Originally posted: 07/30/2019
“Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses…” (16:16).
Why regulate the celebrations and feasts? Don’t we crave opportunities to honor special people and events? Think of the celebrations we have attended or planned: birthdays, baby showers, weddings, anniversaries, retirements, new jobs, housewarmings, new births. We don’t seem to need any coaxing to commemorate milestones.
But notice our milestones seem to center around us. The LORD in His grace and wisdom provided His Celebration Regulations that we would turn away from our self-absorbed fixations to fix our minds on His awesome power, deliverance and mighty works in the lives of His people.
Much preparation was required to fulfill His Celebration Regulations; but on closer consideration we see the LORD’s preparations targeted not the feasts, but His people.
Consider His Celebration Regulations
- His Celebration Regulations prepared His people to remember.
- Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God…3 You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt… 12 You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes, (16:1,3,12 emphasis added).
- His Celebration Regulations prepared His people to rejoice.
- You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 Then you shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the Lord your God blesses you; 11 and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God… 13 “You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths seven days after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and your wine vat; 14 and you shall rejoice in your feast… 15 Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful, (16:9-11,13,15 emphasis added).
- His Celebration Regulations prepared His people to relinquish ownership of His blessings.
- Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you, (16:16-17 emphasis added).
- His Celebration Regulations prepared His people to reach for His righteousness.
- You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you, (16:18-20 emphasis added).
How do we respond to His Celebration Regulations?
How faithful is our God to go to such great extent to turn our hearts away from self to Him. Let us seek Him, prayerfully that He would prepare us daily.
- Lord, prepare us to daily remember all You have done for us through the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus.
- Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel… 14 Remind them of these things, (2 Timothy 2:8,14).
- Lord, prepare us to daily rejoice in You in all things, at all times.
- Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:6).
- Lord, prepare us to daily relinquish ownership of Your blessings that we would offer back to You our very lives.
- What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? (Psalm 116:12).
- Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).
- Lord, prepare us to daily reach for Your righteousness; to reach toward the prize, the goal of Your upward call in Christ Jesus.
- Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 3:12-14).