Read Deuteronomy 16 – Celebrate! Celebrations remind us who we are and where we came from. Celebrations are important to God – joy and gratitude are essential. My sweet husband had a recent birthday and we celebrated with his family. After a beautiful meal, the birthday candles were lit, the room dimmed and our loved ones began singing happy birthday…. feelings came up as I sang along, feelings of joy at the life we have lived, gratitude for our loved ones, gratitude to God for drawing us all to Him. We are getting older, but the best is yet to come because we are His!
In our chapter, the LORD speaks of three celebrations that must take place every year for the Israelites.
The Festival of Unleavened Bread marks the LORD’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt. When I read verse :3, I thought about my own salvation, the rescue from my Egypt of sin.
The Festival of the Harvest celebrates the bounty the LORD provides. It occured 7 weeks from the first cut of grain. It’s wonderful, “Celebrate with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites from your towns and the foreigners, orphans and widows who live among you.” :11b Do you see the joy and unity… they were to include non-Jews in this celebration, drawing all people among them to the LORD in celebration.
And the Festival of Shelters, “This festival will be a happy time of celebrating …to honor the LORD your God at the place he chooses… for seven days… for it is he who blesses you with bountiful harvests and gives you success in all your work. This festival will be a time of great joy for all.” :14-15.
Beloved, these celebrations were both reflective and dress rehearsals of things to come. When you read about them, can you think of how they came to life in the New Testament?