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This journey through The Feasts of Israel focuses on the Feasts as practiced in the Old and New Testaments. I have purposefully not dealt with the modern observances of these Feasts, but rather focused on their fulfillment in Jesus and in the believer’s walk. While seeking to be thorough, I have not been exhaustive; many additional insights wait to be gleaned. The Feasts of Israel are actually “the feasts of the LORD.” He is the focus—Meeting with Him is the point. The historical symbols in each Feast speak a message from His heart to every believer’s heart. He calls people to come and worship Him with a heart feasting on Him. In each Feast is a trail that leads to Jesus—to His Cross, to an Empty Tomb, to His ever-reigning Throne, to His Return and the fulfillment of every promise made in His Word. They lead ultimately to His once and for all established presence with His people in the New Earth with new heavens—all things made new (Revelation 21:5). As you come to each Feast, think of the questions and paragraphs as a banquet setting with bowls and baskets, plates and platters, cups and saucers, glasses and silverware, all prepared for you. If you only look at the place settings, you will walk away hungry. The feast is found in the Word in these bowls, baskets, platters, and plates. In this Scripture adventure, the true feast is the Lord Himself. Jesus is the Feast! The Word of God is Him speaking, leading us to a personal, obedient, experiential relationship with Him day by day. The meat and the milk of the Word are linked to Him who feeds, satisfies, nourishes, and delights the heart (Psalm 119:103; Jeremiah 15:16; 1 Peter 2:1; Hebrews 5:12–14). Your enjoyment of this feast will depend on your participation—your personal time with the Lord. Little time with the Lord in the Word, little nourishment; much time with the Lord in the Word, much nourishment. The call of the Feasts is not a call to accumulate knowledge, but to intensify relationship. Psalm 34:8 calls out, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Hear the call to greater trust and dependence, not simply knowing about Him, but knowing by experience. Psalm 34:10b promises, “those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” The Feasts sound the call to seek the Lord, to grow in this relationship, not by simply knowing more Scripture points and principles, but by obeying and walking in that truth. When Jesus and His disciples stopped near the village of Sychar ready for a meal, Jesus mystified His disciples by saying, “I have food to eat that you do not know about” and “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work”—the work of bringing salvation, so multitudes might know Him and bring others to know Him (John 4:32). Jesus feasted doing the Father’s will. We can, too. This is not a series of celebrations “about Him,” but “with Him.” The Feasts are also a call to seek God corporately. Seeking God together in certain Feasts ushered in a period of Spiritual Awakening—a new day and a new people, not a perfect day or a perfect people, but certainly changed. We see that in the Passover in Egypt. God brought true revival through the Passover in Hezekiah’s day and at Pentecost in Jesus’ day. Every Feast is an invitation to experience the Lord and join in His Kingdom’s advance. Make this your prayer… “Lord, open my eyes to see You and Your Word more clearly, so I can do Your will.” Remember, Jesus is the Feast! Knowing, loving, obeying, and worshiping Him is the goal of every Feast. Celebrate Jesus as Lord—Feast every day, in every place, and bring others to know Him! Feast together!
About the Author
Richard L. Shepherd has been engaged in some form of ministry for over twenty-five years, focusing on areas of teaching, discipleship, and prayer. He has served in churches in Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Tennessee and served as Director of Prayer and Spiritual Awakening with the Florida Baptist Convention. For nearly seventeen years (1983–2000), Rick served as an associate pastor at Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Lord’s ministry has taken him to several countries, including Haiti, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Italy, Israel, England, India, and Greece, where he has been involved in training pastors, church leaders, and congregations. Rick has also lectured on college and seminary campuses. He graduated with honors from the University of Mobile and holds a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He and his wife Linda Gail have four grown children and make their home in Memphis, Tennessee.