Being an Example

A 1902 bulb horn from a French antique car
Photo by Thesupermat

A man was driving carefully on a cloudy day which already had several large raindrops hitting his windshield.  It wasn’t just the weather that made him nervous, however, as he was being tailgated on the busy, potentially slick road.

Suddenly, the light turned yellow.  Rather than risk running the light, he did what he was supposed to do and stopped, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.  The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection.

She heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.  The officer ordered her to exit her car and then arrested her.  He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door.  She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, ‘I’m very sorry for this mistake.  You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him.’  I noticed the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bumper sticker, the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday-School’ bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk; so naturally … I assumed you had stolen the car.’

Yes, an old joke, but I do get a kick out of it.  However, I often wonder how someone must feel when caught speeding and then when the officer asks, “Where you going in such a hurry?”, and the answer is something like “The Feast of Tabernacles … It’s something like a church convention.”  I have to imagine the officer making an odd face as they make out the ticket.

Of course, it’s not the only thing to be aware of.  There is the issue of modesty at the Feast as well.

The real question is: Are we good examples to those in the world?

24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

Ro 2:24-25

We have to remember that God takes this seriously!  Don’t forget that God did not allow David and Bathsheba’s first son to survive because what David did would cause the Gentile rulers to blaspheme!

Opening night in Pigeon Forge, the speaker spoke about redeeming the time.  One passage in particular caught my attention:

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Col 4:5

Both passages that speak of “redeeming the time” talk about wisdom.  However, this on in particular talks about “them that are without” and using wisdom in dealing with them.  What better time for such advice than the Feast?

I say it to our shame that not everyone has always been wise when dealing with others or even when going to the Feast.  I still get chills at people referring to it as the “Feast of Booze”.  You can only imagine the spiritual condition of someone that is so cynical.  While it is true that we are to enjoy the good things in this life during the Feast, there still is a line that can be crossed into sin!

Remember when Israel complained of no meat?  God sent them quail beyond measure.  Yet, He still struck some of them dead.  When you read what happened, it become obvious that some were engaged in blatant gluttony.  They were literally gorging themselves!  They turned their blessing into sin.

And what of the nations that were watching?  I cannot imagine but they were scratching their heads thinking, “These are God’s people?”

I sincerely hope that people are not saying that about us this year.  Rather, I pray that Jesus can say of us:

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Mt 5:14


  1. John, I hope you are having a wonderful Feast. Yes, this issue of how we behave toward others is something quite a lot of people have missed. Speeding (and not obeying traffic laws) is an incredibly prevalent problem in the Church, even among the ministry. One minister I confronted on his reputation of speeding (and personal witness of it) told me that I shouldn’t have brought it up!

    Speeding might not seem like much of an issue to some, but it is an outward manifestation of an individual’s choice to choose whether certain laws apply to them or not, and a disregard of the idea of doing the right thing when noone is looking.

    Personally speaking, I like never worrying that I’m speeding when I see a policeman in my mirror… but I was quite a speeder in my younger years.

    I will bring up one thing that we all need to start learning with the Feast of Tabernacles: It is the Feast of TABERNACLES … or Booths, or Sukkot, etc. Let’s keep this word in mind — sukkah (the Hebrew word) is literally something that is TEMPORARY… something that can be built and taken down at a moment’s notice. It is not a permanent building built on a foundation, like a hotel/motel/condo.

    Biblically, tabernacles were structures built out of branches, wood, poles, cloth, skins, etc. I believe the best modern representation of them is a tent.

    God spoke that we were to DWELL in booths for seven days:

    “Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt:I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 23:42-43)

    I don’t think anyone can even remotely argue that Israel was staying in hotels/motels/condos when God “made the children of Israel to dwell in booths.” Note that the Hebrew word for “sat” in Nehemiah 8:17 is the EXACT same word here as “dwell” in this passage! We must be “dwelling” in the same way Israel dwelt in booths after coming out of Egypt.

    We must stop trying to re-define God’s Law to stay in temporary dwellings as “temporarily stay in a permanent dwelling.” It is wrong.

    • @Alex: You never cease to surprise me, but this time definitely not in a good way. Why only take it halfway? It looks a lot like cherry picking to me. Just prior to what you quoted, it says:

      40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.”

  2. I believe the last part of the verse you quoted says what to do with the branches. I am not cherry picking. Regardless, those that build booths from the branches very rarely DWELL in them, and that was my point. We are supposed to DWELL in temporary dwellings during the Feast of Tabernacles. Tent or booth built with branches, either is fine, I believe.

    • @Alex: Well, you may believe that, but you’re being inconsistent. You cannot insist that the only proper way is to dwell in a tent and ignore the rest of the command.

      Personally, I have no problem with the “temporary dwelling” definition, as that is pretty much what booths and tabernacles are, but I’ve long believed we miss out on something by not having a Sukka of branches and green boughs. There is a lesson in there that tends to get missed. One place I attended had one on the first day in the meeting hall, but I believe they had to take it down after a couple of days due to fire codes. Still, it is the only place I’ve been that had one.

      • John, I’m not being inconsistent. I simply don’t see how the branches in that verse MUST be related to the booth itself — remember, God said He made Israel dwell in booths when they came out of Egypt. Are you suggesting Israel lived in sukkah’s the entire time they were in the wilderness? They aren’t very … protected… from the elements, unlike a tent. This is why I believe tents are a much closer representation to what Israel stayed in during the wilderness, and it is the only definition given in the Law: God wants us to dwell in the booths for seven days, just like Israel had to dwell in booths. It is clearly supposed to be a physical reminder of exactly what physical Israel did, just like we’re physically supposed to remove leaven from our homes. Why do some people argue so much?

        I mean, you’re taking me to task for supposedly not being consistent and only going “half way” … and yet, you seem to be ignoring the lion’s share of the issue, which is that MOST people are NOT staying in temporary dwellings during the Feast of Tabernacles.

        This is the frequent tactic of many people when confronted with sin by someone else — first, they try to attack the person and suggest that even THEY aren’t doing it right — rather than admitting fault and trying to change and doing it with their whole heart. Are you doing this? I don’t know — I don’t know where you’re at for the Feast of Tabernacles, and I don’t know what kind of a dwelling you are staying in.

        Regardless, God’s commands are pretty clear here, and whether I have perfect understanding of the branches … or not … does not change the fact that hotels/motels/condos are NOT temporary dwellings in the BIBLICAL DEFINITION, and that is what I am addressing here. Is a tent the correct definition? Is a “booth” built from branches? I don’t know for sure on either one, but I know they are MUCH closer to what God intended than the typical hotel/motel/condo. Can you agree with that? Can you agree that we’re supposed to literally dwell — LIVE — in them for the duration of the Feast of TABERNACLES?

        • Alex wrote: “This is the frequent tactic of many people when confronted with sin by someone else — first, they try to attack the person and suggest that even THEY aren’t doing it right — rather than admitting fault and trying to change and doing it with their whole heart.”

          The Pharisees were pretty good about attacking Jesus for not following the law as they defined it when they themselves could not. Are you saying Jesus sinned for rebuking them? What did He rebuke them as, Alex?

          Seriously, I am tired of this. Your profile will now be set to await moderation first.

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