OUR PHYSICAL LIFE VS OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE
The main lesson for the Feast of Tabernacles is that the Israelites lived in booths during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. This pictured the temporary state of our physical existence. It pictured how temporary their lives were, and for us today how temporary our physical life is. We should all know how fleeting life is.
Today, the 40 years of wandering, is a parallel with our spiritual walk from the time of our calling until we are changed to spirit.
The 7 days of the Feast is a parallel to our calling. This is a type of our long and difficult testing time, we are tried to see if we will obey God, just like the Israelites were tested.
Then the Last Great Day pictures us becoming permanent in the form of a spirit body.
Our beautiful change from this decaying sinning fleshy life to a beautiful spiritual son of God in His kingdom.
Today I would like us to ponder on how short our life here on earth really is.
If we are 50, 60 or 70 years old, we realise that we have lived the greater part of our life here on earth already, and our days on earth are numbered.
Perhaps we are young in our 20ís or 30ís and we think we have a long life in front of us.
Well perhaps we do, but we just do not know how long our lives will be, for some it may be very short indeed, cut off in a car accident or some other calamity.
If we have lost a loved one, perhaps a wife, husband, brother sister or perhaps even a child, we know just how short life can be.
If we have not really been touched by death of a close family member, then perhaps we do not really understand the shortness of life first hand. We cannot begin to understand the grief and loss that comes with death. Death is indeed the enemy.
The bible is full of statements telling us just how short our lives here on earth really are. God has not said that we will each have 100 years here on earth, then get up on our beds and sleep the sleep of death.
No not at all, for some they may reach 100 but for most it is between 60 and 80 years.
Life can be cut short by many ways, disease, accident, natural disasters, crime, sins of others and our own sins to name a few.
Notice the scriptures on the subject.
Jas 4:13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit";
Jas 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Of course in the early days of man, life was long.
Gen 5:5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.
No doubt in those days, it was necessary for man to live a long time so they could populate the earth.
Then God shortened the life expectancy of man to 120 years
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."
And today we are lucky to be 70 years old.
Psa 90:10 The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Psa 103:15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
Psa 103:16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.
If we look at the following account of Job, we see that God gave him sons and daughters after the original children he had, were killed.
For us today, we might think, well we would rather have the original children which were killed, I am sure that we would not like to see any of our children killed, however, God did give Job other children.
Do we put too much emphasis on the physical life instead of on the spiritual?
Job 42:13 He also had seven sons and three daughters.
Job 42:14 And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch.
Job 42:15 In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
Job 42:16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations.
Job 42:17 So Job died, old and full of days.
In this life we are concerned with the physical, because we are physical beings, however the spiritual is ahead for us, and one day we will be spiritual. When we become a spirit being we will have eternal life and this physical life will seem so short and so fleeting compared to living for all eternity.
God is trying to show us that in the scriptures, by telling us that life is so very short, and that we need to look to the spiritual life which is ahead of us, and not immerse ourselves in this temporary life which is only for a moment, but to think spiritual things and to try to focus ourselves on the spiritual which is yet to come.
Death and dying is a circumstance we will all have to face in one way or another, be it the death of our parents or perhaps our husband or wife, brother, sister, or even a child.
The prophets of old and Godís servants did not appear to be overly concerned about dying.
Was this because they knew what would happen to them in the future, or was it because they had their minds on the spiritual rather than the physical? Knowing the next step was simply a natural event to happen.
Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
In order for us to be spiritual we have to be more like God, we have to eat and drink of God so our lives our minds our hearts are filled with the word of God and then we will be more like Him.
1Co 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
God is not concerned when a saint dies, in fact it is a precious time that one of His saints has qualified for eternal life with Him and Christ.
Psa 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.
God must be very happy when one of His saints qualifies for eternal life, as it is a very hard and long road for most of us, a great deal of testing, tribulation, hardship, and for some the loss of family and friends. It must be a great time of rejoicing for God and Christ when one saint makes it.
We need to think like this when a loved one dies. It is very hard to think of positive things when we are surrounded by sadness and sorrow, but to God this death is precious.
Notice that Paul was not concerned about dyeing.
Php 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Paul was quite happy to die, because he knew his next waking moment, he would be with Christ and God the Father. But he also had to do a work here on earth until he would finally attain his eternal life.
Peter also did not seem overly worried about his soon coming death.
2Pe 1:14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
2Pe 1:15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
Notice also that the patriarchs also did not appear to be concerned about death, I know that most of us in the church would not be concerned about death, as we know our next thoughts would be our resurrection and change to eternal life, but we physical people need to see this life as God does, and we do not view death lightly we are consumed with thoughts of how long that person lived, if he was under 70 he was too young, if over 70 how sad it would be for the wife or husband having been together so long. I am not trying to say that to lose a loved one is not painful. It can take a long time to recover from the loss. I know these things all too well, losing the love of my life after 32 years of marriage. The pain of our parting has been very heavy indeed. In order to cope in these situations we need to focus on Godís plan for us, we know life is temporary and we should try to put our thoughts on things above, rather than be overcome by the sad loss. We need to be careful not to mourn for too long also, this may seem heartless, but we only should mourn for a certain period of time and then get on with our lives, as best we can, trying hard to be positive. God will help us if we trust in Him, and time also makes the loss bearable. In the bible God advises people to get over the loss and get on with their lives. Notice in the following verse that there is a time of mourning but that time also has an end.
Deu 34:8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended.
Deu 31:1 Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel.
Deu 31:2 And he said to them: "I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the LORD has said to me, 'You shall not cross over this Jordan.'
I think sometimes we lose sight of the purpose of our physical life here on earth, it is to develop holy righteous character, obey God, love God, believe God, love the truth of Godís word. If we do this we are doing what God requires of us. God will decide how long He wants to test us and to try our hearts, we may have a long life or a short one, but the most important thing is to be what God wants us to be in our life here.
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.
Ecc 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
Also, even though we are in a physical body, this is temporary, do our very best to live as God would have us live, now and look towards the future in Godís kingdom when we have eternal life.
1Co 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
1Co 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
God knows just how fleeting our lives here on earth are, He wants us to be mindful of that fact and so during the Feast of Tabernacles He wants us to remember just how brief and temporary this life is. He wants us to sit in booths for seven days, to ponder the temporary wonderings of the Israelites and to align this with our own life and spiritual journey which is indeed short.
Rom 13:11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
Rom 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.