In the Old Testament, the Children of Israel would assemble and journey together under the banner of their respective tribes. Each of the 12 tribes would have a designated location allotted to them in proximity to the Tabernacle of Moses. In the times of travel, they’d be led by God via the cloud by day or pillar of fire by night (Exo 13:21). There were special gatherings or assemblies that would take place whenever the sound of the trumpet went forth. The trumpet sound could be a call to war, a call to journey forward or a call to assemble together for the purpose of instruction (Num 10:1-10).
This background may help give a greater appreciation for our “Kith and Kin – Big Family Day Out” taking place this weekend at Fort Canning Park. It’s interesting that this event is taking place during the week of the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashana), when the Cornerstone family will congregate the grounds by setting up camp within their respective cell groups. Each group has a name and identity that helps to define who Cornerstone is as a church.
The Apostle Paul understood the importance and contributions that each member brings to the overall Body of Christ and so should we (Eph 4:16). This can become increasingly difficult as the congregation grows; seeing how one can get lost among the multitudes. The ordered and structured arrangement that Israel undertook in their journey(s) helped in maintaining a family-styled cohesiveness as their numbers multiplied. What does this mean for us in moving forward? Let’s examine some keys from Nehemiah 8 which coincidentally opens up on the Feast of Trumpets.
Neh 8:1 “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.”
1) There was a calling together of the people as “one man” to assemble for the purpose of instruction in the Law of Moses. It’s important to note that you’ve both Ezra the priest and Nehemiah functioning together. Nehemiah was not a priest, but was mightily used of God to help prepare for this moment. He knew the Word of God and had great influence with key leaders, including the king.
2) There was a united state of repentance as the Law of Moses was given to the people. This was also the season when the Feast of Atonement was about to be celebrated. Amazingly, the people were fully attentive to the reading of the Law and had the ability to understand its implications (Neh 8:3,8). Both Ezra and Nehemiah placed emphasis on the message of holiness, resulting in the people taking stock of the true state of their hearts. It was a sobering moment.
3) Once the people came to the place of acknowledging their sins in the presence of a Holy God, there was instruction given to weep no more. It’s here where the familiar verse concerning the joy of the Lord is recorded. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10). This now brought about the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles which commenced on the 15th day of the 7th month. It’s a joyful feast; one that’s represented by many names – The Feast of Joy, The Feast of Rest, The Feast of Glory and the Feast of Restoration being just a few examples.
The unique gathering of the Cornerstone family at Fort Canning needs to be seen as more than just an event, considering the exciting and challenging days we’re living in. This weekend is a response to God’s trumpet call to gather. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the blessings of corporate and individual families. What’s the message and preparation required before moving forward in advancing the Kingdom of God? Are we willing to yield to the sword of circumcision in allowing the Law of the Lord to be established in our hearts via the atonement (Josh 5:14; Jer 31:33)?
If so, look at the blessings and glory that result as expressed through the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the key in taking ground for the Kingdom of God. Let it be our prayer that the Cornerstone Church family fulfills her role in the overall Body of Christ. The worldwide family unit is under attack and dividing. “Kith and Kin” is our response in helping to start by making a difference in the local and worldwide family of God.