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B'resheet/Genesis 37:1 Ya'akov settled in the land of his father's sojournings
Today we stand in a rich tradition; a tradition of study, prayer and worship; a tradition that has not only preserved the customs and faith of our people over the generations, but has endured for thousands of years. There is great value in tradition, provided that it does not become our master. When Ya'akov returned from over twenty years in Padan Aram at the house of his Uncle Lavan, he returns to the land of his birth, Eretz Yisrael. He returns in a different state to that in which he left: then he had only the clothes he stood up in, used a rock for a pillow and was something of a fugitive from his older brother; now he is a man of substance, with flocks and herds, twelve sons and a whole household. Older and wiser, he settles down in the land where his father sojourned, where the L-rd told him to stay (B'resheet 26:2-3).
Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, the L-rd said, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls" (Jer 6:16, NASB). Some chapters later, He adds, "My people ... have stumbled from their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, not on a highway" (Jer 18:15, NASB). Our relationship with G-d is founded on certain principles that do not change: He is G-d and there is no other; He created the world and all that is in it; He has made covenant with us ever since the days of Noach and Avraham, supremely in the body and blood of Yeshua, His Son; the cross/stake is the way of atonement, reconciliation and peace with G-d. These are the givens and the unshakeable foundations of our faith, that we come back to time after time.
In all three synoptic gospels, the writers record that Yeshua taught about the effects of trying to put new wine into old wineskins - that the acid would destroy the old skins, thus wasting both them and the wine. Only in Luke's gospel is the concluding phrase found: "No-one, after drinking old [wine] wishes for new; for he says, 'The old is good enough.'" (Luke 5:39, NASB). In our search for the new things that G-d is always doing (Is 48:6), we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath-water, but to remain rooted and grounded in the unalterable precepts of the faith that we have inherited, the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), the faith of our fathers Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov.
Further Study: Luke 5:37-39; Isaiah 48:6-7; Jude 3
Application: A question we all need to ask ourselves is: are we standing firm on the traditional faith and values described in the pages of Scripture or have we been drawn off course by something new.
© Jonathan Allen, 2003
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