Leviticus 23:1-3,5-6,10,15-16,23-24,27,34 The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. “‘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... The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast.... “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest... “‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD... The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts... “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the LORD... “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.
Seven seems to be a number that God likes or so it seems from the number of sevens mentioned in the Bible. Here it is the seven festivals the Israelites were commanded to observe.
So many forced breaks certainly would've made employers/businesses wonder how they could achieve productivity and so is this just a concept of the ancient past?
I ran an internet search for countries with the most public holidays and surprisingly enough, the top 10 (According to Euromonitor International) are China (With Hong Kong), India, Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand, Morocco, Malaysia, South Korea, Chile and Turkey.
Does it come as a surprise that the top two on the list are the ones with the highest economic growth in the present times?
Sorry for digressing but it seems a misconception that more play makes Jack a dull worker. However, instead of talking efficiencies and profitability, we should be focussing on what God decreed and see the purpose behind it.
Each of the festivals directed by God were to mark key aspects of the journey God's people took this far. The period of the festival was to be marked by sacred assemblies, sacrifices, giving, partaking of bread without yeast, not working, and acknowledging God's hand in their lives.
It all seems a bit much to us but that is because we look at God and all things religious as extra-curricular. Religion is for those who are called to its service and the rest of us have our own lives to worry about.
Many of us acknowledge God and claim to follow a faith but in reality will never be able to fully testify to this God because it is not really rational, hard to prove and causes social conflict.
However God here is not talking to a bunch of people who are called simply by His name. These are people who were physical witnesses to God's presence in their lives everyday whether by the provision of the manna, God's presence on the mountaintops, God's wisdom imparted to their leaders, etc.
Even today, God is very visible to those who care to seek but because of this busyness we call life, God's hand in our lives has been blinded from us.
Take for example the simple fact that the earth is rotating around the sun at 1,675 km/hour or 465 meters/second. Just think for every second, you're moving almost half a kilometer through space and you don't even feel it.
We know gravity is what helps us to be firmly planted on the ground and not be affected by this speed but did you wonder why? The force that wants to throw you off is only 0.3% of gravity and the gravity is just right that we don't simply get sucked into the earth's crust and be destroyed and not so little that we sometimes tend to fly away.
Imagine the complexity of life as we know it and we like to live in oblivion to the fact that we are more than a product of chance! Our science helps us discover truths of life as God ordained it and therefore should help us appreciate this God who made all this possible.
I pray today that we don't look at God as a hindrance but the very person we owe our entire lives to for being so gracious to us. Just as the sun rises and sets and the stars are displayed to showcase His glory, I pray today that you and I will thank God for His abundant goodness to us and be eternally grateful to Him.
In Jesus' Loving Name,
Psalm 136 (Excerpted) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. Who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. Who made the great lights—His love endures forever. The sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
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