A Feast of Trumpets
"Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and OCCUPY the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors." Deuteronomy 8:1
Each year, the Jewish holiday, called Feast of Trumpets, lands in the beginning of fall. It marks the beginning of a New Year in the Jewish culture. Trumpets of ram's horns are blown, or people act as living trumpets shouting praise to God for the harvest. It also announces the coming 10 days of Awe, a time of repentance and an alignment with the Father. This period of time is like doing a reboot on your computer. If you don't do a complete reboot of your system, your computer will begin to lag and not function efficiently. The same goes for our bodies and spirits! We need a time to be pruned back so that when we grow more fruit will bloom.
The Trumpet Vine can be a beautiful addition to a landscape, with cascading trumpet shaped flowers, if it is well kept. If left on it's own, this vine can become a nuisance, and kill everything living around it. It can dominate and strangle anything in it's path. It takes great care by a knowledgeable gardener to prune it in the spring so more flowers will bloom later, and a constant pulling up of new shoots to keep it from spreading out too far.
God has been bringing up the Trumpet Vine to me, and the fact that these trumpet flowers bloom at the same time as the holiday of Feast of Trumpets. I've been asking the Lord to help me understand what he wants me to see, and He took me to Deuteronomy chapter 8.
When we obey all of God's commands (including what the Holy Spirit is saying to us today), then we will multiply (with beautiful blooms) and occupy (with a deeply rooted system) the land He has for us. He is our knowledgeable gardner! He knows us, our environment, and where we need to be pruned better than anyone! But we must yield to His shears and comply when he uproots some areas we tried to grow where we had no place being in the first place. We have to trust that He sees the bigger picture and knows how to make us the most abundant and useful.
"Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands."
Often when we read the word "commands", we think of the 10 commandments and believe that if we are honoring those, it's enough. But verse 3 goes on to say "Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." He tested us by allowing us to go hungry and seeing if we would gather only the amount of manna He said we needed. He also kept the people from knowing where they were and taught them to pack up and move whenever his cloud of presence lifted and moved. Obeying God's commands is not just memorizing a checklist of do's and don'ts. It means being so stripped of oneself that they only say what He leads them to say, eats what he shows them to eat, and goes where he leads them to go. That is the kind of obedience God calls us to. How many of us call ourselves followers of Jesus, but only follow when it's convenient to us? Or when it fits our agenda? It's only when we live a life completely abandoned to His will that we will then prosper and be blessed with the good things He has waiting for us. But even in that promise of blessing and fruitfulness, there is a warning!
"When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in (and when you have become wealthy)... be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt."
When we have become grown and are full of beautiful blooms, it's easy to start thinking we had something to do with it and forget to give God the praise. Yet "He is the one who gives us power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to our ancestors". (Romans 8:18)
So during this time of Feast of Trumpets, let the Trumpet Vine image come to mind. Are we submitted to the gardner's hand over our lives? Does our vine display a feast of our praises to Him for what He has done? Or have we grown out of His will and lost our beauty? Let this season be a time of Awe of our mighty God, and a time of repentance of the areas we have tried to manage on our own.