Our Daily Bread 3rd June 2020 Devotional – Sacred Gathering
TODAY’S TOPIC: SACRED GATHERING
Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 19–20; John 13:21–38
Key Verse: Rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. – Leviticus 23:40
Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 23:33–36, 39–44 (NIV)
The Festival of Tabernacles
33 The Lord said to Moses, 34 “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. 35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present food offerings to the Lord, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the Lord. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work.
39 “‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest. 40 On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.
41 Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters 43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”
44 So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed festivals of the Lord.
Insight: Our Daily Bread 3rd June 2020 Devotional
Leviticus 23 outlines the eight festivals in the Jewish religious calendar (including the Sabbath day of rest mentioned in verse 3). God instituted each of these festivals for the benefit and enjoyment of His people. Consider how the Festival of Tabernacles (v. 34) would have looked as it unfolded.
The people constructed shelters from branches and foliage and then lived in the rudimentary structures. Although a solemn occasion, the festival was essentially a campout; hence, a time of great joy. How like our infinitely creative God to implement fun into worship and holy remembrance!
Message: Our Daily Bread 3rd June 2020 Devotional
Our group of friends reunited for a long weekend together on the shores of a beautiful lake. The days were spent playing in the water and sharing meals, but it was the evening conversations I treasured the most. As darkness fell, our hearts opened to one another with uncommon depth and vulnerability, sharing the pains of faltering marriages and the aftermath of trauma some of our children were enduring. Without glossing over the brokenness of our realities, we pointed one another to God and His faithfulness throughout such extreme difficulties. Those evenings are among the most sacred in my life.
I imagine those nights are similar to what God intended when He instructed His people to gather each year for the Festival of Tabernacles. This feast, like many others, required the Israelites to travel to Jerusalem. Once they arrived, God instructed His people to gather together in worship and to “do no regular work” for the duration of the feast—about a week! (Leviticus 23:35). The Festival of Tabernacles celebrated God’s provision and commemorated their time in the wilderness after leaving Egypt (vv. 42–43).
This gathering cemented the Israelites’ sense of identity as God’s people and proclaimed His goodness despite their collective and individual hardships. When we gather with those we love to recall God’s provision and presence in our lives, we too are strengthened in faith. By: Kirsten Holmberg
Reflect: Who can you gather with for worship and encouragement? How has your faith been strengthened in community with others?
Today’s Prayer: Father God, thank You for the people You’ve put in my life. Please help us to encourage one another.
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