The Scriptorium

Feasts of Weeks and Tabernacles

God wants us to celebrate. Deuteronomy 16.9-17

A Holy Community: Deuteronomy 15, 16 (5)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 111.1, 2
Praise the LORD!
I will praise the LORD with my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
The works of the LORD are great,
Studied by all who have pleasure in them.

Psalm 111.1, 2

(Manoah: When All Your Mercies, O My God)
Praise the Lord! O let my heart give praise here amid His chosen race!
Your works are great, O Lord, and sought by all who know their grace.

Today’s Text: Read Deuteronomy 16.9-17

Preparation
1. What was offered at the Feast of Weeks?

2. How long did the Feast of Tabernacles last?

Meditation
Passover celebrated the saving grace of God for His people. The Feasts of Weeks and Tabernacles celebrated His ongoing and sustaining grace, as the people experienced in the early and later harvests and throughout the year.

The Feast of Weeks – Pentecost – brought the people together with whatever they could bring from the first fruits of their early harvest (v. 10). The “freewill offering” was not a tithe; rather, the people gave what they could, as the Lord blessed each household. It was held at the central place, and the offerings were enjoyed and distributed according to the typical plan, to care for the needs of Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows.

The Feast of Tabernacles (or Ingathering, Ex. 34.22) was a week-long celebration in late summer/early fall, after the gathering of the remaining harvest. Leviticus 23.35ff provides more details on this feast, which consisted of daily offerings and holy convocations. Numbers 29.12-17 specifies the particular offerings which were to be given for each of the days of the feast. The offerings covered the gamut of Israel’s flocks, herds, and harvests, thus allowing the people to show their gratitude toward God for His gifts, and their confidence in His ongoing provision.

God promised to protect the properties of His people when they came together for these feasts (Ex. 34.22-24). He does not require of us acts of obedience that jeopardize our wellbeing. He cares for us as we obey, to make all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Rom. 8.28).

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Ever wonder if we believers miss the whole point of holidays? God knows that we love celebrations, and so He has given us multiple ways to enjoy ourselves; but we must enjoy ourselves His way. We get so focused on ourselves that we miss the glorious purpose of rejoicing in Him. “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful” (Ps. 33.1). “This is the day the LORDhas made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118.24). “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4.4) “Rejoice always…” (1 Thess. 5.16) “…your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1.7-9). And these are God’s expectations for us on regular days! So now that we know, the point of all the rest of the holidays, communions, baptisms, and worship services that we participate in should be overwhelmingly about rejoicing before the LORD our God!

Reflection

1. What “feast days” do we as Christians celebrate? What’s the purpose of each of these?

2. How can we enter these “feast days” better prepared to rejoice in the Lord?

3. How can each day of your life feature more time rejoicing in the Lord?

he exhorts and excites them to willingness, because the service of God brings this rejoicing; for there is nothing which ought more to stimulate us to obedience, that when we know that God rather consults our good than seeks to obtain any advantage from us. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 16.11

Your blessings each day are so many, O Lord! Thank You for caring for me, so that I can…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 111.3-10
God is always good to us, always abounding in grace and provision. Make a point throughout this day to give Him thanks and praise for His sovereign goodness.

Psalm 111.3-10
(Manoah: When All Your Mercies, O My God)
For Your work is full of splendor, Lord, and of majesty most pure;
Your righteousness, O glorious God, forever will endure!

You have caused Your many wondrous works to remain before our face.
For You are full of mercy, Lord, and abounding all in grace.

For all who fear You, You provide; Your covenant endures.
Your pow’r You show Your people, Lord, and make the nations theirs.

The works of Your all-sovereign hands are faithful, Lord, and just.
Your precepts ever more are true and worthy of our trust.

You have sent redemption, to us, Lord, in Christ of cov’nant fame,
and we in wonder, grace, and awe adore Your holy Name.

All they who would true wisdom know must learn to fear You, Lord,
and in that wisdom daily live and praise You evermore.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore