Father, through Zechariah, You told the people of Bethel that it was not simply the observance of anniversaries, holy festivals, feasts and fasting, which pleased You. It is the condition of my heart that You are concerned with.
While it is true that those things can be done as acts of worship to honor You, the Lord Almighty; they can also be done for the sake of the activity. You alone know the hearts of the people involved; whether they participate to please themselves or to honor You.
Father, today help me examine myself. Search my heart, look at my motives. Do not let me simply “go through the motions.” Fill my spirit!
When I praise You, I will do it with a full and sincere heart.
When I give money or time or energy, I will do it gladly as an act of worship.
When I read Your Word, I will do it with an open mind and spirit to hear and receive what You have to say to me.
When I feast or fast, I will do it not for the recognition of others, but for an audience of One – You. And whether I am celebrating Christmas or Passover I will do it with sensitivity to the spiritual meaning, not just what history or the world has made it to be.
Father, I acknowledge and thank You for Your deeds. I celebrate and trust the way You do things. I don’t always understand, because Your ways are not my ways – but I trust them. And I cannot wait until every knee bows to You, and every tongue confesses that You, indeed, are Lord! Amen!
These amazing assemblies that You had the Israelites learn and observe Lord, are more than just feasts and festivals for celebration’ sake. They are the blueprint of Your plan for salvation and will play out to the end of the age, the end of the earth. They have meaning in themselves, but are also prophetic of what is to come.
As Passover commemorates Your deliverance of the Israelites from death, by the blood of the lamb on the doorposts – Jesus IS that Passover Lamb. His blood allows me to be delivered from eternal death: separation from You.
Firstfruits being offered to the Lord show that the Israelites trust the Lord to bring in the rest of the harvest – Jesus IS the firstfruit of the risen! He was dead and is now alive, just as all who believe and die will rise to eternal life with Christ.
The Festival of Weeks is 50 days after Firstfruits. It celebrates the bringing in of the first harvest –50 days after Jesus rose there was the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit: Pentecost.
The Feast of Trumpets called Israel together to prepare for the Day of Atonement, which was ten days later. It is not tied to any historical event in Israel’s past. And this has not yet been fulfilled. Believers look to the book of Revelation: when the trumpet sounds and Jesus returns to call the living and the dead to rise for eternal judgment.
Father, how amazing that You laid out this plan, all before the foundations of the earth. You knew all that it would take to reconcile Your people to You after sin entered the world. And You have laid the groundwork for my understanding of what has happened, and what is to come, in these festivals and holy days.
Thank you that You reveal Your plan to man. Thank You that Your plan is good and true; and that I can trust You to have the sovereignty and power to make it so. Help me be mindful of the fullness of my history as a believer, both in the Old and New Testaments. And prepare me for all that is to come. Reveal Your plan to me for my life, and lend me Your strength to be obedient to it. Amen