“Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field.”
“Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year,
when you gather in your crops from the field.”
I am so thankful to have been raised in a family that learned to celebrate joyous occasions!
Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, showers, engagements, each event was marked as special and celebrated with great enthusiasm. I try hard to carry on this tradition with my loved ones.
As you see from Exodus 23 verse 16, God also delights in celebrations and he required the Israelites, His own people, to celebrate three feasts per year! These included the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering. God used Moses to write about these feasts in more detail in Leviticus.
The first feast is a celebration of remembrance for the Israelites from the exodus from Egypt. Gifts of gratitude were to be brought in thankfulness to God.
Next came the feast of harvest. The best of what they sowed and which had grown and then harvested was to be brought as a “first fruits” offering to the LORD.
Last, as the harvest and ingathering of crops took place at year end, a celebration again took place.
In Bible times crops, and harvesting was very important and the way of life for the Israelites. Agriculture was their primary source of livelihood along with animal husbandry. They made sacrifices, and they brought gifts to obey and honour God in their giving.
There are many parables and metaphors about soil in the Bible, along with analogies and principles of sowing and reaping and such. When farmers follow biblical mandates for farming, greater crop yields result along with protection of good agricultural land. God would have the farmer to be a good steward of their land.
In Bible times, the major crops mentioned are wheat, barley, olives, figs, grapes, pomegranates, and honey. Wheat and barley seem central in that the baking of unleavened bread was of vital importance.
Areas surrounding Israel had to depend upon irrigation to water their crops, while God provided the spring rains and the autumn rains.
In Deuteronomy, we learn God blessed the harvest of His people when they obeyed His commandments. Deuteronomy 28 is just one example of this theme which is repeated in this book of the Bible.
Today, God’s Word is still our instruction manual for living as Christians. As we make it our aim to follow God’s guidance and directives by His grace, we live a life that is blessed. That is God’s grace and mercy to us.
And that, dear reader, is something to celebrate! God’s grace to those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. Celebrating and remembering all that we have in Jesus Christ, His gift of grace. Not one of us is good enough or deserving of the gift of salvation in Christ.
Do you belong to the family of believers? If not, I encourage you to ask Jesus to help you believe in Him?
If so, celebrate with me today. And harvest joy, contentment, fulfillment, peace, and so much more. Fill your heart with a harvest of righteousness given by Jesus. He loves you. He wants to fill you to the brim and overflowing with His goodness, His light, His love, His joy, His saving grace.
This harvest of the soul is truly worth celebrating. Not in a mediocre way, not in a melodramatic way, but in a pure, unsullied joyful way!