View from the Pew – Traditions

What did you learn from last week’s sermon?

Q1: What tradition was Nehemiah guiding the people to celebrate?

Q2: How many years had it been since the people had celebrated the Feast of Tabernacle?

Q3: Were women in on the decisions made about the feast?

Q4: Why did the people decide to live in tree-branch huts for a week instead of their nice cozy homes?

Q5: Who is the scribe that is leading the decision-making about the feast?

Q6: Do we celebrate the Feast of Booths with our palm branches on Palm Sunday?

Q7: Do Christians have liberty in their traditions, or do we have to do it a certain way?

Soul Questions:

  1. Am I a great TRADITION KEEPER and a frequent BIBLE IGNORER?
  2. Do the traditions I observe point to God or something else?

Sermon Summary & Answers

It is providential that we looked at the Israelites and their traditions last Sunday as we approach our highest holy days (“holi-days”), Palm Sunday next week, and then Easter the following Sunday. Our pastor eluded to starting some new traditions at GCC surrounding Passion Week and Easter to heighten our remembrance of what it is all about, Jesus. Traditions should always point to the reality of God’s grace and to bring glory to Him. So, let’s all be in prayer for the elders’ efforts and help out in any way we can.

Jesus repeatedly chastised the Jews for burdening the peoples’ lives and consciences with man-made rules/traditions for holiness. (Mark 7:1-2, 7:3-4, 7:5-7).

Mark 7:8-9
“Neglecting the commandment of God, you (Jews) hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”

“I think this is proper: use traditions to point to Christ, to point to God’s grace – – to be sure all the glory shines on Him.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Good ole’ Nehemiah knew it was his job to re-start the Jewish traditions properly among Jerusalem’s people. It had been over 1000 years since they had adequately celebrated The Feast of Booths prescribed in Leviticus 23, and Nehemiah intended for them to get it right. So, in proper church order (as God has done since Moses and further into the New Testament), he gathered the men together and made decisions.

He sent all of the people out into the wilderness to gather branches to make literal huts to live in for the festival week. They were celebrating what God had done for the Israelites coming out of Egypt. At that time, the early Israelites had lived for four decades in the wilderness in makeshift huts. God showed Himself to be their deliverer, sustainer, and provider.

Nehemiah 8:18
He [Nehemiah] read from the book of the law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day, there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance.

When Christians celebrate any tradition, we have the liberty to observe however we like to. However, the Glory of God should be what we are ultimately pointing to in our celebrations. We are the people of God, and yes, that makes us different…possibly weird, but good-weird. Ask me about my family’s “Melissmas” sometime.

Melissa Strautman

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  1. The Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacle
  2. Over 1000 years
  3. No
  4. Because it was a remembrance of God freeing them from Egypt.
  5. Ezra
  6. No, the palm branches on Palm Sunday refer to the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, an event that took place the week before the Lord’s death and resurrection.
  7. We have liberty. Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”