1999-03-30 - F3: A Holy Feast
The Holy Alphabet Series
Nehemiah 8:10 The he said to them, 'Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'
"An holy Feast, is an extraordinary thanksgiving for some notable diliverance out of some desperate danger, testified with feasting before God, with joy and gladness, sending Presents to our friends, and Portions to the needy, 1 Chron. 16:8, 29:10, 11, Neh. 8:10, Hest. 9:22." --Robert Port
One of the great advantages of reading writers from bygone generations is that they are not trapped in our generation and they bring perspectives, practices, and insights that are forgotten. I think that this is the case with Robert Port here. Every church has congregational meals and dinners, but I have never heard of a "Holy Feast".
What Port is speaking about is not a fellowship dinner, or something like that. Port is being very specific. He is speaking about the actions of the people of God during times of extraordinary providences of God. When God works in wonderful ways, Ports says, we are to have a Holy Feast. We are to rejoice and share our rejoicing with those around us.
He uses some Old Testament examples which are helpful in grasping just what he has in mind. For example his citation of Esther 9:22 (Hest. 9:22). This passage is the institution of the feast of Purim. It is the culmination of the deliverance of God to which the book of Esther leads. It is a feast that includes rejoicing, sending food to others and gifts to the poor.
How remarkable it would be today if we put this into practice. We all know times when it seems that God has worked remarkably. I do not have in mind times when our hang nails get better, but rather times when something miraculous seems to have really happened. The times when it appears only God could have been the one working.
The times to have a Holy Feast are when someone survives a car crash that they should not have or when the cancer is remarkably gone from one in whom it was formerly present. These and times like these are remarkable providences of God. What a witness it would be, what a testimony it would be, if these times were followed by pubic and lavish times of rejoicing and praising God.
Feasting is something that even the pagans have practiced. The Egyptians, during a feast, would bring out a skeleton to remind everyone of their mortality. Others would place, during the entire feast, a skull on the table where all the food was laid out. Even the pagans were mindful that life was frail, so we should be also.
But we don't need a skeleton or a skull at a Christian Holy Feast. Through the atonement of Christ our mortality has been swallowed up by life. We can rejoice at anytime and we don't need a feast to set aside some time today to praise God for His goodness to us. But, even so, how wonderful it would be if the old practice of Holy Feasting were re-instituted today.
Soli Deo Gloria,