In Levitcus 23:44, the phrase el mo’adai Yahweh occurs as a conclusion to a chapter where Moses has “announced to the Israelites the appointed festivals of the Lord (Leviticus 23:44). These “appointed festivals” are the Sabbath, Passover (along with the Feast of First Fruits), Sh’vuot (Pentecost), Rosh HaShanah (trumpets), Yom Kippur (atonement) and Sukkot (booths). If you’d like to know more about these festivals, I’ve written a LifeLight Bible Study for Concordia Publishing House called “Bible Feasts.” There is a link to that study on the Resources page of our website (see below). And of course, Rosh HaShana is coming soon, and we will be observing the High Holidays here in St. Louis with a service on Oct. 2 for Rosh HaShana, and Oct. 11-12 for Yom Kippur. As I said in a recent newsletter, this year we are observing our 20th Yom Kippur service in St. Louis.
But this phrase mo’adai has come to mean more than just the appointed festivals of the Lord. When I came to faith in Y’shua as Messiah, I became acquainted with the phrase mo’adai to mean a “divine appointment.” Certainly, all the festivals of Leviticus 23 are divine appointments in and of themselves, but God makes other appointments in our lives for many reasons. Anytime someone comes to faith, it is because of divine appointments in their life. I had such a divine appointment recently, that I pray will bring someone face-to-face with our Lord, Jesus, where they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and faith.
It came about in tragedy as I was attending the funeral of one of my students who was serving a dual-parish in Wisconsin. He was my field worker as a student at the Seminary, and we were close to his family as my wife and I were asked to be the godparents to two of his now five children. When I was asked by my granddaughter Johnna how the funeral was, the only thing I could come up with was that it was a good one. She responded quizzically, because really, how could any funeral of a 38 year old father of five be good? But Mike’s funeral gave us time to grieve, yet, surrounded his wife and all of us there with so much hope in Jesus. I came away wondering why everyone is not Christian, for our faith is the only one that provides so much hope in tragedy.
During the luncheon afterward, I happened to sit next to Mike’s campus pastor, who is still a campus pastor at an area university in Illinois. We had a great conversation together and shared business cards. That was that.
But, that evening, as I was visiting another friend of mine in the ministry in the Green Bay area, he “happened” to mention how his wife first got into Jewish evangelism. It was a Jewish co-worker of hers at a university where they were both professors and she was looking for ways to connect with him and came to our ministry. Again, he “happened” to mention that this friend of his wife’s is now working… guess … at this same university where this pastor whose card was in my pocket served. I put them together for another divine appointment!