(2015 SIH Thanksgiving 12-Part Devotional Series)
INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:
Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us a condensed version of God’s instructions about the Jewish “Feast of Booths” (also referred to as “The Feast Of Tabernacles”). This wonderful Jewish feast will be the subject for this Thanksgiving devotional series.
You might be wondering why this feast is a good subject for a Thanksgiving series. It is because the two main goals of this feast are the exact same goals that every Christian should strive to attain during their Thanksgiving Day celebration…
1. To cause a remembrance of the Lord’s gracious workings.
2. To develop an attitude of appreciation in these workings.
By our Lord’s grace, during the course of this study our hearts will be pointed towards accomplishing both of these goals during this Thanksgiving holiday series.
(Please note: If you are interested in a fuller study of this feast, refer to Numbers 29:12-38 for more details. For this devotional series, due to its length, we will only be looking at the shorter text on this subject found in Leviticus 23:33-44)
Leviticus 23:36 (KJV) – “Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it [is] a solemn assembly; [and] ye shall do no servile work [therein].”
Leviticus 23:36 (ESV) – “For seven days you shall present food offerings to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the LORD. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.
Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD:
During the seven days of the observance offerings “made by fire” were to be made. When many different offerings were given to the Lord, some of them were required to be burnt by fire. These offerings were to be laid upon an altar and totally consumed by the flame. The act of burning the offering illustrated for the Jews three very important truths about their service to the Lord:
1. Their acts of service to the Lord were to be done in a spirit of total submission and dedication to the Lord.
The offering was a picture of their service to the Lord, giving that offering over to the priest was a symbolic representation of their work being dedicated entirely to their Lord. They were to give all to Him and hold back nothing for their own personal use.
2. Their acts of service to the Lord, many times, would result in earthly loss.
They would suffer loss of the offering (giving up a lamb, bird, harvest first fruits etc) as it was totally consumed in the flames.
This pictures our service to Christ which may hold little, or no earthly benefits for us … we may be mocked, ridiculed and shunned for our service to Him.
3. Their acts of service to the Lord, would be accepted in heaven and reap eternal rewards.
As the Jewish offerings were burned, the smoke ascended into the clouds, representing their earthly service ascending into the heavens to the throne of God. Although our acts of service many times suffer earthly loss, they will always receive for us eternal, heavenly, gain!
on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD:
On the day following this 7 day observance, God’s people were to hold another gathering that was dedicated to the Lord. During this holy convocation burnt offerings were to be made reminding them of the need for total surrender of their lives in appreciation for all the Lord has done for them.
it [is] a solemn assembly; [and] ye shall do no servile work [therein]
This eighth day was to be a “solemn assembly”, in other words, a “gathering of restraint” or “a meeting of detention”. In other words, the basic attitude during this assembly was to bring all motives, desires and thoughts into the captivity of the Lord as their hearts and minds entirely dwelled upon Him and His goodness to them.
Folks, in this devotional, we have clearly revealed to us several truths about our acts of service to Christ…
1. Our service to the Lord involves total dedication to the Lord.
2. Our service to the Lord may cause us to suffer earthly loss.
3. Our service to the Lord will reap eternal rewards for us.
4. Our service to the Lord is encouraged when we recognize His blessings and come to a freah appreciation of them.
5. Our service to the Lord (including our times of recognition and appreciation of His blessings) involved putting to death our fleshly desires and motives.
Satan will oppose our every effort to come to a greater appreciation of our Lord and he will use our minds and desires to do just that. Satan will bring to our thoughts all of the responsibilities that we will face during the Thanksgiving holidays… our need to prepare meals, traveling to relatives, spend time caring for our children, getting ahead at work to prepare for our time off etc etc. All of these type of things he will try to place ahead of our quiet time of reflection.
Folks, may we being a new period of dedication and service to our Lord this holiday season by putting our flesh into submission to the Lord’s desires. Take time out to recognize and appreciate His blessings and then using this new-found appreciation to energize us to serve Him in greater ways using our calling, gifts and human talents He has so graciously given to us!
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