And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work, and ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days. — Numbers 29:12
When I was nineteen years old, the Lord saved me. I had gone to church all my life but never knew that God could make a change in my heart or that He cared about me as an individual. At that time, I worked two jobs, seven days a week. The minister told me about our yearly two-week church camp meeting, which took place in Portland, Oregon. He said that it was like “Heaven on earth” and by going, one could set aside the cares of life and draw closer to God without the interruptions of daily routine. For me to go to camp meeting would take a lot of preparation. I had to get time off from both jobs, but I made the effort and succeeded.
As I walked onto the campground that first time, I felt like I needed to take my shoes off. There was a clear sense that I was on holy ground. People from all over the world were there for the same purpose I was: to focus on the treasures of God, and to worship with God’s people. We were inspired to set aside cares and concentrate on the riches of the Gospel. I heard about the precepts of God’s Word, and felt encouraged to stand fast in the faith. For me, it was the start of learning about the deeper precepts of God and His love. It was a time to renew my commitment to God, and I realized that camp meeting was the perfect opportunity to take a “spiritual holiday” at least once a year.
How easy it is to be caught up in the busyness of life! We may feel that we run from one appointment and activity to another. Where does God fit in all that busyness? Truly knowing God will take effort on our part. It will have to be the first priority in our lives. We will need to set aside some other activities and cares of life, and make a conscious effort to focus on Him. What will be the results of those efforts? Just like my camp meeting experience, we will find it well worth the investment, and the blessings will far outweigh any sacrifices.
Convocation means, “A sacred assembly or calling together of the people of Israel for rest and worship.” Whenever the word convocation appears in the Bible, it is preceded by the word holy; hence, “holy convocation.”
Israel’s special festivals, like the weekly Sabbath, reflected a pattern of sevens — pointing back to God setting the seventh day apart as a special day at creation. These times were ordained by God, and were times of celebrating with Him.
God’s sacred assemblies for the Israelites were designed to instruct them in holiness, remind them of their covenant relationship with God, and provide them with opportunities for worship. These holy convocations or assemblies were appointed for specific times and were to be observed by all Israelites. The feasts and festivals of Israel were community observances. The poor, the widow, the orphan, the Levite, and the sojourner or foreigner were invited to most of the feasts. The accounts of these feasts suggest a “potluck” type of meal, with some parts of the meal reserved for the priests and the rest given to those who gathered at the Temple or the altar for worship.
The Day of Atonement was a recognition of the people’s inability to make any atonement for their sins. It was a solemn, holy day accompanied by elaborate ritual. The Seventh Month festival was introduced with the blowing of trumpets, the cessation of labor, and sacrifices. All of the feasts were marked by thanksgiving and joyous feasting. The purpose of the festivals was spiritual: a great and glorious meeting of God and His people.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Events on the plain of Moab
B. The preparation for entering Canaan
2. Miscellaneous instructions
c. The regulations concerning various offerings
(6) The Feast of Trumpets offerings (29:1-6)
(7) The Day of Atonement offerings (29:7-11)
(8) The Feast of Tabernacle offerings (29:12-38)
(a) First day (29:12-16)
(b) Second day (29:17-19)
(c) Third day (29:20-22)
(d) Fourth day (29:23-25)
(e) Fifth day (29:26-28)
(f) Sixth day (29:29-31)
(g) Seventh day (29:32-34)
(h) Eighth day (29:35-38)
(9) The conclusion (29:39-40)
d. The regulations concerning vows (30:1-16)
(1) Vows of men (30:1-2)
(2) Vows of women (30:3-16)
Do you feel tired and far from God? Try taking a “spiritual holiday!” Separate yourself from your daily routine and concentrate on renewing your commitment to God. God wants you to set aside special days for Him, to rest, to worship, and to remember with thanksgiving all that He has done for you.