Something interesting came up at this month’s Connections meeting. One of the guys mentioned that his friend was called away from fellowship for six months to learn directly from God on how to keep Shabbat. He asked, “What this right, or was this wrong?”
Nearly everything we see in Torah – the entire Bible – are instructions for community. Oh sure, there are individual instructions for the High Priest, the king of Israel, and women – to name a few. But the heart of this individual instruction is all for the sake of the community.
When we look at every law of Torah through the lens of ‘love God, love each other’, we come to understand that the last thing Messiah would want to accomplish on earth is do away with God’s Torah. After all, it is God’s Spirit in writing. So the question: is it right or wrong for the friend to move away from the community for six months?
During that time, God taught this person what she needed to learn individually. When she returned to the congregation, she brought with her the insight and understanding God gifted to her.
At the same time, the beauty of the community is to keep us, as individuals, in check. What if she returned saying God told her the only way to properly enter into His rest was to starve her pets? I know, it sounds ridiculous, right? But it proves my point.
You, the congregation, received a check in your spirit the minute I said that. You know that God is love, and God is concerned about His creation – especially ones who are defenseless. As her friend and fellow believer, your counsel through scripture would show her the error of her ways.
Now if she could, like Job, point to God’s character and show solid scriptural backing for her newfound belief, then you would reconsider. But if not, you would help her by prayer and instruction to see how she strayed from the truth of scripture.
The point is, when we know God’s character, learned through His Torah, we hold every individual instruction up against that. If it lines up, we are good to go. If not….
Even Yeshua, the Living Torah, followed the traditions of men as long as it didn’t counter the Torah of God. Not only that, He instructed us – His disciples – to do the same.
Then Yeshua spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying, “The Torah scholars and Pharisees sit on the seat of Moses. So whatever they tell you, do and observe. But don’t do what they do; for what they say, they do not do. – Matthew 23:1-3
So, does God sometimes call us out of fellowship for a season? Absolutely! But He also calls us to return and share what we learned.