“9 Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 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. 11 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. 12 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees. 13 Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 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. 15 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.16 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: 17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.”
Last time we saw that a life of celebration involved giving back to God a portion of His provision to us. Not only does celebration involve giving but second we see that it also involves:
Verse eleven says: “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.” Rejoicing wasn’t something that was reserved for a select few, it included everyone, from the leaders to the last. According to this verse the focus of our rejoicing should be God the Father. We need to remember that our reason for rejoicing is found in our Redeemer not in our current circumstances. Today many of us are allowing our rejoicing to revolve around results and how well we think things are going instead of on how great a God we serve. Rejoicing is not about the results it’s about the Redeemer. When we tie our celebrating to our current circumstances we limit our celebration to only those moments in life where we think things are going good. We end up waiting to worship until things get better and wasting our opportunities to worship. Instead of living a life of consistent celebration we settle for a sporadic one. In truth we end up celebrating our circumstances instead of our creator. Have you fallen into the trap of worshipping the wins instead of the One who is worthy of your worship? To rejoice means to take delight in something or someone, what are you finding your delight in? Are you daily delighting in God? In Philippians 4:4 Paul reminds us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice” Paul not only calls us to rejoice always but right away he reminds us a second time to rejoice. Remember Paul was in prison when he wrote Philippians, he practiced what he preached. Paul chose to rejoice regardless of his predicament because he was looking to God to lead and provide. You can cry over a half filled cup or celebrate by thanking God that you have some water to drink. It’s a choice, you see no matter the situation we all have a choice to rejoice. You can look for thorns among the roses or be thankful that among the thorns there are beautiful roses. In Habakkuk 3:17-19 the prophet declared: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” The words “I will” reveal Habakkuk’s belief that he could choose his response, either to sink into deep despair or to rejoice in God’s presence and power. His decision to rejoice was not a denial of the problems, but a choice to praise in the midst of the problems. We will all have times of sorrow and grief, even Jesus wept (John 11:35), but sorrow doesn’t have to have the final say. Don’t let the problems and the pain rob you of rejoicing. The choice to rejoice is available to us every day and to refuse to choose is itself a choice. Are you waiting to worship? Who or what are you really worshipping? Do you need to stop and redirect your rejoicing? Not only does celebration involve rejoicing but it also involves:
Its hard to rejoice where you are unless you remember where you were. If God had not rescued us, we would still be slaves to sin. What about you, has God rescued and redeemed you? We are just like the people of Israel who so quickly forgot what God had done for them. But when we remember we recall His goodness and grace. Today we are called to come to the table and remember how on the cross of Calvary Jesus crushed sin. Without the Savior we would still be slaves, but because of his sacrifice we are saved. Because of Gods mighty hand His people were freed from Egypt, where they had spent their time trying to please the task masters, laboring for that which they did not own. Now because of God’s goodness they had land and crops to give back to God, before they had nothing to give, they were salves and you can’t give away what’s not yours. When we remember where we were and where we are now we are reminded not only of how much we need Him but of how much we have to thank Him for. God’s call is for us to come and celebrate, to remember what He has done and rejoice in who He is. Because of the Lord we get to live it up. If there is one group of people on this planet that should be caught up in a perpetual party shouldn’t it be the people of God? Why are we so sour and sullen, after all we are the ones who are saved and secure. Yet many of us live lives of constant complaining instead of celebration, we act like we are ruined instead of redeemed. Today will you chose to celebrate? Are you going to remember and rejoice, what are you going to give back to God?