Deuteronomy - Lesson 23

National Festivals - Deut. 16.1-7

A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

Daniel Block
Lesson 23
Watching Now
National Festivals - Deut. 16.1-7

National Festivals (16:1-7)

I. Unscheduled Feasting

II. Scheduled Feasting

A. Passover

B. Shavuoth

C. Sukkoth

Class Resources
  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

Recommended Books

The Gospel according to Moses

The Gospel according to Moses

To many people the law stands in opposition to the gospel. While it may be possible to read Paul's epistles this way, the book of Deuteronomy will not allow this reading. Like the book of Romans in the New Testament, Deuteronomy provides the most systemat

The Gospel according to Moses
The Triumph of Grace: Literary and Theological Studies in Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic Themes

The Triumph of Grace: Literary and Theological Studies in Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic Themes

The Apostle Paul's negative statements about the law have deafened the ears of many to the grace that Moses proclaims in Deuteronomy. Most Christians have a dim view of...

The Triumph of Grace: Literary and Theological Studies in Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic Themes
How I Love Your Torah, O Lord!: Literary And Theological Explorations On The Book Of Deuteronomy

How I Love Your Torah, O Lord!: Literary And Theological Explorations On The Book Of Deuteronomy

Like the book of Romans in the New Testament, the book of Deuteronomy provides the most systematic and sustained presentation of theology in the Old Testament. And like the...

How I Love Your Torah, O Lord!: Literary And Theological Explorations On The Book Of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy (The NIV Application Commentary)

Deuteronomy (The NIV Application Commentary)

Arranged as a series of sermons, the book of Deuteronomy represents the final major segment of the biography of Moses. The sermons review events described in earlier books...

Deuteronomy (The NIV Application Commentary)
Sepher Torath Mosheh: Studies in the Composition and Interpretation of Deuteronomy

Sepher Torath Mosheh: Studies in the Composition and Interpretation of Deuteronomy

When it comes to discussions related to the composition and interpretation of the books in the Old Testament, few other books are more contested than Deuteronomy. Even among...

Sepher Torath Mosheh: Studies in the Composition and Interpretation of Deuteronomy

Dr. Daniel Block



National Festivals - Deut. 16.1-7

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] In our previous session, we talked generally about feasting in the presence of the Lord, whether that feast is actually in his very presence at the central sanctuary or feasting at home with the assumption that we're God's people are there. The Lord is. This is the Hebrew understanding. It is not just where two or three are gathered in my name. All of life is sacred, including meals. But now I want to focus on the gatherings that were national gatherings for the Israelites to keep alive the memory of God's grace. And covenant maintaining the faith of Israel through national festivals. And this is Deuteronomy chapter 16. Now, when we move from 1519 to 16 without warning, Moses shifts attention to from generosity to economically marginalized, demonstrated through soft hands and hearts and open hands. We'll come back to that in a later session. But he moves then to instructions on sacrifices offered on festive occasions. Building on Chapter 12 two through 14. The structure of this section is clear. Again, the chapter division is not quite right. It should have come after 1518. But you will see here we've got unscheduled feasting in the presence of Yahweh and at home. 1519 to 23. This involves consecration of the firstborn of your flock. Well, that doesn't happen according to the calendar. Well, in generally, I mean, lambs tend to be born in spring, but it's not coordinated with the birth dates of all the lambs in Israel. When you're you has her first lamb. You go and offer it as a. So this is unscheduled, but it happens because God delights in people in his presence. Come, bring it. I'd like to see you again. But then you have the scheduled feasting in the presence of the Lord at the central sanctuary, the Festival of Passover.


[00:02:39] Pesach and the Festival of Weeks shoveled and the Festival of Booths circles. And then it ends with a summary statement feasting in the presence of the Lord. The first section is prefatory. It's a preface to our concern here. Our primary current concern is national festivals. But apart from the national festivals, Israelites were invited into the presence of the Lord at the Central Sanctuary. Whenever. As if God could not get enough of fellowship with them. So whether it's the birth of a firstborn male among the cattle or sheep or goats, or an invitation by Yahweh to the household to come to the sanctuary, and each in his presence, the Lord loves to have the whole family in his presence. These young animals symbolize his delight in their fellowship as individuals and households, not just as a nation. Of course, this didn't mean they could ever treat his invitations lightly or casually. That you don't bring defective animals. Which is why he says, if the firstborn is not. Hall. You may keep the wool of the sheep the first cheerio, or you may you may slaughter it, but you don't bring it to the presence of the Lord. Defective animals were not to be wasted or treated as trash. They to represent the Lord's delight in the animals. But he authorizes them to eat their meat in their homes, provided they respected the sanctity of the life of even animals that weren't perfect. But it is a gift in any sense. Even these meals are sacrifices for an animal gives its life for the for the people in the family of God. Well, as indicated in the summary conclusion verses 16 to 18, three times year all year males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place He chooses, and then he lists them again in 1 to 17 Moses instructions.


[00:05:03] People on the three annual festivals that all males and Israels were required to attend. And of course by now I feel so self-conscious when I make this into an imperative. They were required to attend. I prefer to say invited to attend. And of course, we view it as a requirement, not as a legalistic requirement, but God's great provision of another chance to be with him. They are dealt with in three other contexts. We have them all in the Book of the Covenant. Book is an anachronism. They didn't have books in those early days, but it is the Covenant document. Exodus 2314 to 17 in the Ritual Decalogue. Exodus 3418 to 25 and in the instructions on Holiness, Leviticus 23 1 to 44. So we have references to these In his treatment of these subjects. Moses is obviously not intending to give a correction to earlier versions of the festival, control what some critical scholars say he's not subverting them, but what he is doing is offering a theology of festivals. What is the theological point? He doesn't give us a manual to guide the head of the household or whoever in the performance of the associated rituals. Rather, he. Keep the big point. The big point. And this is the theology of it all. And of course, to understand these required festivals, shall we say prescribed festivals, we need to have an idea of how the calendar works. And in Israel, the calendar started with Nissan, and then you work your way through so that the Passover and the size of these circles here reflects the length of the celebration. So the Passover is a big one. It takes a whole week, but it's associated with unleavened bread. So it's a whole week. So Passover beginning the midpoint of the first month, then shovel old Pentecost 50 days later, seven sevens of weeks in seven.


[00:07:36] Then you have some cause notice at the top end of the calendar, it's matched at the bottom end by another festival, which is not tied so directly to Israel's experience. Though Booths reminds them of what God did in the desert. So it's a festival of booze, but it is. That is not technically part of the saving event. It's God's provisioned event He provided for them in the desert, even when there was no food. So that it's there. There are other festivals, but you will notice in this way of presenting that I take the seventh day Sabbath outside of Israel's literal liturgical calendar. The seventh day. Sabbath was never described as a liturgical event. If you want to figure out what they did in church on Sunday or Saturday, in that context from the Bible, you can't figure it out. There are no instructions on how to keep the Sabbath. Holy. Other than stop work, come in from the fields. So it's not part of it. And so the seventh day, the command of the seventh day in the Decalogue is not a cultic insertion, a cultic erotic. It is an ethical moment and a spiritual moment. Well, this is my understanding of Israel's liturgical calendar. If you want to see the relationships among the three required ones, this is the way it goes. The year begins with Passover. I could never understand why God does it this way. Why doesn't he have the New Year's Day being Passover? The first day of the first month of the religious calendar, but it's on the 14th day and then shovel also 50 days later. And then in at the other end of the calendar, you have Sukkot. So let's talk about the Passover festival. Exodus 12 to 13 describes the origins of the Passover as the historical event that mark Israel's liberation from slavery, their moment of redemption and their birth as an independent nation.


[00:10:08] This is the day when the destroying angel passes over you because he sees the blood on the lintels of your doors, which means you have declared your devotion to the redeemer and your wife. And it goes on to the Egyptian houses and does his dirty work there. This is the Passover, the celebration of their birth. Instructions here differ somewhat from instructions on the festival elsewhere, especially Exodus 12 and 14. You have the charge to keep the Passover here. Instructions on keeping the Passover verse seven and then the charge to keep the festival of unleavened bread. In our text, Moses assumes these two are connected, and so it's part of one festival in Exodus 12 and 13. They are two separate things. They happen close together, but they are still you have separate texts describing the two. How about the location? This is the big problem. Exodus 12 presents the Passover as a family event observed at home. Moses Pre strives its celebration at the central sanctuary. Something has changed. There's a that's a fundamental shift. How can that be the sacrificial victim? Whereas Exodus 12 called for a lamb or a kid here, or Moses calls either for a cap provide or a bovine sheep or goat or cattle the method of cooking, whereas Exodus prohibits boiling the sacrificial meat in water. Moses is silent on the method of repairing relationship to unleavened bread. Whereas Passover and unleavened bread are linked but distinct in other contexts. He has thoroughly integrated the two into one long, protracted festival. And then finally, literary style. For the first time since the Decalogue, we encounter a text that is largely prescriptive. As opposed to homily, article or descriptive expository or hoarse story. Now we're finally getting into stuff we could call regulations.


[00:12:43] The pauses on the preaching thing. But don't don't overlook the preaching that is there, the through motive and modifying clauses. Though he seeks to engage the Israelites hearts and minds in the joy of feasting in the presence of Yea. He is still preaching here. Well, Deuteronomy provides neither a manual for worship nor technical priestly legislation about these rituals, but the instructions are for lay worshipers. When you worship, this is what you're doing. They're not for the priests who are. In fact, Passover doesn't involve the priests. They are instructions for lay worshipers guiding them in their pursuit of your way. You may seek the Lord at the place that He will choose. I love that word. You may seek the Lord. Geoffrey, T.J. rightly says that this means make pilgrimages to its shorthand for seek the face of your way at the central sanctuary. And she'll seek the Lord. It's a call for and direct encounter with God. At the place that he will choose is. Let's move then, to the shovel. I should make one more comment about what's a why? Why does Exodus say you celebrate this at home? But Deuteronomy says you go to the central sanctuary for this, as you know, Deuteronomy. The speeches here are given at the end of the journey. Tomorrow. We're in the land. Literally. I mean, literally tomorrow. Tomorrow we're settling down. Tomorrow we're killing the soil in our tribal allotments. We're living there. We're scattered all over the place. What is the point? For this festival. Everybody from all your tribal territories comes to the central sanctuary to refresh the common memory. This is what binds us together. Our common faith, our common history. Which is why when we said, when when your son asks, what's the point of all these statutes and ordinances, then you shall say we were slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out.


[00:15:35] It's keeping that memory, celebrating that memory now so long. For the past 40 years, they've been a camp on the move, on the march, and they've been all together and they have been our sacred camp so that there are specific instructions for how to keep a community clean. Even when you have laboratory functions that you've got to take care of. The whole camp is a sacred is is a holy place. But the Israelites are already camped around the central sanctuary. There's no need here to distinguish between you all you celebrate in your homes. We're right there because I can see this. I can see. I can see the the glory of the Lord over the tabernacle over there. It's in the midst of the camp, the whole town. So we are in the present. But once geography changes, your location changes. Then there is the need to specify. Hey, this is you. Call you all back together to celebrate this great moment. Let's look then at the festival of Shabu Old, which is the word for sevens. It's seven sevens. Uh, uh, which, uh, climaxes in Pentecost, which is the 50th day. So seven weeks of seven after the Passover, you have shovel all this one is never assigned a precise state on the calendar. Passover is the 14th day of the first month. This one is never tied to a date, but here Moses actually links it with the agricultural activities. Seven weeks from the time the sickle is put into the standing grain. That's the beginning of the grain harvest, the early grain harvest. It would be the barley harvest, which is the first of the grains to to mature. Seven weeks from when that harvest activity start, you move to the festival of Shovel Road.


[00:17:48] He doesn't tie it to any liturgical events. Leviticus 2315 to 16 doesn't mention the feast by name, but it defines its way, defines the timing vaguely as seven full weeks from the day after, thus the Sabbath. So that's not the seven day Sabbath, it's the Passover. So that is from the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering and 50 days to the day of after the seventh Sabbath. That's it. This does become, in a sense, a harvest festival because of the timing. But in Jewish tradition, it was much more than a harvest festival. I have taken groups to Israel four times. We our trip was aborted a year ago because of COVID. Ten days before we were to get on the plane, they called it off and everybody so, so sad. Still are. But in any case, we've been there twice or three times in May, and the newspaper headlines in May were today. Netanyahu was reading the Book of Ruth. Which is what they read at the time of shovel or the Festival of Leaks, because Naomi and Ruth come back to Israel. There's no date there, but it says at the beginning of the barley harvest. So in Jewish tradition at home, you read the Book of Ruth on this date because of the barley harvest in that book. But in the Jewish ritual at the central sanctuary, this very quickly became a covenant day for official day. When they gather, they hear the not just the Torah read, but particular. They here recite together the Decalogue. The words that God spoke from heaven, and they call it the Festival of the Giving of the law. I am sorry about the name because it reflects what I consider to be the problem.


[00:20:12] God didn't call his people to. He didn't call Israel to keep the law. He called them to himself. You've seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I brought you out of the Egypt, how I carried you on eagle's wings and brought you to myself. That's what happened in Sinai. The marriage. It's covenant. It's not law based world. It's a covenant based. This was the moment of the covenant. I'm okay with the fact that they recite the Decalogue, but I am not quite okay with the fact that they speak of this as a celebration of the giving of the law. The law is is subordinate to covenant always. Well, through the this festival links them to Sinai in its timing. This festival is rarely mentioned in the First Testament. Elsewhere, it's called Festival of Harvest Day of First Fruits or whatever. But it was celebrated 50 days after Passover later. Greek texts refer to this festival as Pentecost. But this comes at the end of it. By New Testament times. The tradition of Pentecost was calculated 50 days after Passover, or seven weeks from the first Sabbath of the week long festival of Bread. Regardless, the festival would have fallen in the month of seven May to June, so that festivals of unleavened bread and weeks respectively are the book ends of on either side of the grain harvest. Passover is the beginning of the grain harvest. This one at seven weeks after you put in the first cycle into your harvest. Although the First Testament never links the festival with Horeb Sinai. In Jewish tradition it was celebrated its they celebrated the establishment of the covenant and on this day recited the Decalogue. So a reminder of our our calendar here. We have talked about the first the two big ones at the beginning Passover and at the end you have the first of all.


[00:22:49] No, we we've talked about Shabbos. Now we need to go to the one remaining one, the the big one at at the end. I am still talking about scheduled here like Passover and the Festival of Booze. This festival was a pilgrimage festival pack. It's called a hug, actually a spelling mistake. The hag requiring all males encouraging entire households to gather at the central sanctuary. Now, this is interesting because in this text, I think we'll come back to it. But if you look, for instance, at the verse 11, you shall celebrate before the Lord, your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servant and the Levi. It's not so for the men. Yes, men and boys are required to come at legislation to come, but bring everybody. It's not that the others are excluded from worship. So pilgrims from the far corners of the land. For them, it would require a lot of effort to bring the whole family every time. But the festival is cast in the most positive light as an opportunity to celebrate together. It's also a joyful celebration with greater enthusiasm than the earlier invitations 12, 12 and 18. The catalog of participants in verse 11 includes everybody Y'all Come. And the interesting thing is even Resident Aliens. And there's no stipulation that in order to participate in these festivals, you have to be circumcised. Resident aliens presumably would not be because they are temporarily here. They are not really members of your household. Now they may be working for you. And so what he is saying is bring them along, too. And I think this is a part of the evangelistic effort. Israel is the nation of Israel and its environment is supposed to be so become so attractive that outsiders want to come and work for these people.


[00:25:11] It's bringing the mission field in. And how do we inform them of the brilliant gospel? By living it every day ourselves, of course. But then on the festival occasion, bring them along so that they may hear your story. We were slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out. And you can join in that drama. It's a magnificent way of doing evangelism. It's a memorial celebration. Breaking ranks with accounts of the Festival of weeks. Moses links the observance to Israel's experience of Egypt as previous appeals to the people's oppression at the hands of others was intended to motivate, motivate charitable conduct toward others. Here, Associating what was otherwise an agricultural festival with Egypt highlights the conviction that all Israel is and has is a gift. Like his provision of salvation in the first place, Yahoo's provision of harvest calls for free and spontaneous expressions of gratitude. Shovel. Boosts. Suckled the timing. Exodus 23 ties the festival to the end of the farming cycle. A shovel orders at the beginning. This is at the end. Technically, though, this wasn't a harvest festival. But it is. After all, the stuff you've brought in has been processed. You have stored not olives necessarily, but in the meantime you have ground, press the olives and got out the oil and you've got vats of oil in your house. You may have ground a lot of grain into flour and you've got big tubs of flour in your in your granaries or the grain is simply stored in granaries. And the grapes have been processed some. I mean, you can't keep grapes very long for in in in the climate but with without refrigerators or whatever. So much of this would be processed and then stored in that process version at the end of the processing.


[00:27:37] That's when we do the Festival of Booze celebrating the blessing of Harvest and the safe processing of the foodstuffs was the happiest of the festivals. The Lord has blessed us, and now you've got a concrete proof of everything. He has blessed the work of our hands in plowing the dirt and planting the seed, in tilling for weeds and in the harvesting and in the processing. Our hands have been very busy, hence the emphasis so often blessing the work of our hands. That's what is happening here. According to 2316 of Exodus and 3422, the festival was to be observed at the outgoing of the year. But save Hashana or at the turn of the year respectively. I'm trying to get back here. The outgoing of the year. At this point, we are not yet talking, calling it Rosh Hashanah. That is in our time. It is the Jewish New Year head of the year, as if it's the beginning, but it isn't actually the head of this year. The head of this year is the son. That's the first year. So this is very confusing in Scripture. Rorschach Sean here is head of the year. I think it's actually climax. It's like it's the peak of the year, the head of the year. But it has it did it did become in the agricultural cycle, New Year's. So if the Israelites celebrated a New Year's festival, it. Would have been there. I don't think they actually did. Not in not Orthodox Israelite. But we actually have two calendars at work at the same time. The religious calendar, the head of the year is at the beginning of Israel's history. This is the new year for you. Remember that expression in Exodus? But at the head of the year at the other end, which became to this day, New Year's Day in in Palestine, is at the bottom of the calendar, not at the in the spring.


[00:30:14] It's an autumn festival. Well, it's a joyful. What else can we say about the Festival of Booze? Celebrating the blessing of Harvest and the safe processing? It's a happy time. The Festival of Ingathering, the essence, the name so-called boosts from Stock Act to weave derived from the character of the temporary dwellings the Israelites lived in are to live in during the seven day festival. They don't build houses in Jerusalem to live in permanent play. No, they get stuff together to make boosts that'll shield them from the heat of the sun in in in the autumn and give them a little warmth in the fall at night time. But it is all temporary. If you think of it, though, this is a disaster ecologically. I mean, what a way. What a what a waste. But on the other hand, if. If the Israelites were. Historically all the way through what God wanted them to be and do. The flourishing of the land, I think would have been such that it would have been easily taken care of. It wouldn't have been a problem. Leviticus 2348 suggests the shoulders could be made of any kind of branches, palm fronds, leafy branches, willows from the brook. But yeah, you build it as a temporary. Must have been a mess in town cleaning up afterwards. Your garbage pickup services would have had lots of work for a long time here. But it's also a celebration. Some back. It's treated as an invitation to celebrate. It's a holiday, a holy day in the very true sense of the word. Like the festival of weeks in the spring. This invitation was for the whole community. Nine classes of invitees. You, your son, your daughter, your male servant. Female servant. Levi. Resident.


[00:32:28] Ariel. Father. And the widow. Like the Festival of Circle. But it is a place where we celebrate the Lord's blessing. On the efforts of human hands. Yes, you put in the work, but the fruit depends upon the blessing of God. In contrast to the deprivation and miraculous provision in the desert, God has blessed your work. You have worked hard. God rewards 16 to 17. Offer us the summary statement three times a year. All your males shall. May I prefer to have a more volunteer sense? Here may come. They make appear before the Lord your God. It's the host who invites them at the place He will choose at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and Feast of Tabernacles. A person may not appear before Yahweh empty handed. This is important. You never come to a superior. If a superior invites you into his presence, you never come without a gift. That is inappropriate. Out of respect, you bring a tribute offering, acknowledging the superior, superior status over you. I am your servant, and I gratefully accept your invitation. Thank you. And so you bring a gift. Each must bring a gift in proportion to the way the blessing that Yahoo! Your God has lavished on you. A few summary conclusions. Participants. This invitation is addressed to Bale's Zika. That is addressed to males reflects the Patrie and Andros centric character of Israelite society. You can't get away from that. It is that economically and functionally there's clear division of labor and roles in these households. It's evidence also in the masculine pronouns all the way through you and that and he it's not. It's always masculine. What is remarkable, though, is not the Andro centrism of the text, but the insistence earlier that males attending the three festivals are to bring with them their daughters female slaves and widows.


[00:35:16] They're all welcome. It's mandatory for males. But in keeping with a tone of verses 1 to 15, the invitation is open to all the command to males. But invitation to all without respect to gender or age. Identity the host rather than highlighting Yahoo! A sovereignty over Israel the Lord your way, as we saw in Exodus 23 here. The Deity Moses refers to the deity is your way, your God, all the way through your way, your God. He's not just the Lord Yahweh. I don't really know your God. The emphasis is on relationship and to appear in the presence of. This is Royal Court language. I mentioned earlier that at the end of the Kings, the King of Babylon invited Joe Hoyer. Kid, got him out of prison, invited him to eat regularly in his presence. That's a big deal. It's a huge deal. It does not in this case doesn't imply a literal showing of God's face to appear before the face of God. No, but it is due in his very direct presence. The collective significance of these festivals, their invite. The invitation goes out to every home. But the point is, God wants the whole family together three times a year. The whole extended family. As national events celebrated at a central sanctuary, these festivals were designed to keep alive the memory of Israel's origin in redemption, in covenant, in desert provision and the gift of land. All of it. It's all gift. This is the gospel. Now, of course, people are doing their family worship in their homes, whatever form that takes. We don't have much information on it, and they will have had community festivals and celebrations. And we should also say times of mourning. These would be thing those would happen in the villages all around.


[00:37:57] But three times a year. Everybody comes to the central sanctuary and they are there to celebrate God's gift of everything life itself for the nation, according to Joshua 510. The crossing of the Jordan was timed so that after they had entered the promised land, one of the first items on the agenda was celebrating the. Passover. Our new life starts with a new calendar. The Passover and unleavened bread is the first thing they do on the 14th day of the month before they launch their campaigns against the Canaanites. They paused for worship. And I suppose I've mentioned earlier that the defeat of Gerrit Cole is for this generation what the defeat of the Egyptians was to the earlier. So what they are actually doing here is celebrating the microcosmic experience of salvation represented by the earlier one, according to the First Testament records. These instructions were honored more in the breach than in the observance. The old Shakespeare thing here. It's very difficult to find many references to the people actually doing this, and this is part of the problem. They were intended to keep the people on track with really focused with him and they but they forgot very quickly. By the time you're into the book of judges, there's no hint of any of these festivals. They're not doing this. They still know that you have to gather, you know where the sanctuary is. If you want to seek the Lord's will and who shall go up first. So in the presence of Phineas that the High priest is the one who does some of those things, so we are at the central sanctuary. But these festivals two chronicles 813 notes that in the wake of his construction of the Temple, Solomon led the people in the celebration of all the holy days in Israel's religious calendar, including the three mandatory pilgrimage festivals, unleavened bread and Passover weeks and booze.


[00:40:39] But toward the end of the seventh century, as part of the reforms, the Passover was celebrated one more time. But the comments of the doctor on a mystic historian and the chronicler. Martelly Not since the days of the judges who led Israel north through the days of the kings of Israel and the kings. Had any such Passover been observed? And then you wonder why we've gone off track. The very provision God had given to keep them on track with him. The festivals has been neglected. If we don't keep reminding ourselves of our story. The Gospel as often as you gather, do this in remembrance of me. Take heed. This is my my body given for you. This is my blood shed for you. Do this. Keep doing it. Otherwise, you might think that we are self-made. And we forget or we credit other. The festival of weeks and boosts are rarely mentioned by New Testament times. It never mentions the festival of weeks by this name, but Pentecost happens three times. Acts two. Acts 20 and first Corinthians six eight. If this festival Shaibu owed involved covenant ceremonies, including the reading of the Decalogue as Jewish tradition holds, then the significance of the remarkable events on Pentecost described in Acts two are heightened dramatically. What happened at Pentecost? This is that is Pentecost. Why are these Jews in Jerusalem from all over the world? It's one of the three required festivals they have here come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Covenant. But in this gathering of Jews who believe in Jesus. The great Pentecostal moment happens. The Lord pours out his spirit on these people and it is reflected in. People speaking in languages from all over the world. This and of course, the cloven tongues of fire.


[00:43:08] Greg, Bill has a fine essay on this. This is a miniature Sinai. The fire is a sign of God's presence. And of course, the speaking in tongues is a manifestation. The Lord is here. This is a covenantal moment. This is a covenantal moment, which actually happens four times here. Peter quotes explicitly, This is the fulfillment of what Joel was saying. I will pour out my spirit on all of all on all flesh. Well, this isn't on all flesh. These are Jewish people. It's Jews who believe in Jesus are in this moment, and the Lord pours out his spirit on them. This is not the regeneration moment. This is a covenantal moment. In my interpretation, this is the moment when Yahweh seals the New Covenant community as his own. From now on, the true people of God are Jews who believe in Jesus. Apart from Jesus, there is no true membership. In the people of God. That's what's happened in my view. The interesting thing is here, we'll come back and talk a little bit more about the rest of this. This I call it the liquid metaphor. We had a private conversation yesterday about this. This liquid metaphor. I will pour my spirit on all flesh. That expression happens four times in the prophets. Well, it's actually five, but Zachariah is a different context. But it's in Joel, which Peter quotes. It's an edgy kill. 3929 at the end of the Gog and Magog story, and you have it twice in Isaiah four times. I will pour my spirit in every one of these four occurrences. It is in the moment, at the moment or after the Lord has restored his people. God has put the triangle back together again that we talked about yesterday.


[00:45:17] In every case, it looks forward to the eschatological moment when God will renew his relationship with his people. But it's always with Israel. It's always with Israel. And that's why the first time it happens, it's in Jerusalem. And it's with Jews who believe in Jesus here. This is now the defined, but it happens four times in acts. You don't have the quotation of the text, but in Acts H Samaritans believe in Jesus. The disciples go to check it out. And what happens when the apostles appear? The the same phenomena appear. What's happened now to the covenant community. It includes Samaritans who are half Jews physically because they are the the descendants of the mixed marriages between the people that the Assyrians brought into the northern Kingdom and the few people, Israelite people who stayed there. That's who they are. But they're also within the Orthodox tradition. Moses. Is there a prophet? This the only prophet they know. They have the Torah as their scripture. So they are half Jews, spiritually and physically. They are now full members of the community. It happens a third time in Acts ten. Cornelius Who's Cornelius? He's a gentile, a God, fairer in the land of Israel. You know, so we got those triangular things still happening. But here is a person with non-Jewish blood. His whole household is converted and the same phenomena happened. The boundaries have now expanded. The true community of God, the covenant community, includes Gentiles who haven't become Jews. And then finally, of course, it's in Acts chapter 19. Now we're way out there and F is us, way outside the land. And the people there come to faith after the the john the correction of the John the Baptist kind of baptism. It happens there again.


[00:47:42] And now the story is full. We can reflect this diagrammatic like something like this. You have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts four times redefining the covenant community. It happens. First, Acts two Jews in Jerusalem who believe in Jesus, Acts eight Samaritans who believe in Jesus and Acts ten, and a Roman centurion who believes in Jesus and his household. And then Ephesus Gentiles out way out there in Ephesus. This is the redefinition of the covenant community in the New Testament based upon Pentecost. It's a covenantal moment. It is not accidental. This happens at Pentecost. The Covenant is here now. The Festival of Blues is mentioned in the New Testament, only in John seven two. It was being observed in Jesus time. What lessons do these teach us? First. Lessons on worship. True worship involves an engagement with God and is focused on him. That's what this is all about, in accordance with Jesus words to the woman of Samaria. True worship focuses not on the place, but on the person. Of the Lord eating in his presence. And of course, Jesus is Yahweh incarnate. Second, true worship transpires at the invitation of the Lord and must be conducted on His terms. Everybody worships, but not everybody's worship. His true. True worship is at his invitation on his terms. True worship is communal. In worship, the redeemed gather to celebrate the kindness that God has lavished upon us as a community. We need to stop all the first person singular subjects of verbs. I love you, Lord. I mean, there's so many things wrong with that song. One of which is I. And if you ask grammatically, what's the most important part of a sentence, it's the subject. It's what it's about. And so when I'm singing I love your Lord and I lift my voice.


[00:50:21] Whom are you worshiping? It's self worship. You're singing about yourself. Our song should not be about our love for Jesus. It should be about his love for us. That's the point here. Don't forget, what he has done is not about you. God doesn't need to hear us say that. He needs to see us and live it. And celebrate his love for us. And if we're going to use first person problems, it should be we. We are God's people, the people of the Lord. We gather for corporate worship. It's not about. Close your eyes and meditate and think only about your own private thoughts. No, this is we. We're here together. But we've got this soul tipped over. True worship. Tear down barriers of gender and class and race. In the First Testament, there's no hint of marginalizing outsiders in worship. Y'all come. There is no course of the Gentiles in any First Testament temple. There's no court of women in any First Testament temple. That is an entire test of mental development. And when Paul says in Christ, there's neither male or female in June or Greek, he's not fixing an Old Testament problem. He's fixing an inter test mental issue. And so the true worship is communal in all of those respects. What else have we got? As Paul writes in Galatians, Yeah. In all, true worship is driven by a deep sense of gratitude to God for his redemption. And second, his lavish provision. All that I am or hope to be old LAMB of God. I all. To the. It's not about us. Here I am. Lord, aren't you lucky? I've come to worship you. I said the other day I could be golfing. And we feel so proud of our piety.


[00:52:43] It's not about us. And there are lots of other twisted things we do in worship. Like, Oh Lord, we invite you to this gathering. Who called the event. Who do we think we are? We barge into his house and then we invite God to come into his house. That is so twisted. It is so tipped over. We don't call the shots. In true worship. The Lord invites us. And our response as we come into his presence, we fall down on our faces and bow in submission and homage before him. I can't believe he invited me. How did I get here? By grace. Only grace. And that's what this is about. All right. That's it for. The of.