Last week I posed the question, “How different would we look if we actually participated in the appointed times?” I never did answer that question. So today I want to address that.
First, let’s review what the appointed times are and why they exist.
The appointed times are set times in the day, week, month and year that God invites us to spend time with Him. They are times that we draw near to God, knowing that He is drawing near to us.
Last week we saw that God asks us to come near to Him every morning and every afternoon for a time of prayer. And what is prayer? It is talking with God and listening to what He has to say.
This week we’ll look at two more times on God’s calendar – the weekly Sabbath and the monthly Rosh Chodesh. Why? Because according to Isaiah 66:23, all mankind will worship the Lord at these appointed times – every Sabbath and every Rosh Chodesh.
When we look at the Sabbath and see nothing but prohibitions, then it really does sound burdensome. With statements like, “I can’t do this” or “I can’t do that” the Sabbath doesn’t sound like much fun. However, when we realize that it is a privilege, a date with the King, then the day takes on a new meaning, and the anticipation of spending a whole day with God gets you through the week of work.
My grown daughter, who recently graduated from seminary, is having a hard time understanding why I started down this path. And knowing how energetic her mother is, she wonders how I can sit around one day a week, not allowed to do anything for myself. To be honest, when the Lord first called me to honor the Sabbath, that’s where my mind went as well.
But what my daughter doesn’t see, and what I’ve come to understand, is that the Sabbath is a gift from God. It is a day that we enjoy wonderful meals – all prepared ahead of time so all the work is done. It is a day that we gather with family and do something that is a bit novel in today’s day and age – we talk! We talk about how our week is going, and we talk about our God. We discuss the lessons He taught us through His Word and as a family we talk with Him.
The Sabbath is a joyous occasion. We are in the presence of the King, so we dress up, and we dress our table with fine linen, china, and fresh flowers. And we enjoy wonderful food, even if it means sacrificing during the week to enjoy a magnificent feast on the Sabbath! The time spent around the table worshiping God, knowing that He inhabits the praises of His people, is precious and invigorating.
Then we gather with other believers, and worship God some more. We might also nap, play games, and take a walk. The point is, our Father calls us to rest in Him and enjoy the peace that comes from spending time with Him and with each other.
God has given us this island of time, this weekly date, to glory in His creation. Why wouldn’t we accept His invitation to delight in Him?
So thus far we see we are invited to spend time twice a day with our Father and one whole day every week. But there’s more! We are also invited to join Him once a month at the beginning of each month.
Now this is not the Gregorian calendar month, but the Lord’s calendar that He set up in Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus. The new month starts when the first sliver of the moon appears in the sky. This first day of the new month is Rosh Chodesh. When the temple stood it was an important festival, because the remainder of the festivals depended on having the right ‘first’ day of the month. The Israelites were instructed to bring extra sacrifices to signify this day. And as we read, God tells us through Isaiah that all mankind will worship him on Rosh Chodesh.
In recent months, a group of friends wanted to start honoring the new month. We gather for a shared meal, blow the shofar, sing praises, and pray. We lift up to God our prayers of thanksgiving for all He did the previous month and all our concerns for the coming month. Again, it is a whole day devoted to the Father.
So back to my question: If we met with God every day, twice a day; then one whole day in seven, then one whole day in 29-30, what we would look like? Would we continue to lie to each other? Would we continue to do those things that displease our Father? Or knowing that we are going to meet with Him every day, every week, every month, would we throw ourselves on His mercy and ask Him to change us because we just don’t want to feel the shame of sin when we meet with Him?
I believe, if we really understood that this was time with our Father, the King and Creator of All Things, that we would not want to disappoint or be ashamed. Having experienced the joy of communion with Him, we would want others to experience the same thing.
I truly believe if we, as followers of Jesus, kept the daily, weekly and monthly appointed times, we would look more like Him than we do now. I believe our churches would be full of joy and unity, instead of back biting and criticism. I believe that the Lord would then be able to use us as one body to help heal the world. And that together, with one voice praising our God and King, we would speed the day our Messiah returns to rule and reign.
What about you? What do you think?