Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 19

Numbers 28:16 – 29:40; Luke 3:23-38; Psalm 62:1-12; Proverbs 11:18-19

I like holidays. They are times set aside for something special, different from the routine of life. Special foods and decorations, special customs reserved for each holiday—fireworks on July 4, Easter egg hunts on Easter, and turkey on Thanksgiving. A change of pace and the time to be with family and friends for the day—it’s refreshing.

I like knowing that the new nation of Israel has its own holidays and customs. In addition to the daily sacrifices, and monthly sacrifices for the new moon, there will be three holidays in the Jewish calendar. We have seen them before in Leviticus 23. And they are all listed in today’s readings.

The first one is Passover, a spring festival, which is followed by a Week of Unleavened Bread (Num. 28:16-17) and concludes with a sacred assembly, a day when no regular work is done (vs. 25).

Next, is the Feast of Weeks, celebrated in early summer when the first grain is harvested (Num. 28:26). This seems to have been a one-day festival.

The final festival is the most elaborate of the year. It begins with the Sounding of Trumpets for the New Year (Num. 29:1; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; The Kregel Pictorial Guide to the Bible), is followed by the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the seventh month (autumn), and ends with a whole week of celebrating—the Festival of Booths. More details about this festival are given in Leviticus 23. But here in Numbers, we learn that there is much sacrificing, culminating in seven bulls being offered.

In our Luke reading, we see Jesus’ earthly genealogy through Joseph. Though many of these names occur only here, we see the detailed records that were kept, going all the way back to Adam.

I believe the Lord wants us to see two things in today’s reading: one, that He initiates and endorses and provides time off for celebratory events; and two, that He is a God of detail and record-keeping. From this I learn that I can, and should, have holiday celebrations with family and friends—time to be refreshed with a change from the routine, and time to be encouraged by meeting with others to remember God’s goodness. And two, I learn that He is with me in the details of life. I need to pay the bills and write the payments in the checkbook ledger. I need to keep up with family records. Meticulous record-keeping is part of being made in the image of God. 

“Surely You will reward each person, according to what he has done,” says Psalm 62:12b. Thank you, Lord, for your reward of holidays and the benefits that record keeping brings, too.

- Nell Sunukjian

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