In Numbers chapter 29 God gives Israel the instruction to have a month of dedication to the Lord during the 7th month of their calendar year. Why did God choose the 7th month to do this? Because the 7th month for the Isrealites, and most ancient near eastern civilizations was a time of leisure because it was between harvest and seedtime.
On the surface it may not look interesting that God chose Israel’s vacation time to dedicate to Himself. But we must ask, why and for what reason did God choose the time that they would have the most leisure to do this? I see two big reasons:
1) God chose this time to be wholly dedicated to Himself because He does not want the Israelites to be IDLE. Idle hands reach for instant satisfaction in sin and gratification in sin more than busy hands do. During times of leisure in our lives, we become complacent about many things, including our time spent with God in the Word. God wants to keep Israel from things that Proverbs 19:15 says, “Laziness cast into a deep sleep, and an idle soul will suffer hunger.” So the first reason that God chose Israel’s vacation time and leisure time to be wholly dedicated to Himself, was to keep His people from being idle.
2) God chose this time to be wholly dedicated to Himself to make His people shine among the nations. Every ancient near eastern civilization near Israel at this time would harvest and pluck during the same time because they have the same seasons. So naturally, all these nations surrounding Israel would have this leisure time at the same time as Israel. So what? So, God chose this time specifically to set apart His people from the other nations. Israel’s vacation time will look drastically different than the surrounding nations! While everyone else is being idle and lazy, Israel will be having offerings, services, and worship to God! When the other nations hear of this, or see this happening, they will say this, “It seems that the Israelites treasure something more than their own vacation time, it seems that they trust in this God more, I wonder why?” Through this month, Israel will stand out among the nations and show the world that the Lord, the God of heaven, is more valuable than vacationing!
This was the Old Testament version of 1 Cor. 10:31 causing 1 Pet. 3:15. This causes us to ask one question: Does the way that I vacation, or spend my leisure time, show the world that I trust in something else than my vacation, or leisure time? It should! Your vacation time should be drastically different than the world’s. How so? That is the aim of your life! To figure out ways to “redeem the time”, spend the time “to the glory of God”, so that people will ask 1 Pet. 3:15!