Come, With Joy

Joy

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 16

Today’s Theme is about Three main feasts: Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles. Exodus 12 gave us the real details of the Passover. The Feast of Passover was instituted as a memorial to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their adoption as Jehovah’s nation. The Passover is a festival that laid the foundation of the nation, Israel’s birth into a new relationship with God.

In verses 9-11, it says that they were to number seven weeks after Passover, which would be forty-nine; then the next day would be the Sabbath, the fiftieth day. Because the Greek word for “fifty” is pentecoste, this Feast of Weeks is known as Pentecost. It is also called the Feast of Harvest or the Day of First Fruits. It celebrated the first or earliest fruits of the harvest.

Verses 16-17 expand on the tabernacles. These are the three feasts which were to be celebrated in Jerusalem, which all males were required to attend. Three times a year they were to travel to Jerusalem to keep these feasts. It was to be a time of rejoicing and they were to come before the Lord with joy.

How often do we come to the LORD with a laundry list of wants and we through it all on Him. I’m guilty of that. I have burdens for people and events. I try to be sincere when I ask God about the things on my prayer list, but do I always come to Him with joy? Unfortunately, no.

This is a great perspective for us to keep in mind as we enter into prayer with Him. He does say “cast your burdens on Him and He will care for you” (1 Peter 5:7) and I’m certain God can handle it, but what if someone saw you, walked up to you and just started hammering you with a list of “I wants?” You would be confused. No sincerity, no compassion, not even a half-hearted, “How are you doing?” If we had people like that in our lives, we may avoid that person in the future.

I know God doesn’t avoid us, but I do believe as we approach the God of the Universe, we could (and should) be respectful, communicative, appreciative and joy-filled. This is a perspective that is a good reminder to us, especially me, that God is not my dumping zone of worries and woes. He is God and we are so blessed to be able to go directly to Him, in fellowship, with our lives.

Intimidating Expectations

Checklist

Today’s Devotion: Deuteronomy 6

I love these following verses in Deuteronomy 6: (Warning: They are very intimidating!)

2 So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

On their own, each one of these verses could be a blog from my heart. Verse 2 reminds us that our actions, values, example and disciplines not only effect us, but the generations that follow after us. I wonder if my great, great, great, great, great grandparents would be proud to know that I’m walking with the LORD today? This technically goes all the way back to Abraham, the father of all nations, whom God promised to give him as many descendant as there are stars in the sky. I’m one of Abraham’s stars, are you? When you take that perspective, it’s pretty convicting to know the responsibility beset upon us for our kids and the generations that follow after us, isn’t it?

Then, to love the LORD with all of my heart, soul, and strength… WOWSA! That is an incomprehensible love to me, but is there anyone else worthy of such love? Love of the one who gave His son for my life, as a sacrifice for MY sins, that gives me assurance of eternal life that I don’t deserve? Should God expect any less from us? I say, “No!”

And He tells us to teach it to our children CONSTANTLY. That assumes we know His Word and know Him ourselves, therefore, have the ability to teach our children. What an awesome, overwhelming responsibility. All three of these verses are awesome, but overwhelming.

I’m going to put this into perspective, my finite mind’s perspective. This Christian walk is a journey. One day at a time, one decision at a time, one moment at a time. If I look at the big picture of Deuteronomy 6, I am plummeted with feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. But if I recognize that these are, in many ways, are the fruits of what will result from my daily walk with the LORD, it makes me excited to turn the page and take in more of what God desires for me. It takes away the checklist mentality of checking things off like a to-do list that needs to be conquered. This chapter, and specifically these verses, implies that we have a daily commitment to learn, grow and live out His Word in our lives.

So let’s turn the page, let’s start a new day, full knowing that He is providing us with the best knowledge and wisdom we can get on this side of heaven and each day. He is giving us what we need to live successfully.