All of chapter 23 is dedicated to the Appointed Festivals- the holidays that God sets up for His people. Pretty big deal. Now, I have to admit that I’m intimidated by the chapters on the festivals. I have this amazing pastor that I’ve been fortunate enough to sit under and listen to several teachings on the different festivals and I have learned a TON. And there’s no way I can offer close to the insight that I have experienced receiving. So I’m not going to try. However, I do have my own observations. Everything I would have expected to read in this chapter is mentioned, all of the big festivals that we are somewhat familiar with in the Bible. And there is a short explanation on each. Starting off the chapter I had my own idea of what I thought the Spirit might reveal to me, and so I was waiting for some of the pieces of the festival that pointed towards Jesus. But before I got very far, what the Spirit had for me was evident.
Now Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love it. I wait all year for it. I start thinking about presents for people months in advance, and I fully believe that no matter what Andy says- you should be able to listen to Christmas music all year long. Christmas, to me, is the holiday of all holidays- and with the reference to a “sacred assembly” my love for Christmas Eve service is an easy connection. But what impacted me was not some new information on one of these God given festivals. It was the first sacred assembly that was mentioned in this passage.
There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord. ~ Leviticus 23:3
Any holidays that have a God honoring aspect are extra special, but holidays that are directly created by God Himself are a really big deal. They’re not just celebrations that we create to honor God, but God created them to honor Him how He wants to be honored. And first mentioned among this incredible list of sacred assemblies that God Himself instructed is the Sabbath. I know from reading the Bible that the Sabbath is a big deal, but that’s even not actually my point. Nor is it my point that we tend to take the Sabbath less seriously as we should. What stood out to me here is this: the Sabbath is a sacred assembly.
Culturally, our most sacred assemblies tend to be Christmas and Easter. They are special. We put more effort into planning and preparing for these two services than any other throughout the year. People that don’t come the rest of the year come these Sundays because there is something special about them. They seem more sacred. Don’t you think? We take them very seriously. And among the list of sacred assemblies is the Sabbath. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to me from what my perspective of the Sabbath is, but maybe then my perspective needs changing.
Every Sabbath assembly is a sacred assembly. Church services are not intended to be a time for us to punch the clock, but we sometimes can treat it that way. Or at least we can treat it as a habit- something we’ve stopped thinking about and just do. I forget in my routine that gathering together once a week with fellow believers is a phenomenal experience. It is an opportunity to honor God in the way the He has asked to be honored. It is a time to meet with the living God who created the universe. And that is sacred.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Leviticus 24, 25