Leviticus 23:33 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 34 Speak to the people of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month, and lasting seven days, there shall be the festival of booths to the Lord. 35 The first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. 36 Seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the eighth day you shall observe a holy convocation and present the Lord’s offerings by fire; it is a solemn assembly; you shall not work at your occupations.
In this chapter of Leviticus there are a number of festivals which the people are to observe. The passage above describes the festival of booths (a booth is a temporary dwelling like a tent, which the Israelites lived in during their 40 years in the wilderness). In this chapter there is also a festival of weeks, the day of atonement, and the festival of trumpets.
What strikes me this morning is the expectation of rest during these festivals, as is described in v.36 “you shall not work at your occupations”. Just in case the people were tempted to work anyway there is v.30-31:
“30 And anyone who does any work during that entire day, such a one I will destroy from the midst of the people. 31 You shall do no work.”
Wow. God is serious about not working on these festival days, which begs the question “why?”. I think it’s because once the people entered the Promised Land from the wilderness they began to cultivate crops and flocks themselves rather than receiving everything directly from God (manna). When we labor to cultivate our livelihood we are tempted to think that our provision comes principally from our own efforts rather than from God. Abstaining from work was intended as a reminder to the people from whom blessings flow. I’ll close with a hymn called “The Doxology”. You may know this.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.