What is a feast of thanksgiving?
The picture above shows a possible feast of thanksgiving where one is surrounded with friends and family sharing seasonal food offerings and decorations.
Perhaps in the past week or even today you are gathering with your friends and family to do something similar.
Why do we gather to share food and festivities?
Our study of Joel has not been an easy one at times.
We have read about great suffering that the Judean community experienced due to locusts, drought, and fire.
Alarmingly, these sufferings were sent by their covenant Lord.
Although we are never told the specifics of why the Lord sent these successive waves of suffering against His own community and land it is frequently implied that He was doing this to get their attention because they had wandered away from their relationship with Him.
Finally, in Joel 2:18 and following it is implied that the Judeans took heed of their situation and the call to respond humbly with their Lord since the Lord began to answer their prayers favorably again.
In fact, the Lord begins a response that is the exact reversal of everything that had been described previously as having caused the Judeans great suffering.
Today we look at another reversal of suffering.
Read Joel 2:24
ESV Joel 2:24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
If you celebrated a thanksgiving feast with family and friends recently (an American tradition) then you probably feel full and overflowing! Giggling…
Can you imagine what this promise from the Lord in Joel 2:24 meant to the Judeans?
They had suffered waves of locusts destroying every scrap of vegetation available for both man and animals in their community and wildlands.
Once again though this promise from the Lord to restore their agricultural bounty has deeper meaning than just providing foodstuffs to His creation.
Consider the following verses from other scripture:
ESV Leviticus 26:10 You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new.
ESV Amos 9:13 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.
ESV Malachi 3:10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
ESV Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Now look again at a significant concern that was expressed more than once in Joel:
ESV Joel 1:9-10 The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the LORD. The priests mourn, the ministers of the LORD. 10 The fields are destroyed, the ground mourns, because the grain is destroyed, the wine dries up, the oil languishes.
ESV Joel 1:13 Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O ministers of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! Because grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God.
ESV Joel 1:16 Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
What implication do you see between what these verses from Joel and the passages above from Leviticus, Amos, Malachi, and Proverbs?
Could it be that the Lord sent the locusts, drought, and fire because the Judeans had stopped putting their relationship with the Lord as their first priority and had neglected giving to the priests that maintained the temple and taught them the Lord’s word?
Why was it important for the Judean’s to give of their firstfruits to the temple?
Consider the Lord’s words to Moses:
ESV Leviticus 23:10-11 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest,and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
ESV Leviticus 23:20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
Remember when the Israelites left Egypt and were to enter the Judean countryside at the Lord’s instructions there were also instructions about what each tribe would inherit once there.
ESV Deuteronomy 18:1 “The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the LORD’s food offerings as their inheritance.
Could it be the error the Judeans had made was to neglect providing firstfruits to their Lord and thus denying the priests that served their community their livelihood?
Could it be the failure to bring firstfruits to their Lord caused them to not be accepted by the Lord?
Making it personal for today
The scripture above speaks in agricultural terms because the first recipients were predominantly a society that was centered around this type of life.
- Where in your life have you neglected bringing your firstfruits to the Lord?
- Maybe your firstfruits are a portion of your financial income that gets automatically deposited each time you receive a paycheck?
- Do you intentionally set aside funds, time, and your talents to serve the Lord?
- Is this your priority in life or does the Lord only get your leftovers?
- How do you share the Lord’s blessing that come your way with those around you who may not know the Lord?
- What else do you see in today’s study?
Send me your comments!
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- Names and Their Meaning: Joel 1:1
- Breaking News : Joel 1:2
- Sharing Stories : Joel 1:3
- Current Crisis : Joel 1:4
- Shortages Today : Joel 1:5
- Gone Viral : Joel 1:6
- Vulnerable: Joel 1:7
- Heartbreak: Joel 1:8
- Cut Off: Joel 1:9
- What is Essential? Joel 1:10
- Shame, Distress, or Despair Joel 1:11
- What is Joy? Joel 1:12
- Dressing for Spiritual Leadership Joel 1:13
- Crying Out Joel 1:14
- Perspectives and Opinions Joel 1:15
- Emotions Joel 1:16
- Neglect Joel 1:17
- Even the Sheep Suffer Joel 1:18
- Fire Joel 1:19
- Soul Thirst Joel 1:20
- It’s Coming! Joel 2:1
- Thunderstorms Joel 2:2
- Hard Times Joel 2:3
- Power Joel 2:4-5
- Overwhelmed Joel 2:6
- Action Joel 2:7-9
- Earthquake and Eclipse Joel 2:10
- Endurance Joel 2:11
- Hope or Despair Joel 2:12
- Sincerity Joel 2:13-14
- Call to Attention Joel 2:15
- Purpose Joel 2:16
- Compromised Reputation Joel 2:17
- To Take Pity Joel 2:18
- Satisfied Joel 2:19
- Greatness Joel 2:20
- Be Glad and Rejoice Joel 2:21
- Gardening Excitement Joel 2:22
- The Joy of Rain Joel 2:23