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Summary: The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us of the blessings that come from aligning ourselves with God, and the losses we experience but stubbornly resisting Him.

Blow the Shofar!

(Psalm 81)

1. Pride begets bragging, whether about ourselves, our family, or our nation.

2. Amir: You Americans are always boasting how Paul Bunyan was the greatest lumberjack ever, but we Moroccans know that Ibrim Hassan was the world's greatest lumberjack.

Fred: I never heard of Ibrim Hassan. Who was he?

Amir: He was the famous lumberjack of the Sahara Forest.

Fred: Umm, don't you mean the Sahara Desert?

Amir: Oh, sure, NOW it's a desert.

3. Today’s text is not about blowing our own horn, but God’s horn, the shofar.

4. The Psalmist seems to have developed this Psalm from several texts in Deuteronomy and the other portions of the Torah (Midrash).

5. Compared to the negative theme of many of Asaph’s Psalm, this one is more positive.

Main Idea: The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us of the blessings that come from aligning ourselves with God, and the losses we experience but stubbornly resisting Him.

I. Celebrate Redemption with FERVOR (1-5)!

A. The Feast of Tabernacles was a feast of JOYFUL celebration

1. Torah: welcome the new moon with a SHOFAR blast (Numbers 10:10)

2. Tabernacles was during the FULL moon (Leviticus 23:34), also shofar blast

3. Save a tithe and spend it on one week’s celebration: “and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.” (Deuteronomy 14:26-27)

B. This would be one of three “pilgrim” holiday CLUSTERS (Deuteronomy 16:16)

C. They celebrated their freedom from Egypt by living in BOOTHS

D. We cannot force a special celebration every week, but we can always sing HEARTILY to God

1. “More” is not always better; Christmas everyday would take the special nature of Christmas away…”a time for everything under the sun…”

2. There are times for believers to joyfully celebrate (Easter); other times are solemn, contemplative, and introspective (Good Friday). Sometimes we focus on the Body, as, for example, when a tragedy strikes. Other times are laid back. We need them all.

E. We have been redeemed by Christ and are now living the JOYFUL life.

1. Tabernacles was a feast associated with eating and drinking

2. Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

3. Fake joy is worse than no joy, but the real thing is like water on parched ground.

4. Nehemiah told his workers that the “Joy of the Lord is your strength.” [Neh. 8:10]

5. Although I can certainly be a grouch, I try to find God’s Joy to be my strength.

6. Being pious is not going to get the ear of the lost, but being joyful can!

We are blessed if we blow the shofar instead of tooting our own horn and align ourselves with God, and we lose when we stubbornly resist him.

II. Let Past Redemptions Can Fuel Your Life NOW (6-10)!

A. This was a time to rehearse and read the TORAH (6-10)

1. This Psalm was probably written for a seventh-year Tabernacle celebration

Deuteronomy 31:10-11, “And Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.”

2. Through absorbing the Scriptures, we fight the Spirit’s strength to live redeemed lives

3. They rehearsed the Exodus and their wilderness wanderings

4. Meribah means “strife” and refers to the testing & complaining of the people for water twice

5. We learn about ourselves through our failures; when we become aware of our weaknesses, we can watch for them. My weakness: immediately resistant to something new…given time…I now often catch myself; not always…

B. New Testament PRACTICES are intended to help us live in light of our redemption in Jesus Christ

• The Lord’s Supper/Baptism

• In our M-F 9-5 world, we forget we were bought with a price.

C. God is EAGER to bless those who “open their mouths.”

• Dentists life verse.

• Ever watch a mother bird feeding her babies?

• If the babies wouldn’t open their mouths, how could she feed them?

• God is like that mother bird, but we humans can refuse to open up for Him; we don’t trust Him.

We are blessed if we blow the shofar instead of tooting our own horn and align ourselves with God, and we lose when we stubbornly resist him.

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