Feast to the Lord

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I’m picturing it already… the busy hands cooking in the kitchen, the Macy’s Day Parade, football, longer conversations, warm ovens and savory smells. Days off work, road trips for some, heading home for a break from school or work. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the gifts the Lord has given, to check in with our hearts, and it is often a reminder that we do not live in gratitude nearly as often as we should. Yet this is not a time for condemnation but of conviction that leads to life and more joy and freedom. We have the unique opportunity to count the ways the Lord has loved us, provided for us, graciously broken us and intervened in our lives, patiently wooed us, restored us, spurred us on and given us a taste of eternity. For all of history, people have celebrated and given thanks with feasts. Whether consciously or not, people from various tribes and tongues have celebrated the abundance of good gifts the Lord has given by gathering together and eating good food. Feasting imagery is rich in the Scriptures as well. “Feasts in the Bible are images of joyful voices, festive music and dancing, and abundant food. They are not simply parties, but celebrations of God’s goodness toward his people. Feasts provide occasions of fellowship with one another and with the Lord to remember and to celebrate what wonderful things God has done. [...] Each of these feasts was celebrated by refraining from the usual work of the day, by assembling together in fellowship and by eating a festive meal of meat, grain (i.e., bread) and wine that had been ritually offered to God. These special sacrificial offerings renewed fellowship between a holy God and his sinful people, expressing the covenant relationship between them. Because of God’s goodness, these days were to be celebrated with great joy by everyone living in the land, including men and women, boys and girls, servants, widows, orphans, and even foreigners.”[1]

Feasts are also used as metaphors describing the kingdom. “The kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus is described in the parables as a great feast to which people from around the world and throughout the epochs of history will come (Mt 8:11; 22:1–14; Lk 14:15–24). It is a joyful celebration of God’s faithfulness to his promises that extends from the first to the last moment of history. Moreover, the image of the kingdom of God as a great feast is portrayed as a marriage banquet, expressing the joy of the most intimate fellowship between the Son of God and his bride, believers from all ages of time (Mt 22:1–14; Rev 19:9).”[2] I cannot help but think of the feast we will share as we drink the wine of the new covenant with Christ in our resurrected bodies. When are hearts are fully aware of the good things the Lord has done that we now can only dimly see. May we look past the gifts to the Giver, look past the present to the future hope that awaits us. “The imagery of biblical feasting still points to the future, when the Lord God will resurrect all his people from every age to live with him in eternal joy. Every feast celebrated to the Lord is but a foretaste of that glorious day.”[3]

May the Lord make us more aware of the ways He has given to us and loved us. When we look around at our earthly blessings, may we see the Creator and Great Giver behind it. The following excerpt is from Paul Tripp’s daily devotion, and it fits perfectly with this season of thanksgiving:

All the good and glorious created things that God puts in our lives are things he has designed and placed there to point us to the only place where life can ever be found— in him. All created things are signs that point us to what can be found in him. You know how this works from driving around or from taking a trip: a sign points you to a thing, but the sign is not the thing. Creation points us to the Creator, but it can never give us what the Creator can give. All the good situations , locations, possessions, relationships, achievements, and natural beauties of this physical world are wonderful blessings from the hand of God, but they have no ability to give you the one thing that your heart desperately desires— life. Jesus said it this way: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6). With these words, he ends our need to search. He is life, so there is no need to look for it anywhere else.[4]

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Isaiah 25:6-9

May we feast to the Lord. Happy Thanksgiving!

[1] Ryken, Leland, Jim Wilhoit, Tremper Longman, Colin Duriez, Douglas Penney, and Daniel G. Reid. Dictionary of biblical imagery. InterVarsity Press, 1998.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Tripp, Paul David (2014-10-31). New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional (Kindle Locations 7305-7310). Crossway. Kindle Edition.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]