SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” (Leviticus 23:4)
Prior to this time, the Lord had given the Children of Israel guidelines and laws regarding different aspects of life — some as guidelines for daily living, and some as means of approaching His holiness and majesty. In this chapter, God established the religious calendar for the people by indicating that certain days were to be special national holidays and should be set apart.
Like the Sabbath Day, which the Lord had instituted previously as a day of rest in which people were to celebrate God’s omnipotence as sole creator of Heaven and earth, these special days were also days of rest. They were to be observed as holy assemblies in which the people collectively and individually celebrated specific acts of God’s goodness.
Israel’s feasts contrasted greatly with the festivities (religious and secular) of the pagan nations surrounding them. Instead of being times of moral depravity, these celebrations were times when the people came together for fellowship and worship. These celebrations or feasts were meant to remind the Children of Israel that God was the Creator of their lives, that it was He who gave them their abundance and granted them freedom, and that it was He who was their spiritual Benefactor.
The feasts established in this chapter were:
- The Feast of the Passover – This feast marked God’s deliverance of the people from Egyptian bondage.
- The Feast of Harvest (also known as Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks) – A harvest festival, observed after the people had offered (the firstfruits) of their crops.
- The Feast of Trumpets – This feast was a nine-day-long preparation for the Day of Atonement.
- The Feast of the Day of Atonement – The day in which sacrifices were made for the atonement of the people and priest.
- The Feast of Tabernacles – This feast required the people to re-enact their wilderness experience by dwelling in tents (booths).
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- Why were the people required to celebrate the Day of Atonement? (Leviticus 23:26-32)
Sin is an abomination to the Lord, whether it is found in an individual or a nation. For the Children of Israel to find God’s favor, a price had to be paid in anticipation of Christ’s final sacrifice for sin. The Day of Atonement foreshadowed Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
- Each feast included rest. Why do you think God required rest as a part of the feasts?
God wanted the Children of Israel to understand that these feast days were holy and set apart from other days in their usual schedule. Stopping their normal labor enabled the Israelites to focus on God and on what each feast represented and how good He had been to them. Ask your class: What lesson does this teach us? The thought should be brought out that it is to our benefit to set aside special times when we cease our normal routines for the purpose of focusing on God. Camp meeting would be a good example of this concept.
- Why do you think sacrifice was featured in each feast? Why is personal sacrifice important today?
Sacrificing to God involved worship, dedication, and adoration. It was a way the Children of Israel could honor God who had done so much for them.
Personal sacrifice is important today for many of the same reasons and it helps us see our smallness next to God’s greatness. As we submit to God, our communion with Him and our appreciation of Him will grow. Ask your class: What might be some wrong reasons for sacrifice?
- These feasts were times set aside for the Lord. What are ways we can set aside time for him in these busy days?
We can set aside time for God by having a place in our schedule for Bible reading, prayer and meditation. We can take time to frequent His House for worship and fellowship. We can be willing to take a few moments to be of service to others in His name, whenever we see a need.
- God wanted the Children of Israel to keep the Passover celebration as a remembrance. Why is it good for us to recall present and past blessings from the Lord? Name some ways we can do this.
God loves to hear the thanksgiving of His people. Not only does thanksgiving please God, but it does us good as well. As we go through difficult times in our lives, the memories of past blessings and answers to prayer help our faith to remain strong. Remembering also helps us to appreciate God more and to know how much He loves us. Lead your class in compiling a list of practical ways we can remember our blessings.
- Looking at verse 22, how does God regard the poor?
God has compassion on the poor and needy. He desires that His people look out for those who are less fortunate. It is interesting that, rather than commanding the Children of Israel to reap and divide among the poor, He told them to leave a portion in the field to be gleaned by the poor, showing His desire for all who are able to work for what they consume.
- God asked the Children of Israel to bring an offering of the firstfruits of the crop. How can we do this today?
God always desires our best. The firstfruits were the very finest of the crops. God expects us to honor Him by putting Him first in our love, devotion, time, and tithe.
- Why do you think God commanded the Children of Israel to dwell in booths to remind them of the time Israel spent in the wilderness? Why should we recall Israel’s wilderness experience?
God wanted Israel to remember the hard lessons as well as the blessings. The Children of Israel dwelled in the wilderness for forty years because of their unbelief in God’s promises and because of their murmuring and complaining. If we are tempted to complain or doubt God’s plan for our lives, we should stop and remember that it displeases God. This can encourage us to submit to His plan and then focus on the blessings that are ahead.
God ordained special days for the Children of Israel as times for them to focus on Him and worship Him. Let us make sure we set aside time in our busy lives to do the same.
Note: “The Five Feasts in Leviticus 23” handout is not included in the student version.