I can remember the last thing the best man said at my wedding to Christie and I in his toast. His name was Jeff. He was a pretty lanky and thin fellow, as we all were back then. And in typical Wildwood fashion, why do something once when you can do it twice as aggressive and with gusto, he raise not one, but two glasses of champagne. Then said, “Keep the faith.”
That was approaching 32 years ago. Little did I know how poignant his concluding words would be.
Faith must be kindled, stoked, maintained, perpetuated, supported, watered, fertilized, sustained, conserved, preserved, protected, upheld, and prolonged.
And most of all it must be kept. It cannot be ignored, neglected, disregarded, abandoned, shirked, deserted, disclaimed, disowned, or disavowed.
I love reading the Bible. I love reading the Bible in 90 days. I love how the discipline of reading cover to cover forces me to read through material I normally would not. I love how some ideas, words, or scenes of what may be happening in the text, come to life.
Last night I was reading through Leviticus. First, I want to say that folks who disparage Leviticus and call it a sleeping aid, should stop that. It is one of God’s words and needs to be treated thoughtfully and with care.
Three verses or ideas popped out at me:
Leviticus 6:9 “Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar.”
Leviticus 6:12 “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.”
Leviticus 6:13 “The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.”
If I understand this correctly, for nearly 40 years or more, the fire of the brazen alter was never extinguished or went out naturally. Wow. That required vigilance. That required much help and attention.
Where did all that wood come from in the desert? Did that mean someone had to carry ashes on their head from one camp location to another? Who was responsible to find, fell, chop, split, haul, and maintain a wood pile for the alter? What kind of wood was it typically? Did it burn hot and clean like scrub oak or messy like pine? I digress.
The point Father was trying to make to me last night was that this fire could not be ignored. It had to be kept and maintained. Much like out faith, it can’t just go on cruise control, one will eventually run out of gas.
As my friend Jeff said, “Keep the faith.” And not just with one glass, but with two, both hands raised, with gusto, with emphasis, and forever.