THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 16
BY: Jeremy Witt
This chapter deals with three holidays or festivals that the LORD calls for the people to celebrate. The first is the Passover in verses 1-8, the second is the Festival of Harvest in verses 9-12, and the Festival of Shelters in verses 13-17. The last three verses deal with leading and governing the nation.
The Passover is a celebration to remember how the LORD led the people out of bondage in Egypt. It was to be set in the spring each year. This was a celebration that also required a sacrifice in a specific place set aside by the LORD. This was so that the people would follow God’s instructions and to prove their obedience. If they celebrated wherever they wished, they would be like their neighbors who sacrificed (worshipped) in a variety of ways. God desired His people to be different and to do things according to His ways and not their own. The components of the Passover meal required a sacrifice and every component of the meal would remind the Israelites of their time in Egypt and how God led them out of that land. Notice the lack of yeast, and remember how Jesus would use yeast as references to bad things in the New Testament. (For those of you who would wish to dig deeper, you should investigate yeast and its references in Scripture.)
The Festival of Harvests or Festival of Weeks required a freewill offering to the LORD from the harvest 7 weeks from the beginning of harvest. Notice in verse 11 how it was meant to be celebrated as a family and with any servants as well.
In verses 13-17 we come to the Festival of Booths 7 days after the harvest of wheat and grapes are gathered. This celebration was for 7 days and also done as a family and all servants as well.
Verse 16 calls for all males to come before the LORD and bring an offering with them as he is able. This was a way to give back to the LORD but also to remind the men who they are serving. As a man, we can easily become focused on our work and neglect who blessed us, who equipped us, and who leads us. This was a way for men to be reminded that they must submit to God and give back to Him. I would call it a perspective reminder or a way to refocus from being consumed with self.
These last few verses do not seem to fit into this chapter. We have been instructed on three holiday celebrations and suddenly we are shifted to ruling the people. What would God be saying this here? Just my thoughts here, but in the midst of celebrations we can lose focus, control, or even time at some points. We need people in positions of authority to keep us centered, but they need to be people of honesty, integrity, and trust. Ironically, we just voted Tuesday, and I pray we have people in office who fit this mold. The instructions in these verses call for honesty and not partiality. People who seek to meet the needs of the greater good rather than their friends, family, self, or political party. Leaders need to be wise to stay above the bribery and corruption, but need to be able to stay above it all. But not only this, but spiritually to follow after the LORD and His commands and not follow the ways of the world. (the asherah pole and sacred pillars)
Let’s remember our context as well. Moses is telling the people what to do when they get into the Promised Land. God has given him the words to protect them from the upcoming dangers. If they (we) will trust God and follow His instructions then they will be succeed.
Something to think about.