You must celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the way I commanded you. For seven days you must eat bread that is made without yeast at the set time during the month of Abib, the month when you came out of Egypt. No one is to come to worship me without bringing an offering. “You must celebrate the Feast of Weeks. Offer to God the first things you harvest from the crops you planted in your fields. You must celebrate the Feast of Shelters in the fall, when you gather all the crops from your fields. So three times during every year all your males must come to worship the Lord God.” Exodus 23:15-17
Sometimes we seem to float in and out of seasons, and other times there’s a marked time for something specific within a season. Let’s take a look at the feasts referred to in Exodus 23.
The Feast of the Unleavened Bread marks God’s deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt and set them apart as God’s holy people. It is a seven day feast that falls somewhere in the months of March/April, and it begins immediately following Passover. In addition to daily offerings, eating anything with yeast is forbidden. (Yeast symbolizes sin.)
The Feast of Weeks occurs in May or June and is 50 days following the Feast of Firstfruits (which falls on the day after the first Sabbath following Passover, so you can see how it relates to the Feast of the Unleavened Bread). It marks the giving of the law, or Mosaic covenant, 50 days after crossing the Red Sea. God is thanked for his blessings by the giving of firstfruits of the wheat harvest.
The Feast of Shelters is an eight-day feast in September or October, marking God’s provision of the tabernacle as well as provision through the land. Families build a temporary tent to live in during the feast and celebrate the harvest of fruits such as grapes and olives, which typically coincides with the Feast of Shelters.
Two of these feasts are clearly related to New Testament events and continued celebrations among Christians. The Feast of Unleavened is related to the Last Supper and Jesus’ crucifixion, and the Feast of Weeks is related to Pentecost.
Each of these feasts has a designated time, and each requires specific response.
What are nonnegotiable events on your calendar around the year?
Think beyond church-related commitments. What is inked into your calendar versus penciled into your calendar?
God wants us to be flexible, sensitive to his leading. He doesn’t want us to get so regimented that our schedules run our lives. He also doesn’t want us personally running our calendars. He wants to keep our calendars in his care.
I was a paper-based calendar girl for a long time. It made me a bit nervous to keep it all on my phone (which was actually a bit funny, because I generally like to try new things). I was also a pencil girl. I wanted everything written in pencil in case I needed to make adjustments. I used the phrase “I’ll ink you in” when I was committing to something with no question of backing out, but I didn’t actually ink anything into my book. I finally realized how ridiculous it was that I was carrying around a book at all times – even if it was small – when I could still “pencil” things into my phone (it’s called editing), and even if I lost my phone, I’d have my calendar, because I keep it synced.
When I look at my calendar online, I often notice the “share” option. I can share my calendar with others and assign rights, such as “view only,” “limited edit,” or “administrative,” which means the person with this permission can do anything with my calendar that I can do.
I want God to have administrative rights to my calendar. In fact, it would be better if he had all administrative rights, and I had limited editing rights so that I couldn’t delete some of the things he wants me to do that I would really prefer to avoid!
When we trust God with appointed times, we’re trusting him to create rich seasons in our lives. He knows the best time for each relationship, conflict, struggle, and celebration. He knows when we need a little more and when we need a little less. He knows where we’re going to flounder and flail, and he knows when we’re going to feel as if we’re in a sweet spot. He knows the impact each person in our life is going to have on us and the impact we have on others.
We struggle through our appointments, because we try to define them according to how we experience them. We only know the limited context, so the decisions we make in our own strength and insight don’t take into account the complete overview of our life. Only God has that perspective.
What has God inked on your calendar lately, and how did you respond?
What does God have inked on your calendar for the immediate future?
You might not know for sure, but you can be sensitive to his plans. Most important, you can set your own priorities aside – unless your priority is to give and trust God with administrative rights to your calendar.