Snapshots: Day 76
The Snapshot: “Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me.” (Ex 23:14) Life, even five hundred years ago, was much harder than it is today. The struggle was to survive (ours is how to make the most of life and get meaning out if it), but the clue to success then as now, was how to maintain a relationship with the Lord and follow His leadings (laws, prophets etc. Today for us, His word and His Spirit). But that ‘remembering’ God was not a hard, legal thing, it involved feasts, major times of feasting and celebrating. Imagine Independence Day and a coronation celebration all rolled into one and lasting a week. These were reminders of God, of His goodness in the past and in the present. We are a people of remembrance and celebration and feasting. Let’s do it!
Further Consideration: The apostle James wrote, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” (Jas 1:17) In that he was presenting in shorthand the truth that all good things we have come from God. Israel – and all humanity for that matter – could not believe that. When God delivered them from Egypt, they grumbled at every turn. They could not believe that the One who had done such amazing things in dealing with Pharaoh and releasing them from slavery in Egypt, could now provide for them all the way through the desert and then into the Promised Land. All they had to do when things ran short, was ask! Instead they grumbled; they had not realized that the God of deliverance is also the God of loving provision.
He promised them His presence, He promised them His provision, and He promised them His protection, and yet they failed again and again to believe that. Now whenever I say this, I have to add the rider, this was not because they were uniquely bad, it simply meant that they revealed what we are ALL like. Now we are Christians we may have forgotten that (to our peril!) but the thing about sin is that it blinds us to the truth.
So one of the ways the Lord sought to overcome this was to institute these three feasts to be celebrated each year: (a) the Feast of Unleavened Bread to remember the Exodus (held pre-harvest), (b) the Feast of Harvest, or Pentecost or First Fruits (part way through harvest) and (c) Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles at the end of harvest. At each Feast, every celebrant had to come aside from the daily round of work and whole-heartedly give themselves to the current celebration. Note they are celebrations appreciating the Lord and appreciating His provision for them. I wonder if we have let our ‘religion’ become too ordinary? I wonder whether we need to institute more celebrations and thanksgivings to overcome that?