Updated: Jan 26
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts’” (23:1,2). And so begins the lineup of feasts and ceremonies Israel was to observe: the Sabbath, the Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Festival of Weeks, Festival of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Festival of Booths. More instructions regarding: punishment for blasphemy, the Sabbatical year and Year of Jubilee, and offerings. Leviticus ends with Moses taking a census of the people.
All these feasts and ceremonies and years! We can certainly get caught up in ritualistic formalities, as did Israel. But God has created us with minds and memories and senses. All this just strikes me as humanness, that is, God is pleased to provide these feasts and observances, but he also knows that we need them as teachers and reminders of all he has done for us. We should always be availing ourselves of opportunities – congregational worship, the Lord’s Supper, special remembrances, etc. – to remember and reflect on God’s faithfulness to us. To do so is to strengthen our faith; failing to do so, the opposite. It’s a symbiotic relationship: faith leads to participation in the things of God, which leads to stronger faith, which leads to more faithful participation, and so on. We’re back to the instruction from the epistle to the Hebrews, aren’t we? “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24,25).