WHAT TO LOOK FOR
This week in Leviticus we read of the “holy convocations” which God appointed for His people Israel. Each of these taught the people some truth about their relationship with Yahweh:
- Weekly Sabbath – From Creation, God by His own example instituted a 7-day rhythm of work and rest. This rhythm is confirmed in His positive commandment of a sabbath for His covenant people. The sabbath serves as a frequent reminder to God’s people of their dependence on Him. It is to be a peaceful day of ceasing from worldly labors in order to worship and enjoy God without distraction, especially in fellowship with His people.
- Passover + Feast of Unleavened Bread – These commemorated God’s liberation of His people from slavery in Egypt, when the LORD passed over the houses which were marked by the blood of the sacrificial lamb on their doorposts. The removal of leaven represented the careful and thorough cleansing and sanctification of the people.
- Feast of First Fruits – The people were to offer up the first fruits of their barley harvest to God. In planting, they had laid their seeds in the ground in faith. This sowing and reaping is a beautiful picture of the promise of resurrection, both Christ’s and ours. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42–44).
- Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) – This was another offering up of first fruits to God, but this time from the wheat harvest. This festival is traditionally associated with God’s giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, and now for us with the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2).
- Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) – The blowing of a trumpet signals a gathering in for the coming of the LORD as King, especially for judgment. This trumpet call served to set the people’s minds on repentance in preparation for the Day of Atonement, which happened just nine days later.
- Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – With this holy day, God demonstrates His removal of His people’s sins through the atoning blood of a substitute. The people were constantly sinning and constantly needing atonement for their sins, and sacrifices for atonement happened frequently. However, this once-a-year sacrifice was a foreshadowing of the once-for-all sacrifice the Messiah would make on behalf of His people in the future. It was the only day of the year in which the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle.
- Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) (Sukkot) – During this feast, the people were to live in tents to commemorate their wandering in the wilderness for forty years between Egypt and Canaan. This is a reminder even to us that we are sojourners in this world who are waiting for a permanent city whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10).
One practical lesson to learn from these feasts which still applies to us today is the lesson of disciplined unity among God’s people. Leviticus 23:29 condemns the one among God’s people who “will not humble himself on this same day” (in reference to the Day of Atonement). To be in fellowship with one another is to humble ourselves and submit ourselves to one another, even in the mundane matter of our personal schedules. Many so-called Christians forsake regular fellowship with the church because it just doesn’t “fit into our lives.” Let us joyfully submit to sharing our lives together as we gather to worship our God and Savior.
VERSE TO MEDITATE ON
I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
HOW TO PRAY
- Adoration – Praise God for His calling together of a people for His own possession
- Confession – Confess ways that you have neglected fellowship with God by neglecting fellowship with His people.
- Thanksgiving – Thank God for the blessing of a spiritual family of brothers and sisters whom we share an eternal inheritance with in Christ Jesus.
- Supplication – Pray for the preservation and unity of Christ’s church in Cincinnati, in America, and around the world.