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Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. - Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NLT)
Oh, boy! This is where it gets really good!
Y’all know I like food. I like to cook, I like to entertain, and I don’t even mind the cleanup. Basically, if there’s a party going on, I want to be right in the middle of it. #extrovertlife #poorintrovertedhusband
I’m so glad our God is a partying kind of God! You realize we’re going to party forever, right? God Himself established seven feasts for His people to enjoy. They were designed to remind us that the outward requirements of the Law are meaningless without an inward relationship with the living God.
God is serious about His parties, too. He actually got on (that’s Southern-speak for reprimanded) the children of Israel (Isaiah 1:13-14) because of the hypocritical way in which the feasts were kept.
Here’s why: These feasts are shadows, friends, prophetically pointing to Yeshua Ha Meschiach, Jesus the Messiah. The words attributed to them should be an easy connection for us to make.
Unleavened Bread: Sanctification
Trumpets: Messiah’s Return
Yom Kippur: Repentance and Salvation
It’s a swim in the deep end, but hang with me.
There are four feasts in the Spring and three in the Fall. Three of the seven were known as “pilgrimage” feasts, during which all observant Jews were required to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate together.
The first feast of Spring is Passover, the foundational feast established for God’s people, memorializing the flight from Egypt into the wilderness, heading to the Promised Land. It celebrates God’s work of rescuing and redeeming His people from slavery into freedom.
The hair on the back of my neck is starting to stand up, friends! We’ll spend the rest of the week talking about what it means to have God “pass over” the death and decay in your life to rescue you for REAL life. No more shadow-life. It’s Son-life for you and me.
Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness. - Exodus 5:1 (NLT)
I know you heard it, too. … as you read the first four words of today’s verse. The voice of Charlton Heston. Fresh from an encounter with a burning bush, eyes ablaze as he confronted Pharaoh in the classic movie, The Ten Commandments.
Ten plagues followed, Pharaoh’s own son perishing, before he relented and sent Israel packing into the desert. It’s estimated that the time from beginning to end of the plagues was several months. Blood, frogs, lice, locusts, flies, livestock, boils, hail and darkness didn’t quite do the trick for arrogant Egypt.
But God was about to demonstrate that He alone holds the keys to death and life. The hour was midnight. The Lord passed over the land, striking the firstborn of each family, including livestock. Men and beasts, wiped from existence in an instant.
Only the Israelites were left intact -- kids, cows and all. Enslave My people, practice idolatry, refuse to acknowledge Me, and all you hold dear will disappear. In a snap of His mighty finger. He ain’t playin’.
God had asked them to paint their doorposts with lamb’s blood. His Spirit would pass over their houses, leaving them unharmed. Ever wonder why He had them paint the opening of their homes with lamb’s blood that night? And why did it need to be a lamb?
So He would recognize them? Really? The God who knitted them together in their mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13) wouldn’t know His own? No, the lesson of the lamb would come later, once the commemoration began.
Before one step was taken toward the wilderness, God began the redemptive rescue of His children. Paint the posts, people.
Exactly 430 years of bondage and slavery caused the children of Israel to cry out to the one Person who could deliver them. Listen, when you’re finally tired of what binds you up, cry out to the right One. He will answer.
And what His mouth speaks, His right arm of power delivers.