The aim of this devotional study is to reflect the rest found in corporate celebration.
2 “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.
3 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.
4 “These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.
5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD’s Passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread..
21 And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.
Observations and Reflection
Context: In this chapter Moses relays God’s commands regarding “holy convocations (or gatherings).” In the Israelite calendar, every 7th day is holy to commemorate the deliverance from Egypt, the forming of their nation under and by God. Yet in addition to the weekly ray of rest seven other feasts are prescribed, namely the Feast of Harvest, Feast of Trumpets, Feast of Pentecost, Passover Feast, Feast of Booths (tents), Feast of Lights, and the Day of Atonement. The Israelites were to gather in Jerusalem for these feasts, which occur over three periods through the agricultural year.
- Reflect on the practical consequences of these “holy day” commands
- For the individual adult
- For the devout family farming / doing business outside of Jerusalem
- Reflect on the relational implications of attending these “holy day” feasts
- What would these “holy gatherings” communicate to an Israelite regarding his or her relationship with God?
- What would these “holy gatherings” communicate to an Israelite regarding his or her relationship with other Israelites?
- What would these “holy gatherings” communicate to an Israelite regarding his or her identity?
- Then in essence, what do these “holy gatherings” facilitate for the believer?
Personal reflection and Application
When you meet someone you typically ask “What do you do?”, then “Are you married? Tell me about your family!” or “do you know so and so?” We find our identities in what we do and who we closely relate to; we are known by our work, our family and our friends. “Holy days gatherings” reminded the Israeli that his identity is not found in his work primarily, but in his relation to God and his redemptive purpose, the family and the nation.
- Which “holy days” do you do contemporary Christians celebrate that affirm your identity? [hint: just like the Jews we have weekly one as well]
- What do each of these “holy days” remind us of?
- How do these “holy gatherings” facilitate relationship for you?
- How do each of these “holy days” impact your identity?
- In which ways could holidays miss to reaffirm our identity and strengthen relationships?
- Consider your annual calendar in terms or holidays. How could you plan “holy day periods” to reaffirm your identity and relationships.
Thank God for your work (or daily task) and what you benefit from it, remembering the benefits apart from the salary. Then pray about your identity, who you are in relation to God, your family, your friends, your church as well as your nation. Then pray to God for grace to arrange your calendar in Godly wisdom – for you and your family.