Our Daily Bread Devotional For August 18, 2023 : Topic – Festivals of Worship
Bible in a Year:
Rejoice before the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name.
Today’s Scripture : Deuteronomy 16:9–16
Each of the festivals in Deuteronomy 16 celebrated an event in Israel’s recent history. The Festival of Weeks, also known as Pentecost, reminded the people of their time at Sinai when they received the Law (vv. 9–12). The Festival of Tabernacles (vv. 13–16) recalled God’s provision in the wilderness. But the first festival was Passover (vv. 1–8) and observed the event in which He preserved the firstborn son in homes that were covered by the blood of a spotless lamb. Together these festivals were a timeless reminder of God’s providential rescue of His people and pointed to ultimate rescue through the Messiah—Jesus.
Message : Attending a large event might change you in a surprising way. After interacting with more than 1,200 people at multiday gatherings in the UK and US, researcher Daniel Yudkin and his colleagues learned that large festivals can impact our moral compass and even affect our willingness to share resources with others. Their research found that 63 percent of attendees had a “transformative” experience at the festival that also left them feeling more connected to humanity and more generous toward friends, family, and even complete strangers.
When we gather with others to worship God, however, we can experience more than merely the social “transformation” of a secular festival; we commune with God Himself. God’s people undoubtedly experienced that connection to Him when they gathered in Jerusalem in ancient times for their sacred festivals throughout the year. They traveled—without modern conveniences—to be present at the temple three times a year for “the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles” (Deuteronomy 16:16). These gatherings were times of solemn remembrance, worship, and rejoicing “before the Lord” with family, servants, foreigners, and others (v. 11).
Let’s gather with others for worship to help one another to continue to enjoy Him and trust in His faithfulness.
Reflect & Pray
How have you experienced a sense of connection with God when gathering with others for worship? How has the presence of others helped?
Thank You, God, for inviting Your people to worship You together.