Festival in this context is not the conventional definition of how festival is practiced.
May the Lord enlighten your heart as you read.
A festival is a time of celebration with a specific focus. A festival is also a gathering of people to celebrate something.
People gather for the purpose of a particular celebration during the festival. It is usually characterized with joy, shouting, and participation of the whole community of people.
In Psa. 100:1 it was stated that “Make joyful shout to the Lord, all you land!”– In this case, the focus is God!
There are three major festivals in the bible, which are:
Passover – (Lev 23:4-5) – To celebrate Israelites’ freedom from slavery in Egypt after the death angel passed.
Pentecost – (Lev 23:15-22) – Thanksgiving for the first fruit of the harvest
Tabernacles – (Lev 23:33-44) – To celebrate God’s presence with the Israelites in the wilderness.
So generally, feast or festivals are approved of God if the FOCUS is GOD
Description/Preparation of the Festival
One of the ways people commonly prepare festivals is to REMEMBER/RECALL the previous festivals with the aim to improve on the experience for the coming one. Psa.103: 1-2 mentioned why keeping good memories is important.
“1. Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
When you remember the Lord’s benefits, you will be able to rejoice and command your soul and every part of your body to bless His name.
REJOICING is the second way people commonly prepare and anticipate the incoming festival. You might not see the need to rejoice in the presence of God when you don’t remember His blessings(benefits). Rejoicing unlocks gratitude and great joy.
King David in 2 Sam 6:14 danced shamelessly before the Lord with all his might to appreciate the Lord. He was able to do that because He remembered the manifold blessings of God, and how God blessed Obed Edom when he kept the ark of the Lord in his house. (2 Sam 6:11)
God was good to you in 2022 and He continues to be good. He gave you that job, He promoted you, He restored what you lost, He healed you from that sickness, He kept your journey safe all through the past year. If you are a student, He helped you pass your exams, and many more.
There’s always a reason to rejoice in the presence of God!
Demand of the Festival
1. Make a joyful shout to the Lord
Psa. 100:1&4 commands us to – “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you land! 4. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.”
A joyful shout is an expression of heartfelt gratitude. Joyful shouts is confirmation that you are a living being; it sends confusion to the enemy and it is a command of victory. (Psa. 115:17, 2 Chr. 20:21-25, Jos 6:20).
2. Serve with gladness, be cheerful:
In Psa. 100:2, it says: “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.”
Your cheerful service shows that you’re part of what is happening (the festival).
For instance, when you show up at a celebration event, and you are seated to be served, you are showing that you are an invited guest. Howwever, when you show up and get involved in service, making sure that everything goes well, you’re showing that you are one of the celebrants. Hence, Service is one of the demands of the festival.
3. Be Grateful
Be Grateful consciously. Be deliberate, be determined and be intentional in your show of gratitude. In Luk. 17:11-19, the one lepper who returned, with a loud voice to glorify God was grateful consciously.
Be Grateful courageously. Let your gratitude come with boldness and bravery. This is because there are occasions where people around you will want to commonize God’s blessings in your life to discourage you from being grateful to God. This happened to king David in 2 Sam. 6: 21-22 when Michal despised him for dancing to celebrate the return of the Ark of Covenant, but David was bold to tell Michal that “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord.
Be Grateful convincingly. Let your gratitude have credibility, sincerity, and integrity. In 1 Chron 22, King David determined in His heart to build a temple to honor God, and he said to the people in verse 5 that “the temple must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world.”
Remember that God did not permit him to build the temple because of the blood of the men he shed during the many wars he fought for Israel. God told him he can’t build it, but his son Solomon will build the temple. In his way to show he was authentic in his gratitude, he provided for most of the building materials (2 Chron 22:14).
You can be convincing/authentic in your gratitude today by the quality of what you give to God as an expression of your gratitude. The widow in Luke 21: 1-4 also gave us a good example of how to be credible in gratitude.
Say this prayer: Lord Jesus, help me express sincere gratitude to you.