Chapter 23 – The Feasts of the Lord
Leviticus 23 – the big points
This chapter was all about the feasts/festivals of the Lord. Interestingly enough it starts with a reminder to keep the Sabbath as a day of “solemn rest”. And no, that doesn’t mean serious sleeping (smile). It was more that it was to be characterized by deep sincerity.
During these times of feasting and celebration, the people were to remember what God had done for them at various points in their history.
1) The feasts were grouped in two sets: three in the first month (Nisan), one a little less than 4 months later in Av and three in the seventh month in Tishrei.
2) The gap between the set feast times would have been the harvest in Israel.
3) God wanted His people to remember and celebrate what He has done for them. This is a reminder for us too – maybe we could do this by creating a gratitude journal where we write down all the awesome things God does for us so that we read when we’re feeling down or can’t see His hand in our lives.
Related: The Hidden Hand that Saves
4) God built rest into His feast days. The reason He gives is that the days belong to him. But the truth is they were really for His people to take the time to stop and do nothing but worship and have fellowship with Him.
5) Gratitude is a huge part of what it means to be consecrated by God.
There are seven feast days described in Leviticus but that’s not significant if you think about the fact that Jamaica has ten public holidays every year. It becomes interesting when you note that the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits all happen in the first month within days of each other. There’s a 99-day break and then there’s the Feast of Weeks (this would be about the fifth month).
Then there’s another gap and three feasts happen in the seventh month. Do you know what’s happening in the time when there are no feasts? The harvest. God designed His feast days so that they bracketed harvest time.
He built rest into the routine of the Israelites.
They got time to rest before the harvest and they got time to rest after the harvest. During those periods of rest, they were to think about all that God had done for them. Just like that, we’re at the place of grace.
See, God told the people that they were His festivals but the truth of the matter is He doesn’t need rest. He doesn’t need to “remember” what He had done. No, it was all about the Israelites.
God knew how much work would be involved in bringing in the harvest and He knew that their frail human bodies (not to mention their spirits!) would need a period of rest and recovery and so He gave that to His people. Isn’t that fantastic?
Lord, thank You for giving us what we need and not what we think we want. Help us to remain in the very center of Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.