Deuteronomy 16:1-8 Where Passover
For forty years Israel has been celebrating Passover wherever they happen to be on that day. Moses tells the people this will change. There will be ONE location.
God has already told the people that He is going to choose one location for His “Home”, the Tabernacle. This is where they are to bring their tithes and offerings. This is also where they are to celebrate His Passover.
The people who are being dispossessed from the land would meet with their “gods” wherever they so desired. God intends for His people to be different. They will have one place to meet with Him. There are to be rules and regulations regarding coming to God. And there is to be an attitude of reverence in these encounters.
Passover is the remembrance of Israel’s exit from Egypt. All that God did to free them and the final plague He inflicted on Egypt to break their hold. This was also the beginning feast of the religious calendar year. Passover was a new beginning for the people.
This new beginning started with the sacrifice of the lamb. Each family group was to make this sacrifice as well as a larger sacrifice required of the Nation. When we looked at the required sacrifices in Numbers we saw that for seven days a sacrifice was made for the Passover observance. The sacrifice from the temple included seven lambs, two bulls, one ram and one goat along with a specified amount of flour and oil DAILY. I’m thinking that this large amount was to be consumed by the Levites who attended the people for their yearly sacrifice. There is no way one family could consume this much in one night!
God instructed that each person come to His Tabernacle to make this sacrifice. They couldn’t do it where they lived. This leaves me with a question. When we were studying earlier about Passover we saw that it was celebrated for two days. This was because the Jews that were far away couldn’t be certain when the religious leaders had set the day for the new month. This means that they were celebrating it where they lived instead of in Jerusalem, which is where God’s Tabernacle finally was given a permanent home.
They were breaking this statute from God. Why? When did this start? Was this journey to the place God chose on the day He set aside for the purpose He initiated the “ideal” instead of the “required”? Was this like when God said there would be no poor in Israel? That was the ideal IF they followed His commands but the reality was that there would ALWAYS be poor people to care for.
So how did the family who didn’t have means to travel to Jerusalem celebrate the Passover? Did they do something on a smaller scale or did they skip it? I know that MANY people made this journey each year but there is NO WAY the whole nation could have assembled in one spot each year. At the time Moses gave this command they could but that would change over time as they grew. Did they later take turns? What happened on their “off” year?
Was this requirement meant only for the national sacrifice and the individual sacrifice was treated differently? I don’t think that is what Moses is saying here. I’m VERY grateful that Jesus fulfilled the Law and we can meet with Him and celebrate His special days in our own homes and local places of worship. I’m also glad that we don’t have to make the same sacrifices He laid out in the Law.
Jesus was our Passover sacrifice. He was the sacrifice for the nation, the individual, and the whole world. All who would accept His work. No other sacrifice or journey is necessary. And the Holy Spirit lives in each one of us who has accepted Jesus’ work so we can meet with God wherever we are. No longer do we have to journey to the ONE place He is. He came to us instead.
Thank You Father for sending Jesus to be my sacrifice. Thank You that I can be with You daily wherever I am. I have no reference in my own life to relating to the imperative of traveling each year for this event. Getting together with family for holidays is nothing compared to what You planned.
Thanks for reminding me of how I feel about Camp NaPa and my grandchildren attending. I prepare for MONTHS trying to make it perfect. My heart is wrapped up in seeing all of them. Sharing time with them and teaching them new games and crafts. The disappointment when they can’t attend. Is that a little taste of what You experienced with Your children? I want to join Your “camp.” Thank You for making preparations for me.