Daily Devotional

January 20, 2021

Daybreak: Deuteronomy 15:1 through 16:17

“Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place his name there. Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.” (Deuteronomy 16:2-3)

The Fourth of July — Independence Day in the United States! What exciting thoughts those words bring to our minds. The parades, picnics, fireworks, and patriotic music thrill us. Hearing or singing our national anthem stirs our hearts. We are thankful to our forefathers who fought for and won our independence and our freedoms.

Perhaps our thanksgiving is even more personal. Many of us have heard our fathers or grandfathers recount “war stories” — accounts of their military experiences. My father told of lying deathly sick in a ripped tent during a typhoon in Japan. In the midst of the driving rain, God gave him a promise, and brought him through. These stories may be some of our favorite family traditions, and they remind us that our freedom came at a price.

Passover was “Independence Day” for the nation of Israel, and its commemoration was steeped in tradition. On that night, God had miraculously freed them from slavery and shown His power over the Egyptian armies and gods. The Passover was to be a time of rejoicing and remembering. The purpose of the traditions was to remind the Children of Israel and their future posterity that freedom came at a price.

Each Christian has a spiritual independence day. Jesus died so that we could have freedom from sin. The day we find forgiveness for our sins is truly our personal independence day. He gives us life, liberty, and true happiness with the promise of eternal life. However, our spiritual freedom also came at a price — a price that Jesus paid when He shed His Blood at Calvary.

There is value in remembering — remembering family stories, remembering those who sacrificed for our freedoms, remembering Jesus’ death. Remind yourself today of the time when God gave you independence, and rejoice in His liberating power.

Background

God never overlooks a detail, and He is mindful of the financial situation of every person. He gave instructions to the Israelites that would benefit the people, especially the poor. The seventh year was one of “release.” God, knowing mankind’s tendencies, cautioned the Israelites not to be hard-hearted when they knew the seventh year was approaching. They were to help the needy even if they knew that soon it would be the time of release. While it might have appeared that these instructions were designed for the poor, the rich also were sure to be blessed when they followed God’s commands.

An Israelite who was unable to pay a debt could be indentured for six years in place of payment. His discharge did not necessarily coincide with the year of release, for the six years were served consecutively. The master was told to send the servant out with generous provisions — enough to keep him until he could reestablish himself. This was a reminder that they had been slaves in Egypt, and when God had delivered them, they left with many gifts. If the servant wished to stay in the master’s household, that could be arranged, and the servant signified it by having his ear pierced with an awl.

Three times a year, the Israelite men were to appear before God, in the place He would choose, for specific feasts. The Passover Feast was the beginning of their religious year, and celebrated their release from Egypt. This feast is still celebrated in Jewish homes. The youngest child will ask the father, “Why is this night different from all the rest?” As God instructed, the parents will then carefully explain all that happened on the night of deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

Fifty days (seven weeks) after Passover came the Feast of Pentecost, and this celebration included all of the Children of Israel. It was a time of sharing and rejoicing. The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated for seven days at the end of harvest, and again everyone was included.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)

II.   The second discourse: exposition of the Law
     C.   The exposition of the principle laws of Israel
           1.   Religious legislation
                 c.   The laws concerning personal holiness
                      (4)   The laws providing for the poor (15:1-23)
                             (a)   The laws concerning release from debt (15:1-11)
                             (b)   The laws concerning release of slaves (15:12-18)
                             (c)   The laws concerning firstlings of cattle (15:19-23)
                      (5)   The laws concerning the chief feasts (16:1-17)
                             (a)   The laws concerning Passover (16:1-8)
                             (b)   The laws concerning Pentecost (16:9-12)
                             (c)   The laws concerning Tabernacles (16:13-15)
                             (d)   Conclusion (16:16-17)

A Closer Look

  1. What kind of bread did the Israelites eat during the celebration of Passover?
     
  2. Why do you suppose the Lord required these three feasts each year?
     
  3. What principles, illustrated by Israel’s treatment of servants and the poor, would apply to you today?

Conclusion

What does God see when He looks at the doorposts of your heart? Does He see a person who goes to church regularly or a charitable person who gives money for missions or to help feed the poor? God is looking for more than just deeds. The old Gospel hymn says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.”

Reference Materials