We have arrived at the final Holy day celebration for Israel that God ordained in the Law. That is the Feast of Booths.
This Holy day lasts eight days. The offerings here are larger than any other feast God commanded. It is also the first of the feasts where God included the drink offerings for the offerings above the monthly, Sabbath, and daily requirements. I noticed that He doesn’t include the drink offering requirements for the first day’s offerings. When I made my chart I didn’t notice that difference at the time.
Something I find interesting about the offerings for this season of feasting is that it is counting down. The number of bulls decreases by one each day for seven days. The other animals don’t change in numbers required. I also noticed that the number of lambs is ALWAYS greatest in ALL the offerings God has covered. I wonder if this is because Jesus is identified in one of His names as the Lamb of God. Jesus is also called our Good Shepherd. And He was our Passover Lamb sacrifice.
Back to the “countdown” observation. When I learned of the Feast of Booths previously I thought it was commemorating the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. I thought the countdown might have been symbolic of counting down the years until time to enter into God’s promise. Then I realized that if God was identifying the feast with the 40 years wandering He wouldn’t have put it in with His original instructions through Moses. God gave the people this observance feast while they were still at Mt. Sinai, before they messed up so badly that they lost their promise.
This feast commemorates the people’s total time in the wilderness. From the time they left Egypt until they would finally set foot in their own new homes. God didn’t specify how long that would be in the beginning or when He gave them the command to observe this feast. He had a much shorter journey planned for them but they refused to accept His plan for them. And being the gentleman that He is, He gave them what they asked for. Even though they took back that request after He agreed to it.
I was trying to figure out why so many days and why the countdown in this feast but I’m no closer to understanding why than when I began looking. What I do know though is that the sacrifices listed here are not the totality of the events that take place during this feast week. God calls for other observances with “And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Leviticus 23:40). The people are also told to “dwell in booths for seven days” as part of their observance of this feast. This is a VERY involved celebration and it is special to God. It reminds the people of all the time in the wilderness and all the miracles God gave them. From the pillar leading the way to the final crossing of the Jordan with it heaped up on one side.
After finishing reading our text for today I took note of one more item regarding the offerings God has already mentioned. Most of them state that the people are to have a holy convocation and do no “ordinary” work. There is only one where God goes beyond the “ordinary” work and commands that “no work” be done except that of the sacrifices. That happens on the Day of Atonement. I think it is interesting because that day the people attempt to stack their “work” on God’s scale and weigh in on their chances of being in the Book of Life. NO work that we could do would be enough. Only Jesus’ work can balance the scales.
At the end of Moses’ reminders about the required offerings the voluntary offerings are listed only. These offerings are still important to God and to the people but they differ depending on the circumstances and the one making the offerings. God sees the giver and the gift and made provisions in His Law for those who had much and also for those who had little or none. His focus went beyond the ritual too. He looks at the heart of the giver. He still does today.
Father God, thank You for all the reminders You have placed in my life. The “morning music” running through my head. The night time desire to write. The weekly changing of mediations. The monthly turning the page on the calendar. Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations. Each reminds me to look once again to You. To turn my eyes back to You. I’ve got a lot less Holy days than Israel has but the daily reminders at least keep me looking on a continual basis. THANK YOU for that!
Thank You today for reminding me of the power of prayer, especially when the Holy Spirit gets to speak His piece. Thank You Holy Spirit for the peace I felt after our prayer time. Please keep me coming each day.