“Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me. Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed. Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field. Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord.” (Exodus 23:14-17 NIV84)
Five times in the few verses we are looking at for today’s devotion the word “celebrate” is used. The men, the leaders of families and clans, were to attend these three celebratory festivals. And what were they celebrating? First, they were to celebrate redemption from slavery in the Lord’s Passover. Second, they were to celebrate the firstfruits of the crops they planted early in the season. Finally, they were to celebrate the harvest at the end of the year. At all three of these times every year, God expected to get the glory, honor and praise. Why? Because he was the redeemer and provider of all they had for body and soul.
Why were the men especially invited/required to be at those three festivals? Because each festival marked a time in which sinful man would love to take credit for something he did not accomplish. We men have a tendency, because we are doers, to take credit for what we have done. But we can’t. If Moses and Joshua couldn’t take credit for what was done to bring the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land, then there is nothing that we can take credit for, either. Our Lord is the redeemer and provider for our body and souls. It is His providence that gifts us, guides us and redeems us from our sins.
Like the Israelites, it would be good for us to find times to celebrate together all that He has done, and still does, for us.