Come On, Let’s Celebrate
God, we celebrate Your goodness. You have delivered us, provide for us and will bring us home.
Read DEUTERONOMY 16:1-22
 Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night.  Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name.  Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste-so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.  Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.  You must not sacrifice the Passover in any town the LORD your God gives you  except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name. There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt.  Roast it and eat it at the place the LORD your God will choose. Then in the morning return to your tents.  For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the LORD your God and do no work.  Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.  Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.  And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name-you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows living among you.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees.  Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.  Be joyful at your festival-you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns.  For seven days celebrate the festival to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.  Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the LORD empty-handed:  Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.  Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.  Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent.  Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.  Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the LORD your God,  and do not erect a sacred stone, for these the LORD your God hates. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat events do these festivals call to remembrance?
Three great celebration festivals are described here.Passover (1-8) looks back to the people’s departure from slavery in Egypt. The drama of sudden leaving is re-enacted by the eating of bread without yeast, as there was no time for it to rise before baking. Weeks (later called Pentecost because it happened 50 days after Passover) is like a farmer’s thanksgiving (9-12). The barley and wheat crops are growing and starting to be brought in–the very life of the people. God didn’t just deliver the people from slavery but has cared for them continually ever since. Tabernacles (sometimes called Booths) is an autumn harvest festival (13-15). Again it remembers the temporary homes of the people on their journey, but celebrates the God who provides grain and grapes from the land when they arrive. Moses teaches the people to be generous with what God gives them, not keeping the blessing to themselves (11,14). The people are taught to celebrate God’s goodness and organize their daily lives to reflect his grace.
Set aside a time for a retreat, a day or a weekend, to focus your attention on the Lord and his goodness.
Compassionate God, You have been so good to us and You never leave Your people. Thank You.
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