Leviticus 23:3 (HCSB)
3 “Work may be done for six days, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; it is a Sabbath to the Lord wherever you live.
This pericope is dedicated to making explicit the holy days that the Israelites are to observe. Although the different observations may be related to specific events in the history of the Israelites, and God’s provision for them, they all have a single overarching theme: glorify God.
Although many of the holy days are in remembrance, or observation, of specific events, such as the Passover, Festival of Unleavened Bread, and the harvest, it is also worth noting that the very first holy day mentioned is the weekly Sabbath day, defined way back in Genesis 2:2-3. And, although I am not going to argue about whether we should all be Sabbath-keepers or not, it is also worth noting that this observance is included here with a number of other holy days that we, as Christians, believe were, as Paul stated in Colossians 2:14, nailed to the cross with Christ. Hence we do not observe these holy days, along with all the sacrifices that accompany them, nor are we bound to strictly observe Saturday, the Sabbath, as the weekly day of worship. But I digress.
There is a consistent theme throughout the observances of these days. A few things often repeat (but are not necessarily mentioned in each): do no work, assemble, and make offerings. The consistency is this: do not be distracted and take your focus off of God. If the Israelites abstain from work then there is no tendency to obsess about getting things done, rather than glorify the One who sustains us. If the Israelites are gathering together, assembling, then they can better assure they maintain their focus on God by helping each other to remain so. And obviously by bringing offerings to God the Israelites will be reminded of His providence and holiness.
So, it would seem, that the system of holy days was not due to God being some sort of attention hog, or in need of validation of man, but instead to help man remain focused on God, reminded of His sustaining them, and all that He has done, and continues to do.
Lord, thank You for all that You have done, continue to do, and will do, for us. It is impossible to think that we could repay the debt, and that should not even be our focus. Instead, help us to glorify You, to celebrate Your grace, mercy, and love for us. I pray that in our day where the holy days have been satisfied and are not observed with the mandate the Israelites had, that we would have our own holy days where we focus solely on You, glorifying You, and worshipping You. Amen.