March 4, 2023
It’s Time to Celebrate
Nehemiah - “On October 9 the family leaders of all the people, together with the priests and Levites, met with Ezra the scribe to go over the Law in greater detail. As they studied the Law, they discovered that the Lord had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should live in shelters during the festival to be held that month… So everyone who had returned from captivity lived in these shelters during the festival, and they were all filled with great joy! The Israelites had not celebrated like this since the days of Joshua son of Nun.” (Nehemiah 8:13-14, 17)
As the Israelites listened to Ezra read from the scriptures, they learned that God had commanded them to hold an annual celebration called the Feast of Tabernacles (sometimes called the Feast of Booths). During this time of celebration, the Lord wanted the Israelites to live in temporary shelters for seven days as a reminder of when God provided for their ancestors when they lived in the wilderness as they traveled to the promised land. The people were to remember what God had done for their ancestors and then thank Him for his miraculous provision, protection, and power in their lives. Even though this celebration was a week long, the Israelites reinstituted the celebration in full vigor. Nehemiah writes, “So everyone who had returned from captivity lived in these shelters during the festival, and they were all filled with great joy! The Israelites had not celebrated like this since the days of Joshua son of Nun.” (Nehemiah 8:17)
Most Christians today do not celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, but God still wants us to celebrate His miraculous provision, protection, and power in our lives. The Psalmist writes “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. Exult in His holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord.” (Psalm 105:1-3). The world may not see us living in booths as the Israelites did when they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, but they can hear us giving thanks to the Lord. They can witness us proclaiming the goodness of our God. They can see our joy as we sing His praises and tell everyone about the wonderful deeds of the Lord. They can even join in as we rejoice in the name of Jesus. We should never give those around us cause to doubt that we worship the Lord. His praise should constantly be coming out of our mouths. (Psalm 34:1)
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
In your journal or on a piece of paper, write out your answers to the following questions: 1) What has happened in my life or in the lives of others that I should celebrate? 2) In what ways do I need to express my gratitude to the Lord? If you’re leading your family through this devotion, ask each of them to write out their answers to the above questions and then share them with the rest of your family.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, You have been so good to me. Help me to always rejoice and worship You for all You have done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.