Numbers: living it up…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Numbers 29:12-32:42

Focus: Leviticus 23:33-43; Numbers 29:12-38

Each country has its own special holidays: the days of independence, unity, political significance, end of wars, etc. The ancient nation of Israel is no different. Throughout the year they had various festivals which they celebrated, one of them was their ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ (aka Booths). This celebration was to remember their freedom, their release from slavery under the yoke of Egypt, most of all, God who orchestrated and prepared the way for the people of Israel.

What is interesting is that on the first day of the celebration, in the prescribed sacrifices, 13 young bulls, 2 rams, 14 male lambs and one male goat were sacrificed. On the following days, all but the bulls remained the same, decreasing with each day until the seven day resulting with 7 young bulls made. By this point it totals, 70 young bulls, 14 rams, 98, male lambs, and 7 male goats. Why the decrease in number? Well, nobody actually knows and no details are made to explain it. My guess, it’s got something to do with the number #7. But still, I wouldn’t know why. Plus, the eighth day puts all those numbers out…and makes it even more confusing.

Nonetheless, this was a celebration, a remembrance of what God had done for them, so aside from the food, they were to live in ‘tabernacles’ or “booths”—that is, tents. They were to, tangibly, remind themselves of their lives during the Exodus period. It was a time to remind themselves how great God was, how God had blessed them so abundantly, simply God had blessed with a new lease on life. At least once a year, the people were brought face to face with what God had done for them, and they had a choice to respond.

There are no “prescribed” festivals or celebrations for us as Christians. We celebrate Easter, and we celebrate Christmas, but they aren’t prescribed celebrations. They are natural expressions of what is important to us. When we gather together for communion, it serves as a reminder of what God has done for us through Jesus. Thank God for all that He has done for us so that we might live life in freedom and truth.

Next Reading: Numbers 33:1-36:13