Tradition Versus Religion (Part 2). 10/21/2014 (Evening thought)

Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

This passage of scripture teaches us that the customs and cultures of nations or communities should not be allowed to take precedence over righteousness, especially if they lead us into any form of idolatry or sin. Every nation has its own traditions that are observed at certain time and in certain places, and these are not to be condemned if they do not cross paths with the truths and principles of God's word, for a nation's customs do contribute greatly to its uniqueness. For instance right here in the United states of America, we have the tradition of celebrating thanksgiving, where families and friends gather together on thanksgiving day in November, to give thanks to God for His mercies that are renewed to us individually and nationally every day. The concept of itself is good and should be encouraged, because the scriptures teach us that it is a good thing to give thanks, and praise is comely. Let's read:

Psalms 92:1  It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: 2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.

However, in these and similar celebrations, we should not allow ourselves to go to such lengths in intemperate eating and drinking, to the point where God's name is dishonored by a wrong course of action. In other words, we should not take something that is essentially good to do evil, and thereby spoil what can otherwise be described as a good tradition. The drunkenness and the gluttony that is often indulged when traditions like these are celebrated, counteracts the good that may have been accomplished if the principles of temperance and sobriety were to be observed, as the bible says it is our duty to. Let's read:

1st Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly" ....... 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

One thanksgiving day I was doing some work for someone who needed urgent repairs to his vehicle, and so I tried my best to finish the work in a timely manner so that the families that were assembling for the celebrations could do so without any distraction. As I was finishing up, the person then invited me in to partake of some traditional food that was being prepared, so that I could go on my way rejoicing. But as I was deliberating whether or not to accept the man's hospitality, a vehicle pulled up and the passengers proceeded to offload  a complete swine with a shaft of wood drawn through its mouth and coming out of its rear. And as they passed by with obvious joy and gladness on their faces, they wished me a happy thanksgiving, as they eagerly anticipated devouring the roasted animal.

My mind was immediately made up and I had to respectfully decline the invitation to feast on something that God has clearly stated should never be eaten or even touched, and so I settled for some water and left the scene of revelry.

Whenever traditions or customs lead us into violating the principles or commands of the word of God, then we may know for certain that He will not be pleased with our thanksgiving and praise, for in His estimation, obedience is better than sacrifice, as is clearly stated in the word. In other words, if God has to choose between obedience and praise, He will certainly prefer obedience, for it is His purpose that our lives be ordered according to His revealed will at all times and in all places. Let's read:

1st Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

In our celebration of tradition or custom, let's be certain to observe the pertinent rules of engagement that are required by God in the incorporation of godly principles and practices that He can approve of. God has no problem whatsoever with innocent traditions and customs, once they are carried out according to the scriptural instructions written. We therefore end with a passage of scripture that reiterates this very point, and it is the will of God that we acknowledge Him in all our ways so that He can direct our paths aright. Let's read:

1st Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

May God add His blessing to the study and practice of His word. "Good night" and God bless!