Sunday School Material 2-14-16: Festival of Weeks

(Exodus 12:1-14; 2/7/16)

Introduction: A key idea into today’s Sunday School material is that God wants His people to make time to remember and rededicate themselves to obeying His will. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to remember and rededicate ourselves to obeying God’s will.

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Read Leviticus 23:15-16a

I. Day Determination. In the Sunday School material God is giving instructions for the Festival of Weeks. The event is to take place seven Sabbaths or 50 days after bringing of the sheaf of the wave offering or Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 

A common interpretation of this text is that it shows the implementation of the Festival of Weeks, which was later called Pentecost. 

Applications –

- Remembering and rededicating. Notice in vss. 15-16a that God wants His people to be intentional about remembering their relationship with Him and what that relationship includes. 

First, we are called to remember that we belong to God. Second, we are called to remember that God has been good to us. Third, we are called to remember that God expects much out of us. Let’s work on intentionally remembering how good God has been to us and our responsibility to obey His will. 

Read Leviticus 23:16b-20

II. Sacrifice Directives. There are instructions about sacrifices in the Sunday School material. Bread and animals are called for. The priest are to handle the sacrifices brought to the Lord. 

Applications –

- Heartfelt giving. Notice in vss. 16b-20 that our giving should be heartfelt. On one hand, we don’t have to give burnt, sin, and fellowship offerings, as in the Sunday School material. The commentator does a great job of giving a brief explanation of what burnt, sin, and fellowship offerings as well as the waving of the offerings were about.  

But on the other hand, we should give from our heart. Our giving should represent at least how much we love and thank God for how good He has been to us. It should express our confidence in His taking care of us, as He promised. And it should be our attempt to support the great work of God. Let’s work on giving to God from our hearts. 

- Fellowship with God and His people. Notice in vs. 19 that there was a fellowship offering. The fellowship offering was concerned with both fellowship or peace with God as well as with God’s people. In like manner, today, we should work on being in fellowship or having peace with God and His people. There are some who behave as if only the vertical is important – their relationship with God. 

Others behave as if only the horizontal is important – their relationship with people. However, God is calling us to work on both. Let’s work on having fellowship and peace with both God and His people. 

- Blessing God’s servants. Notice in vs. 20 that a portion of what was given to God was to be given to God’s servants – priests. In like manner, the church would do well to use a portion of what is given to God to compensate the Pastor and staff. As the church’s revenue grows, the staff’s compensation and often the size of the staff should grows. 

Let’s make sure we are blessing those who God uses to bless us. It is noteworthy that there are some people who are not on the church’s official staff who often deserves some kind of expression of appreciation (e.g., faithful ministry managers, teachers, etc.)

Read Leviticus 23:21-22

III. Other Rules. In the Sunday school material.  There is to be a sacred assembly. During the assembly, there is to be no regular work performed. The instructions are to be passed on and complied with from generation to generation. There are instructions about being kind to the poor and foreigners, in the name of the Lord. 

Applications –

- Generational remembering and rededicating. Notice in vs. 21 that the “Festival of Weeks” was to be observed by all of God’s people for generations to come. First, we should make sure that we have some times designated to remember the goodness of the Lord and rededicate ourselves to obeying His will. 

Second, these designated times should be observed by everyone. No member of the church should be so big nor should any member be considered so small that they are not called to participate. 

Third, it is important to train our young people to carry out the spirit of what we are doing. Each generation may practice the principles differently, but some principles should be remembered and observed from generation to generation. Let’s work on having generational times to remember and rededicate. 

- The less fortunate. Notice in vs. 22 that a part of remembering and rededicating to God was to be kind to the poor and foreigners. First, God is concerned with the poor and foreigner. Every human being has some image of God in them – Black, White, Hispanic, heterosexual, homosexual, rich, poor, citizen, immigrant, etc. 

Second, believers and the church should have ways of being kind to the less fortunate. We should pray for wisdom to know how to respond to those who beg on the street as well as the organizations that provide services for those on the street. 

The Pastor’s preference is to support the agencies, instead of giving money to people on the street. Let’s work on being kind to the less fortunate. 

Conclusion: Let’s work on remembering and rededicating ourselves to obeying God’s will. God has much for those who obey His will. 

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