Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Rules for Wandering

Season:  7 Feasts   Buy

Dannah Gresh: How intense is your love for the Lord, right now? Erin Davis gives you one way to know if your love has grown cold.

Erin Davis: A woman who knows and loves her whole Bible is a woman who has been transformed! Why do I know that? Because I’m a woman who knows and loves my whole Bible, and a woman who has been transformed!

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Seeking Him, for February 17, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh. 

Would you say you’re someone who knows and loves the whole Bible? My friend, Erin Davis, is passionate about God’s Word, and she’s going to help us dig into Scripture. The book of Leviticus gives instructions for a series of feasts for the Israelites to observe, and Erin explores those feasts in this series based on her new study 7 Feasts. Here’s Nancy to welcome Erin.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Erin Davis, what a joy it is to welcome you back to Revive Our Hearts. Thanks for joining us this week for what I know is going to be a really encouraging and challenging series for all of us!

Erin: I’m so glad to be here.

Nancy: You’re no stranger to Revive Our Hearts. First of all, you and your husband both serve on our team. Just give us a glimpse of what Jason does and then what you do here.

Erin: We do. My husband, Jason, has been on staff the longest. He serves on the Revive Our Hearts marketing team, and I like to follow him wherever he goes . . . so I followed him a few years later. I am the Content Manager for Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy: And that is a big job! We’re putting out a lot of content, published things, printed resources, online resources, and you have upped the game for us by producing lots of new study guides, the Women of the Bible series.

A lot of our listeners have used those studies, a lot of them have listened to the podcast of Women of the Bible. You just finished another new one; we’ll be telling more about that later. 

And then there’s Grounded, right? This is something we had not planned being on your job description, but the Lord knew it. When COVID started, the Lord gave the idea to start ministering to women where they were at the time, which was kind of grounded in their homes. 

Erin: Right.

Nancy: That has proven to be a really fruitful ministry. I’ve watched you grow in your love for God’s Word since probably fifteen or more years ago, when I first heard you speak to a group of high school kids.

The Lord has used you in women’s ministry in your local church. You “get” women; you get ministry, but you take us always to the Word. And you’re not afraid to go to some tough passages. In fact, you and I both love the Old Testament.

Erin: I love the tough passages!

Nancy: You also help us see how the Old Testament connects to the New Testament. I think a lot of people miss those connections. In this series you’re going to be sharing with us over these next several days, you’re going to get us to open our Bibles, open our hearts, use our minds, dig, and let the Holy Spirit do a work in our hearts that’s going to be very practical, in a passage that most of us don’t spend a lot of time. 

I’m going to let you introduce that in a moment, but I want to encourage our listeners, if you’re where you have a Bible that you can pick up with your own hands or scroll to it on your phone, I want you to follow along as Erin Davis takes us to the Old Testament. She’ll tell us where in just a few moments. 

Erin, as you start to teach, I would love to just pray a blessing on you and every person who hears this series.

Lord, we love You, and we love Your Word. We’re so blessed to be able to study it together! It is more relevant than today’s headlines, and how desperately we need what Your Word has to say for this world in which we’re living and for our own hearts and for our own transformation into the likeness of Jesus. So thank You for this precious woman. Thank You for her love for You and for Your Word.

I pray that You would give her fresh oil, that You would anoint her with the power of Your Holy Spirit. Would anoint us as we listen to receive the Word that You have for us today? Don’t let us be just spectators, and don’t let us be just hearers of Your Word. May Your Holy Spirit show us, “This is where you need to pay attention. This is what you need to see. This is what you need to do.” Speak to me, Lord, speak to us, and change us by the power of Your Spirit! I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Erin: I learned to love puzzles from my grandma. I called her my “red-headed Granny.” I had a red-headed Granny and a white-headed Granny. Every time I would go to visit red-headed Granny, I would find a puzzle in progress in the corner of their living room.

Sometimes it was a water-colored portrait of the Eiffel Tower, and sometimes it was a photograph of a deep-sea reef. But it always started out as a jumble of pieces in a box. And little by little as my Granny interlocked each piece, it transformed into something beautiful!

I’m gathered here with a small group of friends; maybe you’re gathered with a small group of friends as you’re listening to or watching this, and I hope that you will consider our time together an invitation to flip over a new piece of the puzzle! 

For a moment, I would like us to picture our Bibles like a boxed puzzle. Inside the puzzle there are sixty-six pieces. Now they vary a little bit in shape and size, but sixty-six is the number. Why sixty-six? Well, I hope you know your Bible well enough to know where that number comes from. 

But in case you don’t, go ahead and flip to the table of contents. If you put your finger here on Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and if you could count very quickly to Revelation, the last book of the Bible, you would find that there are sixty-six books. And those make up the sixty-six pieces of the puzzle we’re going to talk about together during this series.

And since you already have your Bible handy, why don’t you go ahead and flip through it. Here’s what I want you to look for: Where do you see signs of wear? Where does your Bible flip open almost automatically? Because those are the places in your Bible you love so much.

Where are there places in your Bible where there are lots and lots and lots of notes? Maybe you love the hopeful poetry of the Psalms. Maybe you have that profitable habit of reading a Proverb a day, and you love the wisdom of the Proverbs. Or maybe you resonate with Paul’s conviction in the book of Romans. Or maybe you love the righteous reminders found in those little books of 1 and 2 Peter.

When it comes to our Bibles, familiar is good. I want you to be familiar with your whole Bible, and especially when we’re talking about familiarity with God’s Word, I can promise you this: The more you know it, the more you’re going to love it!

And so, having familiar passages or familiar places you go to over and over in Scripture, that’s a really good habit. But for our purposes, the time has come to go off-road. We are going to look at a place of Scripture that maybe you’ve never spent a lot time studying.

Why? Well because the purpose of Scripture is . . . drumroll please!. . . to reveal who God is. Now, God is mysterious. I would never try to say I’ve got Him all figured out. But He has chosen to reveal His character in the pages of His Word. He doesn’t leave us guessing. 

What I want you to know is that the reason we open our Bibles is to know God. Let's think back to that puzzle for just a moment. If God’s Word is a sixty-six piece puzzle, and there are places in our Bibles that we don’t know, we look at an incomplete view of God.

Picture my red-headed Granny. Imagine that she almost got a puzzle completely finished and she was missing just one little piece. That Eiffel Tower might be missing the top, or the puzzle might be missing a fish in the coral reef. 

The result when we don’t know our whole Bibles is not necessarily a wrong picture of God, because the things you know about Him from the Scriptures you do know are true. But it could be that you have an incomplete picture of God. 

Even if you know several books of the Bible inside and out, you’ve only turned over some of the pieces of what God chooses to reveal about Himself in His Word. 

We commit to being lifelong students of His Word. It’s not something we try to figure out in weeks or days or even years. We commit ourselves to the lifelong study of the Word of God and to patiently flipping over every single piece of the puzzle and looking for how those pieces interlock with the rest of Scripture.

Isn’t that the fun of building a puzzle? Not just turning over all the pieces, but realizing, “Oh, this goes with this, and this goes with this!” That is how we study the Word of God, and that is how we learn to see the whole picture.

Here’s the piece of the puzzle I want us to flip over in the next few days: theseven feasts. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that maybe you’ve not spent a whole lot of time studying the seven feasts of Israel recorded in the Old Testament . . . and that’s because neither had I until several years ago.

I think I had heard of the feasts. I had certainly heard of the book of Leviticus, but I had not spent a lot of time discovering that section of Scripture. Several years ago I was on staff at my own church, and I fell in love with the single chapter of the Bible where the seven feasts are recorded. 

I was always on the hunt to get the women in my church to love the Old Testament. Because what I heard very frequently was, “Oh, I love the Bible, but I don’t understand the Old Testament” or “I love the God of the New Testament. I love Jesus, but I don’t understand how He connects to the God of the Old Testament. That seems like a totally different God.” 

So I was always looking for ways to connect those dots, because I know that a woman who knows and loves her whole Bible is a woman who’s been transformed. Why do I know that? Because I am a woman who knows and loves my whole Bible, and I’m a woman who’s been transformed!

Not only do I know a woman who knows and loves her whole Bible is a woman who’s been transformed, I know that a woman who knows and loves her whole Bible is a woman who is transforming others! 

That’s what I wanted to see happen in my church. I wanted to see women move beyond those passages that gave them one perception of God so that they could have impact with their children, so they could have impact in their neighborhoods, at work. 

I always kind of had this secret agenda that we would be talking about the Old Testament in my church. One fall as we were planning our fall event, we chose to look at the seven feasts. We took an experiential journey through these feasts which seem a little bit removed from our modern lives, at first glance. 

During the weeks and months I spent preparing for that event, I became mesmerized by the feasts. I think as you hear me talk about the feasts, you’re going to hear that I just want to jump now when I talk about the feasts, because they’re so fascinating to me.

We created this little booklet that led women through the feasts at this event. I don’t want you to picture that we created anything fancy. I want you to picture a few pages made in Microsoft Word and run off on the church copy machine, because that’s what it was.

And two years later—two years later!—I ran into a woman in the church lobby and my kids are swirling all around me. We’re both trying to get our coffee down before we go in for service. And she says, “Erin, I’m still using that little book every day in my quiet time.” She said, “I just can’t get enough of the feasts!” And I know how she feels. 

I’ve spent years studying the feasts, and I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of what they reveal of God’s character. Every time I read about the feasts in Scripture, I’m amazed that God’s redemptive plan is mapped so clearly in a little piece of the puzzle that I left in the box for so long!

So the seven feasts of Israelare found in Leviticus 23. Yes, Leviticus! And together we’re going to explore each feast. As we do, we’re going to find that they are so much more than an antiquated list of rules and rituals from a culture that we are not a part of. 

The feasts were, and can be for us, constant object lessons on the faithfulness of God. By looking closely at just this one piece of the puzzle—this isn’t even one of the sixty-six pieces, this is a smaller piece—we gain new glimpses into God’s character and precious reminders of how faithful He is toward us. 

So as I was studying the feasts, I decided to call every synagogue within a 120-mile radius of where I live; that’s a very Erin Davis thing to do! It surprised me that there were a lot of synagogues. Everyone I talked to, I said, “Is there a rabbi that I could talk to about the seven feasts?” Well, one rabbi called me back.

That is how I found myself in the middle of a Starbucks with a Jewish rabbi. He is a brilliant man. He has multiple degrees in Hebrew. He brought his Torah; I brought my Bible. He bought me a cup of coffee, and we spent hours talking about the seven feasts.

At one point I kind of leaned toward him and said, “Rabbi Lane, Christians don’t really read the book of Leviticus much.” He thought for a minute and he said, “Well, that’s rather odd.” And I said, “I think so too, but tell me why you think it’s odd.” He handed me his Torah, and he said, “Open it to the middle.”

Well, the Torah is made up of the first five books of the Old Testament—so that’s Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. That’s five books, and the book in the middle would be Leviticus. Leviticus is smack dab in the middle of the Torah.

When I found it, Rabbi Lane looked at me and smiled. And he said, “We believe that Leviticus is central. It’s located in the middle of the Torah, but we also see it as central to our lives.” He also told me that most devout Jewish five-year-old boys memorize the book of Leviticus. 

I’ve had many five-year-old boys. They are now a little bit older. I struggle to get them to memorize—I don’t know—like, how to write their own names, and he was telling me that devout Jewish boys memorize the entire book of Leviticus! 

I was telling him that I was on a quest to get Christians to read it at all. You know what he said? He said, “Your whole belief system as Christians is based on the sacrificial system. Where do you think that comes from? It comes from the book of Leviticus.” 

As followers of Christ, we see Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as central. It’s true, they are not centrally located in our Bibles. They are located between books thirty-nine and forty-four. But they are central to our lives. Because it’s in those four books that we are introduced to the person of Jesus and where He reveals His gospel. 

That’s why those for four books are often called the Gospels. I said that to Rabbi Lane in that Starbucks. I said, “We believe the Gospels are central.” We had this beautiful conversation about how you can’t separate the Gospels from the Old Testament. Rabbi Lane is not a Messianic Jew; he is a devout Jewish man who understands both pieces of the puzzle matter.

What we’ll discover as we linger here in Leviticus 23 for a while is that the feasts, though they were established thousands of years before Christ came to earth, point forward to the gospel with remarkable clarity!

Maybe you’ve never looked at the seven feasts before, or perhaps you race through them when you’re reading through the Bible in a year, because they feel like an out-of-date list of celebrations from a foreign culture.

It’s hard to read a book that feels like it doesn’t apply to you. But the feasts are so much more. Every piece of the puzzle matters because all of God’s Word shows us who He is. And the picture on this puzzle is more remarkable than we could ever hope for! 

Well, after all that buildup, it’s finally time for us to turn in our Bibles to Leviticus chapter 23. Leviticus is very early on in the Old Testament, right after Exodus. So get yourselves to Leviticus 23. 

I’m going read to us Leviticus 23:1–2: 

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, 'These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.’” 

So when God delivered the seven feasts through Moses to the nation of Israel, essentially He was mapping out for them their annual calendar. The seven feasts were to become the highlights of their year, much like our Christmas and Easter or the 4th of July. 

Why did the Israelites need such specific calendaring instructions? Well, because they suffered from chronic spiritual amnesia! Scripture records many moments when the people of God just forgot everything that God had done for them. 

These are the children that God promised to Abraham. These are the people who saw the tablets of stone on which God carved the Ten Commandments with His very own finger. These are the ones who cried out for a deliverer and enjoyed God supernaturally taking them out of the land of slavery through those ten terrible—although for the Israelites wonderful—plagues. Their feet walked across the Red Sea on dry ground.

Their bellies had been filled with manna that rained from heaven and water that the Lord caused to come from a rock! Surely these memories were seared into their hearts. Surely these stories were told around every camp fire. Surely the people of Israel had unshakable faith. Except, of course . . . they didn’t.

We find them to be a forgetful bunch, chronically drawing a blank about the character of God. And so the feasts are not just days on the calendar, they’re an invitation by a loving God to a forgetful people to praise and remember, praise and remember, praise and remember all year long.

Through these seven feasts, God was establishing rhythms for their lives, frequent reminders that He loved them, that He had cared for them and that He was going to continue to care for them. Centuries later, I need those reminders too, because I suffer from chronic spiritual amnesia!

The ways the Lord delivered me ten years ago don’t often keep my knees from wobbling right now. His very clear banner of love over my life in the past doesn't always keep me from wondering if He doesn’t love me anymore right now. So I need the reminders!

One of the greatest gifts thatseven feastshas given me is attention to the rhythms of my life. God here is writing in the planners of His people, to help them remember who He is. He gives them these rhythms of work and rest, work and rest and worship. Why? So they will be tethered to Him, even as they wandered.

From Creation in Genesis, to Leviticus, to the Gospels and beyond, God has always established rhythms to help us seek Him. He set the calendar in the sky, He modeled the pattern of work and rest for us, and He gave us rituals to remember who He is. He did that because we get spiritual amnesia, too. 

Despite the fact that God has a perfect record of faithfulness, the worries and cares of this world knock us on the head, causing concussions that cause us to forget who God is. And much like the Israelites, we’re all wandering. I asked Rabbi Lane, “What is the book of Leviticus?” He said, “It’s rules for wandering.” 

We are all wandering, our broken world is a desert place. We’ve not yet reached the land that God has promised for us. And as desert wanderers, we’re all prone to forget the goodness of God.

Yet right here in our Bibles on every single piece of the puzzle we find reminders intended to give us hope in the God who loves us enough to establish divine rhythms, to remind us who He is. 

So, let's keep flipping over the pieces of this exquisite puzzle . . . together, and one piece at a time. 

Nancy: Erin Davis, you have whetted out appetites for what’s going to come over these next days. I know we’re on the edge of our seats wanting to know more about these feasts. In fact, as you were talking, I was thinking about a mutual friend of ours who has read the Bible aloud to her children—one chapter a day for years.

They have gone through the Bible multiple times. But Carrie has told about when her children were little and they did this the first time, they got to the book of Leviticus, and she thought, There is no way I can read this book to them! They were like three and five at the time, and so she skipped it. She admitted that later.

And then, months later, when they got to Hebrews in the New Testament, she was reading a commentary to give her a little orientation to Hebrews, and one of the things it said was, “You can’t understand the book of Hebrews if you haven’t read Leviticus.”

Erin: Right.

Nancy: So she knew her children had missed out. She said, “We’re going back to Leviticus.” And they’ve never skipped Leviticus again, because it is so crucial a piece—a puzzle piece—of the whole gospel story. So, thank you for making us open our Bibles to that chapter.

In fact, I want to encourage you, as you’re listening to this series over the next week or so, to open your Bible to Leviticus chapter 23 and to read that chapter every day until this series is over. We’re going to have eight programs on this chapter—on these seven feasts. So I just want you to read that chapter over and over.

You may want to read it more than once a day, but at least once a day. And I will tell you, what you dig out for yourself in that chapter will be even more meaningful, because you have gotten into it for yourself, and you’re not just letting Erin spoon-feed you.

Here’s something else you can do: Erin has written a terrific study on the seven feasts. What she’s giving us over these next days is just kind of like an appetizer to these feasts. 

Erin, you’ve subtitled this study Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament. It’s an eight-week study. Just give us a little sense of what we can expect in that study.

Erin: Well, you can expect a deep dive into a single chapter of the Bible, but you can also expect your mind to be blown! I didn’t have to stretch anything. I didn’t have to make connections that weren’t obvious.

The seven feasts are about the gospel, and so you can expect to do a lot of flipping back and forth between Leviticus and the New Testament. I think, when you come to the end of it, you will be amazed at all that God revealed for mankind through these ancient feasts!

Nancy: I love the way that you connect the dots between Leviticus 23 and so many other relevant passages in the Scripture. You’re giving us a whole picture that many people who read the Scripture never get.

We want to make this study available to you this week, and we’ll be glad to do that as our way of saying “thank you” when you make a donation of any amount to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

You can get this book at other online retailers, but when you make a gift to Revive Our Hearts, you’re enabling us to help women take a deep dive into God’s Word—women all around the world whose lives are being transformed by the power of the Word of God, including series like this one.

So when you make a gift to Revive Our Hearts, we will send you a copy of Erin’s study 7 Feasts as our way of saying “thank you.” You can make your gift at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959. When you make your gift, be sure and ask for a copy of the book 7 Feasts.

It’s something you can study alone; it’s something you can study with a group of women in your church, and we want you to encourage you to take a deeper dive into that study. 

Erin, as you have been talking about the feasts, my mind has gone to two passages, and you may bring them up later in this series, where we’re reminded that the feasts of the Old Testament are a foretaste, a foreshadowing, of some feasts yet to come. As we get a better understanding of these Old Testament feasts, we’re going to have much more excitement and anticipation about the feasts God is preparing for us!

So from Isaiah 25:6, “The Lord of hosts will make for all peoples [not just Old Testament Jews, but for all peoples] a feast of rich food.” And the passage goes on to tell us what that feast will be like.

And then, of course, we come to Revelation 19, where we’re invited to come to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, the feasts of all feasts! And these feasts we’re looking at in Leviticus are going to prepare our famished hearts for that feast yet to come!

So thank You, Lord, for the beauty and the wonder of Your Word! I kind of get goosebumps just thinking about how all of this comes together for those of us who are in Christ, and how it all points to You. 

Open our hearts and our minds to receive and to be thrilled by the wonder of that feast You have prepared for us, a feast unlike anything that we could ever experience in this world, that You have waiting for us in the age to come. We give You thanks for it in Jesus’ name, amen!

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you study the Word of God. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.













 

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About the Teacher

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.