Reading: Exodus 23:14-33
Israel will inherit the Promised Land which is currently occupied by ungodly nations. When Israel moves in and gradually needs more territory these nations will be driven out by God, little by little (vs 30). The nations’ gods and feasts are attractive to the carnal flesh and can become a snare for Israelites. So God warns: “You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars. So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water … You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you” (vss 24, 25, 32, 33).
To help the Israelites keep away from the sinful heathen feasts God institutes His own feasts. In this passage three are instituted: the feasts of Unleavened Bread (preceded by Passover), Harvest, and Ingathering. These are not to be celebrated privately at home; the believers are to gather together, expressing their unity in faith and thankfulness to the Lord.
The LORD tells Moses “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” ’ ” (Leviticus 23:2). God said earlier that Israel is “a special treasure to Me above all people” (Exodus 19:5). Therefore they must joyfully celebrate the feasts of the Lord, not the feasts of the idols. See how God blesses His covenant people: He even institutes feasts to be enjoyed by His church. At the same time He preserves them from temptation to join sinful heathen feasts.
Key text: Exodus 23:25 “So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water.”
Question: How it the church preserved against temptations to join sinful heathen feasts today?