Pastor James Park’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on July 7, 2019
Remembrance is the secret of redemption. In our lives of faith, the driving force and the vitality of our life comes from our encounter with God. However, as we live our lives day in and day out, we tend to forget our encounters with God. We forget the grace and the love and all of the blessings that we have received. Thus, we forget to give thanks. This teaches us that the fall of man begins when they forget their encounter with God. Therefore, the secret of redemption is to “remember.” Forgetting is the first step to the fall; however, the first step of redemption is “remembrance” (Deut 32:7). Moses proclaimed the Word of God in the Plains of Moab right before his death and the central message that God spoke through Moses was to “remember the days of old.” The next command was to “consider the years of all generations.” Thus remembering is the secret of redemption. God has given us two different ways to remember the days of old. Through memorial and special days such as the Sabbath Day and memorial objects such as the manna. God gave memorial days and objects in order to remember the days of old and to consider the years of all generations. And when we do that we can find the lost thanksgivings, grace, and blessings that we have received from God and be restored back to Him.
Three National Feasts
There are three major feasts. The first is the “Passover” which was kept on the 14th day of the first month and the Israelites made their exodus from Egypt on the next day on the 15th of the first month. God set this day as the Passover to commemorate their exodus and their lives in Egypt which represents the world where we are in bondage to sin (Rev 11:7-8). Thus, the Passover is to remind the people of God of their exodus from the world. Through these national feasts, God is calling upon us to remember and repent (Rev 2:5).
The second feast is called the “Feast of Harvest” which was kept on the 6th day of the third month. It was here that God came down upon Mt. Sinai and spoke and the people received the Ten Commandments on the 50th day after their exodus from Egypt. It is also referred to as the “Feast of Weeks” which is 7 weeks or 49 days with the next day being the 50th day. The Feast of Harvest is also called the “Pentecost” which took place after the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the 50th day. The Holy Spirit came down and the early church began.
The third major feast is called the “Feast of Ingathering.” These series of feasts at the end of the year starts with the “Feast of Trumpets,” and on the 10th day, is the “Day of Atonement.” And at the end of the year on the 1st day in the 7th month, they keep the “Feast of Ingathering,” which is the practice of gathering and coming into the kingdom of heaven.
How to keep the Feast of Harvest
First, in order to keep the Feast of Harvest in the Old Testament, all men who are fit for work must come before God. Today, as sons of God, all of us need to come before God and enter into His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and His courts with praise (Psa 100:1-5). Thus, with thanksgiving and praise, we come before God. Without thanksgiving and praise, we cannot come before God (Rom 1:21). When we give thanksgiving, it ushers in the presence of God. When our hearts are darkened, our thinking becomes futile. God leaves and there is a space in our heart for idols to come in. When idols come into our hearts, we exchange the glory of God for corruptible animals and beasts (Rom 1:22-23).
Secondly, we need to keep the feast by coming to the place that God designates. The place that God designates is the church. In the Old Testament it would be the Temple (Jerusalem). The people, in order to keep these feasts, had to come all the way up to Jerusalem to worship regardless of where they were living. When we come before God, He will take care of us.
Thirdly, we must not come empty-handed before God in order to keep the feasts (Deut 16:16-17). Thus, we need to bring something in our hands to offer up to God. More than any other feast, during these three feasts you absolutely needed to bring an offering to God.
Fourthly, we must give with a free willing heart according to all the blessings which we received from God.
Conclusion: God has set these three national feasts to remember God’s work, His grace, love and the Word of the Covenant that He has given to us. In the same way, God has given us those special days and special memorial objects to remember the days of old and to consider the years of all generations. And when we give thanks to God, it glorifies Him, and it is the key to miracles. Thanksgiving is the key to solving all problems and the key to opening all doors of progress, in our future. Thus, thanksgiving serves as a master key. Jesus gave thanks to God with the five loaves and two fish, and a miracle happened and He fed five thousand men plus women and children. Before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus gave thanks (John 11:41). We can see here that thanksgiving ushers in the power and miracle of God. Thanksgiving is the power and driving force that will unlock the blessings of God. Our words have the power of life and death, but when we have thanksgiving, we will not rot but become fresh; we will not decay or die. When we have thanksgiving, we will transfigure and go into heaven in the end.