There were actually seven Jewish Feast Days (see Leviticus 23). Moses at this point emphasizes four.
The Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and the Feast of Tabernacles. These holy days looked back to God’s faithfulness and Israel’s history; but they also celebrated God provision of grace and grain. It would be a time of joy, “You shall rejoice before the LORD your God…” (Deuteronomy 16:11).
Three times a year the men were to called to appear before the LORD (Deuteronomy 16:16-17) at the Feast of Passover & Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The rest of the family would usually join them, but there’s always something special when the men get together, guys gathered for God.
Moses goes on to give some general laws that would prevent the land from being “polluted,” including the appointing of just judges in the land (Deuteronomy 16:18:20); the mandate for no idolatrous images to be erected (Deuteronomy 16:21-22), and the command never to give to God their defective leftovers in the sacrifices to Him (Deuteronomy 17:1). All these would be instrumental in maintaining a holy and loving relationship with the LORD.
In Deuteronomy 17:2-13 we have crimes punishable by death including idolatry and anarchy. Israel was definitely accountable to God – more than other nations. If only they had yielded to God’s laws, which were wise and given for their own good, they would have been abundantly blessed.
God knew that the day would come when Israel no longer wanted to be a divine theocracy, when they would demand to become a human monarchy, like the rest of the world (1 Samuel 8:5-7). So the LORD give the laws for the future king in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.
Again, if only their kings would have listened to God’s law – specifically given to them as the servant leaders of the land! Sadly, King Solomon was the chief violator of these laws. In spite of the wonderful wisdom given to him, he clearly disobeyed the commands for the king.
Not to multiply horses.
Not to multiply wives.
To write a copy of God’s law and read it every day…in order to live it.
To stay humble and obedient.
The only way a human king had a sliver of a chance to lead Israel to national prosperity, is if he trusted God and stayed loyal to Him. God had to be his defense, his love, and the Word of God exercised in humility would be the key.
King Herod the Tetrarch was curious about Christ; He wanted to see Him “perform,” but he wasn’t genuinely interested in the power of God behind all that Jesus did, the signs of the Savior. It’s for that reason that when Jesus did eventually see Herod, He didn’t speak a word to him (Luke 23:8-9).
The feeding of the five thousand men (plus women and children – Matthew 14:21) is recorded in all four Gospels. God wants to make sure we see the majesty and deity of Christ in this, along with His heart and compassion. Can you imagine feeding that many people (maybe fifteen thousand or more) with just five loaves and two fish? The funny thing is, He didn’t even need that, but when we give to God all that we have, even though it’s essentially “nothing,” God will meet every need and do His wonderful works in blessing the people.
At that time there were plenty of opinions about Jesus’s identity, but ultimately the opinions of others does not matter any – what matters is who do you say He is, who do I say He is? That’s where Jesus was going with this question and Peter got it right when he identified Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah – the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King.
Jesus predicts the cross a couple of times in this chapter (Luke 9:21-22; 43-45) and He even told the disciples to let these words sink down inside of them, but they just don’t get it and were too afraid to ask.
The cross is the centerpiece for us as Christians, I like to think of it this way, the cross for us, the cross in us, and the cross through us (preach it). The very first invitation sent forth from the lips of our Lord is to take up our cross and follow Him. It’s death to me and my desires, my dreams apart from Him, but that’s okay, wouldn’t you say, ‘cuz I have a hunch that His desires, dreams, and destiny for us are a lot better than our own.
And to be transparent today, I love the concept of the cross, the love and nobility of it, I just don’t like the pain and the shame of it – it’s excruciatingly painful, and yet…these are the terms of discipleship. Help me Lord!
This Psalm is probably a combination of three things – a prayer of David for His son Solomon (Psalm 72:20), a prayer of Solomon for himself, and a picture of the King of kings, Jesus Christ who would one day rule all nations and endure, forever and ever (Psalm 72:11, 17).
It’s good to pray for our leaders, we are even commanded to do so in:
1 Timothy 2:1–2 (NKJV) “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
It’s also good to ponder the day when King Jesus rules – first the Millennial Kingdom, then the New Heavens and the New Earth, when the whole earth will be filled with His glory (Psalm 72:19). Do you look forward to that day? Ever think about it?
Proverbs 12:8 – People can usually tell – they can see the difference between the wise one and the wicked one – therefore the wise will (in one sense) be looked up to, while the wicked will be frowned upon
Proverbs 12:9 – It’s never ever good to honor yourself; especially when it’s not true, it’s all talk.
To have a servant in those days meant you had employees, it’s as if you’ve been blessed with a business, God has blessed you financially. It doesn’t matter that others think little of us, all that matters is what God knows about us.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.