This article on how "the Israelites were commanded to celebrate—and we would be wise to follow suit" is up at InTouch Magazine. You can read the full article here.
While some people may envision God as a dour policeman whose primary interest is simply to keep our behavior in check, a quick peek into the Scriptures reveals quite the opposite. Instead, we discover a God of celebration who loves to fire up the grill, crank up the music, and invite the whole neighborhood over for a bash.
ISRAEL’S NATIONAL BLOCK PARTIES
One of the Hebrew words for celebration is chagag, which is often associated with Israel’s national festivals. In the Old Testament, God established seven major festivals, which are (in calendar order): Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
These were like Israel’s national block parties, where the people all came together to celebrate who God is by remembering what He’s done and commemorating His great acts in history. At Passover, for example, God declared as He delivered His people from Egypt, “For the generations to come you shall celebrate [Passover] as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance” (Ex. 12:14 NIV). While Passover celebrated God as Deliverer, other feasts, like the early-harvest observance of Firstfruits, recognized His provision and rejoiced in His abundance (Lev. 23:9-14)…