"I remembered Your judgments of old, O LORD, and have comforted myself." Psalm 119:52
Text: Exodus 23 : 16
A STRONG AGRARIAN ECONOMY
When God planned to give Israel the land of Canaan, He envisioned a strong agrarian economy. The land was capable of yielding rich harvests! If Israel would work hard at tilling the ground, the reward would be rich indeed! One of the wisest use of rich fertile land would be to plant crops that would yield grain and fruits that could be used for local consumption and even trade with neighbouring countries!
REMEMBERING GOD’S HAND OF BLESSING
Israel was to make special efforts to acknowledge and appreciate God’s hand of blessing upon the land. Without His blessing, the land could not hope to yield rich harvests. A special feast was designed to celebrate a good harvest! The focus of the celebration of the harvest would be the Lord Himself.
“And the Feast of the Harvest, the firstfruits of your labours
which you have sown in the field.”
1. “The firstfruits of your labours”
Israel was to work very hard to till the land. They have to “labour”. They cannot take for granted that God would bless them and the land without putting in any effort to till the land!
2. Special spiritual significance
This particular Feast of the Harvest would be to celebrate “the firstfruits of their labour”. The celebration of this Feast had a special significance:-
a) The celebration of faith and trust in God for His continued blessing
The full harvest would not be in yet! How then may they celebrate? The focus on this special occasion would involve praying for the Lord to bless them with a full and good harvest! Israel could not take for granted that just because the seeds had been sown, the results were guaranteed! The nation must learn to pray and to exercise faith and trust in the Lord!
b) The celebration of anticipated blessings from the Lord
Israel must renew its faith in the Lord again and again! Even as they take a breather to celebrate, they must believe that God wanted them to exercise their faith in Him, and that He would bless them with a good harvest!
3. Taking time out from work
God was the one who taught men to work hard. But He also knew the value of taking time out from the daily grind of life to celebrate and to enjoy the fruit of labour poured in. Celebration, when meaningfully observed, can bring such a sense of renewal to both body and soul