What does it say?

Instructions concerning the priesthood continue (Lev 22). The previous chapter emphasized physical conditions that disqualify for service in the priesthood, and this chapter focuses on the ceremonial purity necessary for the priesthood and instructions concerning the priests’ offerings.

Seven feasts dominate Israel’s calendar (Lev 23), and they are extensions of the same principle of setting apart the seventh day as a holy assembly and time of rest. The first three are clustered together in the spring (Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits). Pentecost (Weeks, or Harvest) is a stand-alone feast 50 days after Passover. The third cluster of feasts is in the fall (Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles).

What does it mean?

You’ll have a hard time relating to most of details relating to the priests, but the final verses (22:31-33) explain that God’s purpose is that his name be honored. All these detailed rules and procedures are to bring glory and honor to him.

The feasts of Israel are a vital part of national life. You’ll see them over and again as we travel through the Bible. Don’t try to force understanding or symbolism in each detail. Oh, there’s plenty of symbolism to go around! For the moment, though, focus on the big picture. These feasts punctuate the life of Israel, along with the Sabbath. They are obligatory moments to pause from daily and self-serving activities to reflect on God, the meaning of existence and the mission to which they are called.

How will I respond?

The details of the Law do not directly apply to me. What does apply is that my life should bring honor to God, just as the Israelites’ lives were to do. Jesus taught us to pray saying, Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed (honored) be thy name … Does my life honor God? Is there something in my life that dishonors God that I need to turn loose of today?

The great emphasis on the Sabbath and the feasts should cause me to seriously reflect on the priority I give or not to the assembly of believers. I tend to rush through life like I’m working down a checklist. What step can I take today to set aside specific time in my busy schedule to be quiet with God and reflect on the meaning of my life, purpose and place in his mission.