The three required feasts for the nation of Israel are Unleavened Bread, Harvest and Ingathering. The Feast of Unleavened Bread follows Passover. The Feast of Harvest, sometimes called the Feast of Weeks, is celebrated 50 days (seven weeks) after the Feast of Unleavened Bread (known as the day of Pentecost in the NT). The Feast of Ingathering is also called Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. It is held at the end of the final harvest for the year. Leviticus 23 lists all the appointed feasts of Israel by describing them as "holy convocations". This list begins with the Sabbath.
These feasts were celebrations to the LORD for His goodness and bounty to the people of Israel specifically timed around the harvest of various crops. It was a time of great joy and celebration for the nation. Notice the instruction for all those in attendance to bring an offering to the LORD. The NIV translates Ecclesiastes 10:19 as "A feast is made for laughter".
When we gather with God's people, is it a time of joy and celebration? Would it be appropriate to call our gatherings a "holy convocation"? What do we each bring to the Lord as we gather?
Lord God, You know the need Your people have to worship You, to celebrate and rejoice in all Your blessings. We also need to spend time together to remind and encourage each other. May our gatherings as Your church properly reflect all You desired by referring to them as a holy gathering.
2 Corinthians 11:1-16
Does love include responsibility? Paul's love for the church at Corinth is obvious and he does feel responsible for their spiritual welfare. To which other church did he write three letters? One is not included in Scripture but is referenced in 1 Corinthians 5:9. His sense of responsibility, which he describes as divine jealousy, demanded he confront their willingness to believe falsehood. His desire is to present them as the pure bride of Christ, yet they seem ready to accept another husband, another Jesus. Paul is afraid they will succumb to temptation just as Eve.
He describes those through whom the temptation comes as false apostles, deceitful workmen and servants of Satan. They have presented themselves as super-apostles. Their boastfulness requires Paul to boast also, not in the Lord but foolishly. After listing what he has suffered for the gospel, Paul says he will only boast in what shows his weakness.
We are so blessed to have the full instruction of the Apostles, the completed New Testament. The early church did not have this blessing. It would seem, therefore, the 21st century church should be less susceptible when presented with a false Jesus, Spirit or Gospel. Yet this seems so rampant today. Professing Christians seem willing to accept whatever they are told by the "professionals" rather than reading and studying God's word for themselves.
Lord Jesus, You have blessed Your bride with men like Paul who accept the responsibility of caring for Your church. Thank You for each of them. I pray You would strengthen their resolve to lovingly guard Your bride. Please increase Your bride's ability to discern truth from lie. May we have eyes to see through the various disguises Satan and his servants use to lead us away from You.