#DailyDevotion The Lord Wants Us To Celebrate With Joy
Easter Week 2 Tuesday
Read Ex 23:14–33
Exo 23:14-16 “Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. (15) You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. (16) You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor.
The Lord does not want a glum people. Besides weekly rest from their labors, the Lord provided for times of festivities to lighten the people, for joy and rejoicing, and for time in his word for mediation. There were given to the people of Israel three feasts to appear before the Lord for celebration. These festivals were not to be a burden upon the people but a time to remember and rejoice all that the Lord had done for them.
These were large parties that lasted a week at a time. There was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In this festival, they would begin with the Passover lamb and Unleavened Bread. They were to celebrate their deliverance from Egypt and how they had to make haste to leave that land for the Promised Land. It was a celebration in the beginning of Spring
There was the Feast of Harvest which was the be at the beginning of Summer. In it the firstfruits of wheat would be gathered, made into bread. It would recognize that the Lord had been good to them and provided their bread of sustenance.
Then there was the fall harvest, the Festival of Ingathering, which they kept. Here the gathering of the fruits of the earth that ripened after the Summer was kept. In all these festivals, the men were to appear before the Lord and offer up sacrifice. These sacrifices were not just burnt up, but they were shared with the priests, the widows and orphans, and with the foreigners dwelling among them. They were not only to eat and drink during this time, but as they appeared before the Lord they were to be instructed in the word of the Lord. They would be reminded all that the Lord had for them and how the Lord wanted them to live if they wanted to continue to receive all of his benefits.
The Church in its wisdom, although it was not required to keep these feasts, has set up special times of the year to recognize what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for them and for all the world. We celebrate Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. The first two parallel the feast of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits; our Lord’s resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit and third, towards the beginning of winter, our Lord’s birth at Christmas. Here we celebrate all our God has done for us in the one he has put his name, Jesus, the firstfruit of the grave and our promised redemption that in him we too shall rise from the grave and be harvested into our eternal dwellings at his second coming.
Heavenly Father, ever bless us with the good things of the earth, that we gather before you with gifts in our hands, the fruit of our labor that we may celebrate all you have done for us in Christ Jesus. In his name we pray. Amen.