Exodus 23:14-19 lists the three times a year that God tells the Israelites “you are to celebrate a festival to Me.”
- Feast of Unleavened Bread: the anniversary of their deliverance from Egypt.
- Feast of Harvest: the first-fruits of their crops.
- Feast of Ingathering: when all their crops are brought in.
The Feast of Harvest is when they begin to see results from their crops—not when they actually receive the full harvest. It’s another example of praising God ahead of time.
While each celebration focuses on an event, past (Exodus), present (first-fruits) or future (harvest), they are celebrations to God.
I love how the Bible encourages us to celebrate, and the feasts sound like they’re whole-hearted events.
We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, milestones… but as I look at my own celebrations, I think they stop at recognizing the event rather than celebrating to the Lord who gave it.
Celebrating to the Lord…. Doesn’t that imply exuberant, abandoned praise? Like David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant?
It’s not just looking at the material and temporal, fine as they are, but looking to the Giver of the gift. Responding to Him in gratitude, love and worship.
Are we missing the fullest dimension of our celebrations?
I think gratitude is step one. How else can we celebrate to God without over-spiritualizing or turning everything into teaching moments?