The Feast, like this life, is temporary. God can provide meaning and permanence.
[Scott Delamater] About a week from now, I suspect that most of you will probably not be here. I know some of you will still be here, but a lot of you, a lot of us will be gone. We'll be off going to other places, ready to celebrate one of the most exciting times of the year, really, for us, really a joyful, amazing time. We'll be in far-flung or near-flung places maybe. It's going to be amazing. But what are you seeking from this feast? What are you seeking? What are you after? Are you after a full, rich, meaningful feast? Is that what you're after? Is that your goal? It might not be the right goal. It might not be the right goal, because as it turns out, the fullness that you want from the feast, that meaning, that fullness that you want is actually a side effect of something else. It's a side effect that comes from something else that we're going to look at today.
There are a couple of things that we're supposed to learn from the feast ahead that I want to look at today. We're going to consider some of the Old Testament commands and observations about the feast. And it's interesting when you look at those because, early on, God really didn't reveal a lot to ancient Israel about what this feast pictures. There wasn't a lot that was revealed to them about the future, about what was ahead. Eventually, over time, the prophets talked more and more about that, and you see more of that and you get a sense of it. But, early on, the commands are actually very sparse in terms of what it is about the future. God when He gives these commands, He's primarily looking backwards. And so we want to look at some of these commands and we want to learn from them and see what it is that God wants us to go and seek at the feast, what it is that we ought to be after, because we want a meaningful feast.
And as you'll see, this meaning that we want out of a feast is actually a bit of a metaphor for life itself. We want a meaningful life. So, we're going to learn a little bit about that today. Let's go over to Leviticus 23:42-43. Or it's up here for those of you in the room.
Leviticus 23:42-43 Says, “You shall live in booths for seven days. All that are citizens in Israel shall live in booths so that your generations may know.” Here's what he's telling them. He says, “This is what I want you to get out of this, so you may know that I made the people of Israel live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord, your God.”
He's pointing them backwards and saying, “Look at what I did before and remember what I did. I made them dwell in booths.” You say, “Well, what's a booth?” If you've been around a few years, you've probably heard about booths and you know a little bit about booths, right? They're sort of this temporary thing.
I took my son backpacking not too long ago, and we had a little booth there that we took with us. That's not exactly the kind of booth that the Israelites had when they were traveling through ancient Egypt but is the same kind of thing. A booth is a thing that you can take with you on a trip. It's a shelter that you can live in, that you can dwell in temporarily while you're on your way to some greater destination. That's what a booth is. And God wanted Israel to remember that He had made them live in these temporary things so that they could look forward to a more fulfilling thing, a more permanent thing, a greater thing. But the reminder was, this is temporary. These booths are temporary. Our lives are temporary. All of this here, all of this physical creation is temporary, right? And so, just as they were pilgrims, intense, looking for a promised land, a promised kingdom, that's the lesson for us. We too. Even as settled as we can be in our homes with our nice, sturdy foundations and solid walls, we're also really pilgrims, in tents in something temporary, looking toward a future, looking forward to a promised land.
And so one of the great lessons of the Feast of Tabernacles that God wanted them to draw out here was that life itself is temporary and fleeting. Life's temporary. Have you ever been to a feast and had somebody tell you in the middle of the feast, “Wow, this feast is just dragging on?” Or you get to the end of the feast and have somebody say, “Wow, I can't believe how long these eight days have felt.” I've never had that happen. I've never heard those words. Usually, we get to day four, five, six, and we go, “Wait a second, what happened? Where'd it go?” Day eight rolls around, you think, “Wait, we're done?” It's fleeting and temporary, and it goes fast and it disappears. And that's not a bad thing. That's very instructive for us. We're temporary, we're tense, we're in transition. That's lesson one
Here's lesson two. We read this earlier. Lesson two.
Deuteronomy 14:23 “In the presence of the Lord your God, in the place that He will choose as a dwelling for His name, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, your wine, and your oil, as well as the firstlings of your herd and flocks so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.”
Moses is commanding them before they go into the promised land, before they go into this more permanent place. He says, “Eventually, God is going to place His name somewhere.” That place ended up being Jerusalem. But he said God's going to place His name somewhere and you're going to travel there for these feasts that you observe. And you're going to take these tithes with you, and you're going to do that so that you can go there and you can learn to fear Him. So, you can learn to fear Him. That's why He set them up, so we could come there and we can learn to fear the Lord our God. That's what His feasts are ultimately about. They're designed to instruct in fear. But when we say fear, we kind of think, “Oh, we got to go learn to be afraid of God, right?” We know there's a deeper and a bigger meaning to that, and it's something I like to call Grand Canyon fear.
If you've ever been to the Grand Canyon, you walk up to the edge of this canyon and it's just incredible, right? You're awe-struck. It's one of the things in the world that if you ever have a chance to go see, go see. Because you'll walk up to it and you'll think, “Wow.” And those are all the words you're going to have for it. You're just going to be in awe of this amazing thing. There is a little bit of afraid there. My kids were afraid of the Grand Canyon for several years because they thought that it was very likely that they were just going to fall off of a cliff. And we said, “No, no. There are rails and there are guards, and you're not going to fall off. People do. But generally, of the many people that visit there, right, they're very safe. Only a few people fall in every year.”
But there is that element, right, of being afraid. You don't want to test it. You don't want to go to the Grand Canyon and test the Grand Canyon and say, “Well, let's see how amazing you really are. Let's see how deep this canyon really goes.” You don't want to test the Grand Canyon, but you have an awe of the Grand Canyon. And that sort of gets to the kind of fear that we want to have of God. We want to have an awe of God, a reverence of God, of His way, of His plan, of His commandments, of what He's doing because what He's doing is incredible. And so we have this opportunity at the feast to participate in that. So, we talked about these two scriptures, and one of them talks about the fleeting, temporary nature of things, of life, and we talked about fearing God.
And so when you think about a treatise on the temporary nature of life and the importance of fearing God, you have to go to the Book of Ecclesiastes. So, we're going to look at the Book of Ecclesiastes today because Ecclesiastes teaches us a lot about the Feast of Tabernacles. Now, you've probably read some of the Book of Ecclesiastes, and I'm going to assume that everybody is a little bit familiar with Book of Ecclesiastes and that you've heard that phrase, “vanity of vanities all is vanity, right, that things are meaningless or vapor.” And what he's talking about there is really, yes, things are temporary and transitional. And if you know the end of Ecclesiastes, you know the whole duty of man. We'll just go right there, Ecclesiastes 12:13. We'll jump to the end.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.” Here, he's summing up the book in a very beautiful kind of way. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.”
Fear God and keep his commandments is what we're instructed. Now, there are people that think that Solomon didn't write this last chapter, right? We know from other places in the Bible, we know that Solomon didn't really have a good end, it seems. And so people say, “Well, Solomon couldn't have possibly come to this kind of conclusion.” This was even too good for Solomon. This must have been added later. This must have been something else. But I don't think that's true, because if you look through the book of Ecclesiastes, this theme of fearing God and keeping His commandments is persistent. It's there four other times. This is the fifth time where he's summing it up and saying, “This is it. This is what's actually important.” But it's there four more times. So, I want to look at those four times. We want to look at those four verses today where Solomon talks about the fear of God, about how important it is. And I think we'll see that those four times are actually going to walk us through a nice steady progression that's going to help us understand the purpose of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Right. Let's go flip back in Ecclesiastes, because you're at the end there. Let's flip back to Ecclesiastes 3:14. Ecclesiastes 3:14. The lesson here, if we want to sum this up, is that God is forever. God is forever. He's eternal. That's the lesson that we're going to get in here.
Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I know that everything, that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it that men should fear before Him.”
He says God does these great and amazing things so that people will be in awe of what He is and of what He can do and of what He is doing. I want you to consider this, we have a lineup here. Let's consider this line, the history of the universe. Let's just hypothetically say that the history of the universe is about 14 billion years. We have a good article on ucg.org called “In Defense of an Ancient Universe.” Talks about how these sort of ancient measurements of the universe that we observe from light that's floating around out there, and electromagnetic radiation, these things aren't at odds with the Bible.
So, let's imagine, because we have a hard time imagining forever, right? Eternity, it's there. We'll see that, it's kind of there in our hearts, but we have a hard time imagining forever. So, let's just limit eternity down to 14 billion years for the moment, just for the sake of argument. Okay. So, in Genesis 1:1, we have the creation of the universe, right? In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Earth. And then at the other end of this line is right now, this moment. Genesis 1:26, God creates man. Somewhere there at verse 2, it looks like something went awry and the world became void without form. Something happened, right? Something bad happened. And God recreated and He created man. Where on this timeline do you think that happened? Just put it in your mind. Just imagine. Where did that happen? Are you ready? Here it is. There it is. It's actually right on top of right now because one pixel going the other way was too far. Was actually too far.
If Adam was created 6,000 years ago or so, it's right there. We go from Genesis 1:1, we go to the creation of Adam and we're right there. It's right on top of it. Just for the sake of imagination, how long ago did were the dinosaurs alive? Now put that on the timeline somewhere. Where were dinosaurs on this timeline in the history of the universe? Right there. They're right there. They're right on top of us almost. 65 million years is not a very long time in the grand scheme of what God has done. And so what's all the rest of this time? What's going on there? If you put it in different terms, for those of you that can't see the line here on the screen, let's say the span of the universe were one year or one year long from the time that God created the universe until right now, Adam would have been created about 13 and a half seconds from right now, 13 and a half seconds ago, 13 and a half seconds before the year ended. That's when Adam was made. So, what was going on the rest of the time? We don't know. We don't know. And in fact, Solomon talks about that.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts. Except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
We don't know. There's this whole amazing span of time where we just don't even know what happened. And it says that God does that so that we will fear Him so that we can learn to be in awe of what He is and in awe of what He is doing. We can also take a great deal of confidence in this. The UCG commentary on this verse says that Solomon is likely saying that when all is said and done, God's ordering of circumstances, even negative ones, leads to a beautiful work in the end. Leads to a beautiful work in the end. What this does is this, let us know that if God has a resume, He's got on there universal director 14 billion years of experience, and we're in His hands. Those are some pretty good hands to be in. We're in good hands. If we're worried about God being able to direct our lives or to direct things where they need to go. We can look back at an amazing expanse of history and recognize that God has been directing all of that to lead up to this moment, to these last few thousand years. And he's got it. That's how big and how powerful He is.
The Feast of Tabernacles gives us a fleeting glimpse, a little bit of a taste of eternity, of purpose, of meaning, of permanence. We get a little bit of that, but it's fleeting, because a year from now, we'll be back here again. We'll kind of be a little bit dazed from all of that, whatever the next year will bring. And we're going to need the Feast of Tabernacles again to refresh that in our minds and to remind us of that, because it's fleeting. It's just temporary. But for now, and while we're at the feast, when we get to go to the Feast, we need to recognize the eternal thing that we're a part of. We're a part of this plan. Whatever was going on in those 14 billion years, God's included us in that plan, and we get to be a part of it. We're included. God can work the temporary, the temporary things. He can work them toward an eternal purpose, and we get to be a part of that. So, we need to learn to fear God, to fear His permanence, to fear His power, right? And we'll find permanence, we'll find ourselves in that at some point. But it begins with fearing God, with learning to fear God for who He is, for what He has done, because it endures forever.
The second point, the second verse that we're going to look at here in Ecclesiastes follows on, it's sort of the flip side of that. If God is forever, then we are, I want to say momentary. We're not even temporary. We're sort of momentary. We're kind of a blip and then we're gone. Elsewhere Solomon describes our lives as being like a vapor. They're there and then they're gone. It's just a blip. Ecclesiastes 5:6, if you want to turn over there.
Ecclesiastes 5:6 Says, “Do not let your mouth lead you into sin and do not protest to the temple messenger, my vow was a mistake.”
So, sometimes what people would do, what he's getting at here is that people would go into the temple and make some grandiose vow. I'm going to do this great thing, some big overture, and I'm going to do this thing for God. I'm going to give of all of this, whatever it is. They would vow something. You might think of Jeptha, who vowed whatever it was that came out of his house, he was going to consecrate to God, ended up being his daughter. But he's saying, "Don't protest to the temple messenger when you say, oh, my vow is a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.
Therefore, fear God. This speaks to how we worship God. This speaks to how we come before God, which we get to do for eight days at this feast. We get to come before Him. The new American commentary says this, it says, “In context, these proverbs mean that fools seek to advance themselves before God with great vows and promises. Grand gestures, whatever it is that we have to offer are no substitute for a proper reverence and a proper fear of God.” Because what we have to offer is surprisingly little. When we think about that vast stretch of time that God has been doing whatever He has been doing, and again, even for all eternity, whatever God has been doing, what is it then that we can go to God and say, “I can offer this to God?” Surprisingly little. There's very little.
You might recall a story that Jesus Christ told about a couple of guys, that they went up to the temple and one of them said, “Thank you, God, that I'm not like other men and that you've made me to be so wonderful and not like that guy over there, that one in the corner, a detestable person, right?” And he fasted and he gave of all of his tithes, and he was a good pharisee. He really was. Is that how we approach God when we go to His feast? Do we approach God and think that we're going to bring something to Him that is going to be valuable and meaningful? And here, look at me. Look at what I can bring to you at this Feast of Tabernacles. UCG commentary on this says, “Instead of lofty imaginings about ourselves, we need to get real. For as Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, ‘The answer to vanity, or frustration, or fruitless, or worthless life is to fear God, to be in humble awe,’ that sort of Grand Canyon awe, ‘And properly concerned to not incur his disappointment and judgment, deeply motivated to follow what He says.’”
That needs to be our motivation. If you look back a little bit earlier in that chapter, Ecclesiastes 5:1, here's the solution. Here's the answer to how we need to approach God.
Ecclesiastes 5:1 Says, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools.”
It's describing that sacrifice of fools. If we go and we think that we are going to be something or bring something, ultimately what we're we're doing is we're making ourselves into something we're not. We're forgetting that lesson of tense. We're forgetting the fact that we are temporary. We're making ourselves into something big. But we're here just for a moment and we get to go learn. We get to go to God's feasts to hear. We get to guard our steps when we go there, make sure that they're walking the right way. We get to go and listen with open ears, to be taught, to be instructed so that we can be whatever it is that God wants us to be here in this very fleeting, temporary time. So, at this feast, we need to go to listen, not for grandeur, not to be, not to be heard, but recognizing that we are small and temporary and God is forever.
Okay, our third point that we want to look at, Ecclesiastes 7:16. If you turn over there. Ecclesiastes 7:16 talks about balance. We need to balance our lives in the fear of God. The fear of God is the thing that will give us balance, that will keep us from these two ditches that we're going to see described here.
Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 “Do not be over righteous, neither be over wise. Why destroy yourself? Do not be over wicked and do not be a fool. Why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.”
This is a little bit of a curious verse and I wrestled with this one when I was young thinking, “Well, don't be over-righteous or over-wise.” So, I guess I'll be an okay kind of person. I don't need to be like really good. And don't be over-wicked. Okay? So, I'll just be maybe a touch wicked every now and then. That's not what it's saying. It's not saying any of those things. It's not saying it's okay to sort of be mediocre and to just sort of dabble a little bit in being bad. This is talking about our reactions to the understanding that God is great and God is forever and that we are momentary. These two things are actually sort of these two ditches that we can fall into in terms of how we react to the reality that we are just a vapor. We're just a moment.
So, God is forever. We say, okay, great, that's a good lesson, let's move on. We learn. We say, okay, I'm momentary. Okay, this is good. What this verse is showing us is that there are two extremes here, right? Because we could say, "Well, I'm temporary." This whole thing is temporary. This is just a blip. It really doesn't matter what I do here. I can do whatever I want. I can be over wicked, I can be foolish. It just doesn't matter. This is hedonism at its worst. That's the one reaction. The other reaction, though, is kind of the same thing. It's a reaction to the fact that, Well, okay, I'm temporary. This is all fleeting. I need to leave my mark. I need to be important. I need to be something. My life has to matter because it is so short. And so we say, “Well, my life is going to matter. So, I'm going to be incredibly righteous. I'm going to be the most righteous one here. I'm going to be the wisest one here and I'm going to be amazing and people are going to respect me and think I'm wonderful. God's going to think I'm just awesome, right?”
It's really a reaction to sort of that temporary, ephemeral nature of life. And so these things, when you look at it, being over wicked fails on sort of the first lesson, right? Being over-wicked fails to recognize just how great an amazing God is. Being overrighteous fails on the second. And it fails to recognize how really temporary we are, how little we actually have to offer God. And that being over righteous, like that good pharisee. There's no value in that. In fact, that's another ditch. We want to keep that sort of center line there, that God-fearing line that keeps us right on that straight and narrow path out of the ditches.
UCG commentary again on this. Our commentary, by the way, is really quite good on the Book of Ecclesiastes. It was just released here recently and it's really quite rich in terms of its analysis of this book. But our commentary says, “It is the proper fear of God that will keep us from self-righteousness and from turning to evil.” Like these are the two extremes, self-righteousness and turning to evil. In both cases, preserving us from destruction. When you think about reasons, for example, that people leave God's Church, these are the two things, right? On the one hand, there are the people that leave because they say, “This doesn't really matter, it's not important, I'm just going to do whatever,” and they check out. And on the other hand, there are people who say, “I am too good for this place”, and they check out the other direction. And both paths lead to destruction. They're both dead ends, literal dead ends, right? It's that center path, that God-fearing path that is balanced, that leads to life.
We go to the feast, then we can take this lesson and we can understand we don't need to be overly righteous, right? We don't need to be so righteous at the feast that we can't enjoy good things, we can't appreciate good things, have fun, right? Can't say, “Well, I would rather just spend the whole time studying my Bible, thank you.” There's a time to study your Bible at the feast. We need to do that. But there's also a time at the feast to have fun, to enjoy, to not be overrighteous. We don't want to be over-wise and go and think, “Well, I'll see if these messages are useful and beneficial to me in my life.” We don't need to be overwise. We need to go and we need to listen, right? That was something we've talked about, we need to listen. We need to be able to learn whatever is being brought before us at the feast, be able to apply it in our lives. We can't be overly wicked and overly foolish when we go to the feast. We heard about this in the sermonette, right? We can't just say, “Well, whatever my heart desires,” and do whatever and spend your time, your money, all of those are fleeting. And spend those things at the feast on fleeting, and meaningless, and even harmful things. And we need to be able to go and enjoy, enjoy what is good, but in the proper fear of God. And it's the fear of God that balances that, that helps us to know which of these things are good, which of these things are extremes that I need to avoid.
The fear of God guides in that. We need to go and embrace that the feast and that life is fleeting. We need to focus on fearing God, and we can watch what happens then, right? This is really a good experiment. Go to the feast sometime and focus on these things that God wants us to focus on instead of the other things that we tend to want to focus on sometimes and just watch, just see how that feast turns out. All right. Our fourth point, our fourth scripture. Our fourth Scripture is Ecclesiastes 8:12.
Ecclesiastes 8:12 Says, “Though sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God because they stand in fear before Him. I know that it will be well with those who fear God.”
It's interesting here. This is an observation that Solomon is making, and he's not saying in this instance, “I see that it is well.” He's saying, “I know that it will be well.” This is something he's deeply convicted of. He knows what is on the horizon in that sense. He has a deep faith that it's going to be well for those who fear God. Sometimes it's not in this life. And he laments that several times in the book of Ecclesiastes where he talks about the fact that why is it that some live so long in doing wicked and others, they just have these real short lives. He says, “I know.” He's talking about a future. He's looking at the long-term. He's saying, “I know it will be well for those who fear God.” But it's also well in life. It's also well in this life.
There are some other sentiments that have the same idea built into them. There's a bunch of them. We're not going to go through all of them, right? We don't have time to go through all of them. But Deuteronomy 5:29 is a big one that jumps out. God says, this is God speaking.
Deuteronomy 5:29 He says, “If only they had such a mind as this to fear me, to keep all my commandments,” right? This is the whole duty of man that Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes 12, “To fear me and keep all my commandments so that it might go well with them and with their children forever.”
This is what God wants and He wants it to go well for us. Jesus Christ talked about this. He wanted us to have life and to have it more abundantly. He wants it to go well for us. He really does. We know that God wants us to have rich, meaningful lives. He wants us to have a rich, meaningful feast. But as we'll see, that's not quite the thing that we're pursuing here.
Deuteronomy 6:24 says this, “Then the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our lasting good, so as to keep us alive, to give us life.”
When we fear God, it's for our lasting good, not just our temporary good, but for our lasting good, to keep us alive.
Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 “But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will they prolong their days like a shadow because they do not stand in fear before God.” Now, this actually seems like it contrasts a little bit with verse 12. Verse 12 says, “Sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives.” And here in verse 13, it says, “It will not be well the wicked, neither will they prolong their days.”
Solomon confused? What's he saying? These are two different time periods that he's talking about. Verse 12, he's talking about a physical experience. He's talking about the physical time period. The wicked will do wicked and they might prolong their days. They might be able to eke out a little bit of a longer life somehow by doing evil. That happens. And we see that happen sometimes. But verse 13 is talking about eternal life. Neither will they prolong their days like a shadow. Their days are as a shadow. In that sense, their days are fleeting because it's just about this life. And as we've seen, this life is temporary, right? This is a tent. This life that we're living is going to disappear. Verse 13 is talking about God prolonging days past to this life, past whatever it is that this life brings, God will prolong days. Psalm 73:16, you can turn there or I can just read it to you, but Psalm 73:16, says, because the psalmist is lamenting this fact that sometimes these awful people live a long time. Why is that?
Psalms 73:16 Says, “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God and then I understood their final destiny.” Says, “I understood their end. I see that they're living this long life, but now I get it. I get what's beyond that, I see their final end and it's not going to go well for them.”
Ecclesiastes 8:15 Solomon says, “So, I commend the enjoyment of life because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.”
So, this is talking about a richness and a fullness, even in this life, even under the sun, says, “God will provide that.” And so when we're talking about it going well for us, this is what he's talking about. He says, “It's good to go and enjoy whatever it is that God has blessed us with.” Let's go over to Ecclesiastes 5, there's a related thought here.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor, this is the gift of God.”
If we get to go to this feast and we get to enjoy some amazing things, because we've worked throughout the year and we have some tithe that we've set aside and we're able to spend that and enjoy some amazing things, that's a gift from God is what it says. There are other verses in here that talk about, in life, if we're able to work and we're able to eat the fruit of our labors, that's a blessing from God. That's a gift from God, and that's what He gives to those who fear Him. When He says it will go well for you. That's what He means. He means you're going to be able to work and eat the fruit of your labor. Have you ever worked and not been able to eat the fruit of your labor? It's very frustrating. Have you ever planted a garden and then all that comes up is you got some nice plants out there, but there's no fruit on them? That's a little bit frustrating. Even more frustrating to maybe work hard on your job, labor diligently, and you still feel like you just have nothing. You can barely feed your family or you can barely keep up. It's very frustrating when we're not able to eat the fruits of our labor, those things happen. But he's telling us here that God wants to bless us. He wants it to go well with us. He wants us to be able to go and enjoy and eat the fruit of our labor. And so with the feast, even, we need to be able to go and enjoy and eat the fruit of our labor.
Ecclesiastes 5:20 Let's continue that, “He will not dwell unduly on the days of his life.” So, there are those who will lament the fact that, “Oh, this life is so short. What am I going to do? It's so fleeting. It's so temporary. I got to make my mark. I've got to do this, I've got to do that.” He saying, “He will not dwell unduly on the days of his life because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.”
It's really an amazing thing. God can keep you busy with the joy of your heart. That's the blessing from God. That's what it means for it to go well with us in this life. God doesn't just want to give us that fullness in this life. God wants us to have that fullness of joy for eternity. Jesus Christ talks about that and teaches us that. And that's the thing that we get to take part in. That's what these days help us to get a taste of and to picture is that fullness, that going well, right, for people for a thousand years, but ultimately then for all people in God's kingdom for it to go well with them because they feared God. All through the book of Ecclesiastes, meaning and fullness and things going well. These are a gift from God when we fear Him and when we keep His commandments.
All right. We're winding down. Kids perked up. So, we know that Ecclesiastes is about vanity, and we know it's about fearing God because we know that conclusion, right? We know that it says, “Fear God and keep His commandments.” This is a whole duty of man. That's what we're supposed to do. But it's also about joy. It's about joy. It's about meaning. It's about purpose, not as a pursuit, not as the thing that we're going to go to the feast to try to seek, right? Seek meaning, and purpose, and joy, and I'm going to get my hands on these things. Those aren't the pursuit. We're not pursuing happiness. That's a reward. That's the reward when we're pursuing God, when we're trying to grow in the fear of God. And keep His commandments and learn His way, then God adds those things to us.
These seven days plus one, they're designed to help us to learn to fear God because we are momentary. And as we grow in that fear, as we go and hear the lessons that we're taught, as we change our lives accordingly, that's what we're there to do, they'll become more full and more meaningful. The feast will become more full and more meaningful. Our lives will become more full and more meaningful. These seven days are almost a little bit of an indicator, a litmus test of your whole life, of how you're spending your life. When you go to the feast, are you focused on a destination? Because if you're focused on a destination, you will find a destination and it will be gone, just like that. Are we focused on the experiences that we're going to have there? Because if that's what we're focused on, we'll go and we'll have experiences and then they'll be gone. Is that what we're going to pursue? Are we just going to go and find meaning? I'm going to get the meaning. I'm going to get my hands about around fullness this feast. I'm going to make this a really full feast for me. This is what I want. But the harder you try to make your life, the harder you try to make the feast permanent, the more it just slips away, right, slips from your grasp.
But the fear of God, the fear of God in action, driving change in us, that's what leads to fullness and to joy and to eternity. So, I think that's kind of what Jesus Christ is really summing up here.
Matthew 6:33 Says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
These are the things that we're seeking. We're seeking God. He's basically saying, fear God and keep His commandments, right? That overlays nicely. Right on top of this seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. God's kingdom is that permanence. It's His plan. It's something amazing that He's doing. His righteousness, that's his commandments. That's our all right there. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things, the fullness, the meaning, the experiences, the joy, those will be added to you, is what He tells us here. Meaning is the addition. So, let's go to this feast seeking to grow in the fear, in the awe and the respect, the reverence of God and His ways, His commandments, and His plan. God will add the meaning.