Scripture: verse 16
So don’t let anyone pass judgment on you in connection with eating and drinking, or in regard to a Jewish festival or Rosh-Hodesh or Shabbat.
Observation: “So” implies that the previous passage laid the groundwork and gave the reasoning for this statement. The previous passage is about how Yeshua triumphed over earthly authorities and wiped away our bill of debt and freed us from sin.
Therefore, because you have been freed from sin and bondage to human tradition, don’t let humans pass judgement on you. (And, one would assume, don’t pass judgement on others.)
This doesn’t say that the traditions around these holidays are bad. They aren’t, and God calls some people to follow them at various times and for various reasons. But that’s between you and God and maybe your family.
How others worship is not my business. I do like to ask, because it’s really cool to learn about all the different things God has us do and how we’re all designed differently, but it isn’t my place to say someone is doing it wrong. It never has been.
Application: Don’t judge others for things that aren’t clearly sinful. We all do life a little differently. That’s cause for celebration, not criticism.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for being flexible, for meeting me where I am and with what I need instead of demanding that I conform to some model that I can’t fit. Help me to celebrate with other people and not be a stumbling block (Rom 14:13) to them. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 8
Human tradition…accords with the elemental spirits of the world but does not accord with the Messiah.
Observation: For a while I read the blog at MMSL, because I thought he had some interesting thoughts about relationships and the monogamous sexual dynamic. I really like some of his ideas, but I eventually found it distasteful (though, I must admit, not necessarily false) that he assumes that the only real motivations we have are sex and fear.
These are the elemental spirits of the world. The need to survive, the need to leave a legacy and a family and know that we will not be entirely forgotten. The need to be loved and accepted by others. The need to be safe from the unknowns of the universe. Sex and fear.
And so we have human tradition and human culture, which stems from these things. And they create some amazing and wonderful things: family, and music, and law. There is truth and love and light mixed in with the darkness. But they still have that unspoken agreement with the fears that drive us as humans.
And then there’s Messiah. Who brings us life, and life abundantly (John 10:10). Who says that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut 31:6). Who promises that in all these things we will be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). Who gives us perfect love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
We don’t have to be afraid anymore.
I’m not saying we should reject all of human tradition. That would be impractical as well as unnecessary. But human tradition shouldn’t rule us, because parts of it no longer make sense. If we are in Messiah, we don’t have to be afraid. And if we aren’t afraid, we are free to choose what will bless us and those around us.
Application: Watch out for that fear. It doesn’t accomplish anything good. Ask God for guidance as you decide how to live.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for removing my fear. Thank you for shedding light into the darkness. Help me to choose to live in the light. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 41
You are to observe the feast to Adonai; it is a permanent regulation, generation after generation…
Observation: My family tends to be big on traditions. My mom is really good at instituting them, in part because she found that one big Tradition was usually less work than trying to figure out multiple smaller iterations. And I like traditions. Well, I like the traditions we make up. I tend to get cranky about traditions that come from outside our immediate family. *Those* are the boring kind 🙂
But traditions change and shift over time, adapting to new people and new circumstances. And that’s why God didn’t create traditions. He created regulations.
God doesn’t change over time. He’s outside of it. And He doesn’t shift for new people and new circumstances. He’s far too big for that.
So when He creates a feast meant to remind us about who He is, He doesn’t leave it to the flux and flow of tradition. He requires it, as a permanent thing.
God is who He is, no matter who or where you are. He is still the God who saves us, who leads us through every trouble and rejoices with us in every victory. He still knows where you are and what you need.
Generation to generation, God has protected and nurtured and redeemed us. And generation to generation, we remember who He is and worship Him for it.
Application: Don’t get caught up in traditions, which can change and should change. Spend time with God, who is unchanging.
Prayer: Father, thank you for providing a solid rock for us to build our lives on. Help me to keep going back to you when I need help seeing. Amen.