Friday, September 17, 2010

Numbers 28, 29, 30 Feasts of the Lord

Shabbos (shabbat) table at my house, a few min...Image via Wikipedia
After the affair with the Moabites and the subsequent plague, there was a major re-structuring in Israel.  God ordered a second census to be conducted and Joshua was appointed as Moses' successor.  And, again, God summarized how He should be worshiped.

The sacrificial system instituted by God was always about a specific sacrifice approved and stipulated by God.  God's outright rejection of the Moabite worship showed Israel that God's Holiness could be approached only in the way that He outlined.   God emphasized that though there were many counterfeit worship systems, the way He showed Israel was the only acceptable, true way.

In highlighting national worship, God began with the daily offerings, then weekly, then monthly, and then reminded Israel of the five big Feasts of the Lord: Passover; Feasts of Weeks; Feast of Trumpets; Day of Atonement; Feast of Tabernacles.  While reading today  I began to wonder about the word "feast".  In English, this word conjures up festivities, food, revelry, company - a party.  But, when I looked it up in Strong's Concordance, feast  ( Hebrew מוֹעֵד (mow`ed)) means an assembly at an appointed time and at an appointed place.

In Genesis, we read that God created the "heavens and the earth" in six days and rested on the seventh day.  Since our twenty-four hour periods (days) are marked by earth's rotation on its own axis, God also created time and seasons.  In appointing days during which Israel was to assemble to honor God, God created days, which in and of themselves, were sacred and separate from the rest of the calendar.

Today is 9 Tishri and also the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Tomorrow will be a very special Sabbath because it's a double Sabbath, a doubly sanctified twenty-four hour period.  For Israel it is not only a time to rest from all work but also a day to focus on sin that separates them from God;  a day to receive God's forgiveness.

But going back to today's readings, I love how God picks up the people who remained after the plague; He ordered a census thus numbering them -  to let  each person understand just how significant and important each was to Him.  Just in case any survivors were worried, God provided new leadership to reassure them that they would not be forsaken and rejected in the desert.  Then God turned their eyes to the Feasts He instituted.  He reminded Israel that this world connected with Eternity, with God's Holiness, at appointed times and at an appointed place.  

God again proclaimed His love for His people and embraced them with His provision for communion with Him.  I really think that these are amazing chapters.

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for mow`ed (Strong's 4150)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 17 Sep 2010. < http://
Strongs=H4150&t=KJV >

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