they to eat them at their own table. Rather, God says, the people will come to the Tabernacle, and then to the Temple, and they will celebrate the Passover there - together as a people. 

In other words, a feast that was instituted in every home in Israel now takes place only at the Lord's home in Israel. It's moved from your house to God's house. From your table to His table. Instead of painting your doors so that He will pass them by, now you come to His and enter in. 

And this is the kind of thing that God is always doing, which is why we have to pay great attention here. 

See, God comes to us where we are. That's always been the case, and we know it no better than in the example of Jesus, who came in flesh and lived among us. God's all about getting you where you are and giving you these beautiful, wonderful, holy opportunities to engage Him in the place where you live. 

But He doesn't want you to stay there. He doesn't want you to be isolated in your own place, doing your own thing, even if it's the same thing that everyone else is doing in their own place. He wants you as part of His community, as part of His people, and that means that eventually, you have to leave your place and come to His. You have to leave your house and come to His. You have to stop being your own family and start being part of His. 

Because we've always been a people. Even in a day and age where we're told that faith is a private matter, that God loves you individually, that your devotion is a matter of personal choice, etc. etc., we're still a people; we're still a community. We're God's people; we're His community. 

And that means we have to do stuff together.

That's why it's important to find a church and be a part of it. That's why you need a small group. That's why it's not enough to read your Bible every day, but instead, you're better off reading it with others who are reading it. Discussing it. Learning it. Loving it. Celebrating it. It's why we break bread together when we meet - because we are a people of one feast. Communion just misses something if you take a swig of grape juice out of your own fridge; it's not the same. 

So if you're one of those who says you're "spiritual, but not religious" or that you "love Jesus, but not His church" or that you're "a Christian, but don't need all that formal stuff," you're wrong. That's not how God designed it. Maybe at first, maybe that's how He gets you, but it's not where He wants you to stay. It's not His plan.

His plan is that we'd all come out of our houses and enter into His. That we'd leave our own places for somewhere holy. That instead of slaughtering our own Lamb, we'd come to the One prepared for us...and feast together. Worship together. Live together. Celebrate together. 

So let's do it...together. For His glory. 

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