Strange as it is to our natural mind, when studying the holy scriptures we begin to notice that God not only provided redemption for His people, He also apparently designed a rhythm and a lifestyle for us.
Upon close examination of the scriptures, we uncover that God designed the year to hang upon an agricultural calendar. He invited His people into periodic stoppings and musings, rejoicings and feastings. He also arranged for and intended that His followers would look UP at least once every month (and not just at one phase in history but for all time) to remember the miraculous hanging of the moon (see Isaiah 66:22-23). Viewing the moon, the closest object in the firmament, is a representative glance into the heavens. Why? Because by remembering the cycle of agriculture (that the Almighty brings forth life from the earth—yes, from mere dead dirt—and hangs celestial heavens above us; we look down AND up) we find ourselves worshiping.
Such a design for our year’s celebrations! He keeps us “on the press” of cultivating an expanding awe. By continually “looking”, throughout the year, we discover that there is a depth of mystery embedded in what we are encouraged to look at. From mere agricultural glances we are led eventually to the profundity that “the earth will [also] give birth to her dead!” (Isaiah 26:19). Aha! Our experience of agriculture is an object lesson, a look at a precursor and microcosm of what happens to redeemed humans! They get resurrected, after a perplexing and long time of itching and churning in the dark, dank earth. Further, by contemplating the moon we gradually come to realize that we ourselves will live with a “limitless Him” in a large universe—will inherit the firmament and the earth—will traverse there, and here, in another realm that is beyond time.
Without such frequent reminders to partake of earthly and heavenly gazes, we descend into a narrow materialism. Make no mistake, the person who kicks God out of His story does not sit in neutral. The vacuum is quickly filled with trivia. He or she (in partnership with Hallmark cards, etc.), immediately and hastily designs another kind of year, a materialistic counterfeit year, to absorb us. We leap from Halloween to Groundhog Day, soon followed by Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, and then to an Easter Bunny Easter, while also filling our calendars with competing and exhausting birthday rituals, concluding each “year” with a tinseled, frenetic and vain Christmas, to ...etc… We exchange looking downward and upward at the miraculous, for looking inward at an “endless shallow me-ism.”
The seven Biblical feast days (initially spoken of in Leviticus 23, but seen continually throughout scripture) perhaps come for a reason, from “the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful… whose wisdom is magnificent!” (Isaiah 28:29).
To read about the Biblical holidays, download our free eBook: Jewish [Biblical] Holidays Made Simple.