Only the Best
by Judy Webb
Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me. (Exodus 23:14)
I read these 6 verses over and over. This often helps me to discern what God is trying to tell me. Occasionally it is obvious after reading and praying, but often I need to sit with the text and study the words, maybe even put them into the context of what is happening around me. For whatever reason, this passage took longer than usual to grasp. This means God wants me to listen to what He is saying.
Christians celebrate a few festivals every year, like Christmas and Easter. Why do we do this? Christmas is to remember the Birth of our Savior, and Easter commemorates Jesus’ death and resurrection. They are reminders for us, a way of telling us to prepare for the return of Jesus and they introduce us to the Gospel.
For the Israelites, these three required celebrations were for the same reason, to serve as a reminder of all God had done to rescue them and lead them to freedom. These celebrations helped the Israelites to stop and periodically reflect on their blessings, and freedom in their new land of promise. These three festivals are each symbolic of God’s faithfulness and mercy:
Festival of unleavened bread commemorates the Exodus and immediately follows Passover.
The second is the Festival of Weeks, or Pentecost and the formation of the Church.
Third is the Festival of Tabernacles which is a thanksgiving festival and held in early autumn.
Followers of Jesus also need to pause now and then and consider all God has done. We know everything can change in an instant and we must be ready—we must get our hearts right with God. Verse 19 sums it up for us: “Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the LORD.” God has given us the very best when he sent is Son, Jesus to save us. We should do likewise.
Give God only the best!
We need to stop and remember all you do for us each day. We awaken in the morning and take our first breath of the day and should thank you for that breath. Help us never take things for granted, but to relish and appreciated each gift you provide. Amen.