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God wants you to party!

We are living in the great age of God’s message! Many people can now access the Bible for free in many languages through internet, apps, etc. This is great because the Bible is God speaking to us in our time and place. It reveals His character and master plan to reconcile all things to himself through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sadly, for many Christians the Bible is like an antique. It is treasured but never used!  We have fallen in the error of equating possession of the Bible with knowing and living its message! It is a dangerous temptation that people in every age have faced. Perhaps it’s the serious need to avoiding this danger that lies behind this beautiful message that God gave the nation of Judah :
Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off. (Nahum 1:15)
The nation of Judah is under the yoke of Nineveh. God has responded with an oracle through Nahum that seeks to draw their attention to the God of Israel rather than the source of their problem. Nahum begins by describing who God is and then promises that God will rescue them and cut off their oppressors. So what should God's people do with this message? 

Start celebrating now! God's message through Nahum is "Keep your feasts, O Judah!" God is breaking into Judah's circumstances big time! He is bringing the good news of peace! This is no ordinary “peace”, it is shalom! Shalom is not just absence of conflict / oppression but wholeness in relationship with God and others. A total transformation that not only brings peace with God, but the peace of God in every area of life!

There is only one natural response to this shalom : celebration! Judah is called to return to their “appointed feasts”. They are to celebrate their festivals!  The festivals Nahum is talking about include the Passover Meal, Pentecost and Harvest of Booths.  Why the call to return to festivals?

Festivals are reminders to Judah of who God is and he has done for them in the past!  Festivals “re-enact” God's work! These festivals are therefore practical acts of worshiping, thanking and enjoying God!  A proper response to God’s revelation of himself and his work is worship of God! When God has repaired our relationship with Him, he now becomes our everything! We delight in Him and what God has done in Jesus!

Festivals are above all occasions of joy and celebration in what God done and was doing! These festivals are parties for God because God has turned their mourning into dancing! A proper response to God’s message of peace in our lives is joy and celebration of God! When God forgives our sins, we can’t contain it! We will have that joy even in our difficult challenges! This joy is not manufactured. It comes from recognition that we have God in our midst, and He is all we need!

Festivals are acts of community. Festivals celebrate togetherness! You can’t have a feast on your own! God is calling on the community of Judah to come together.  A proper response to God’s work in our lives is a stronger and authentic bond of community in God! Not just community, but celebration of that community through eating together and remembrance!

God wants to Judah to celebrate his work right away! He says “keep your feasts”. There is only one problem! Judah is still under the yoke. They are being called to start  celebrating God’s work in their terrible situation!  God wants Judah to walk by faith and not by sight. He wants them to start festival preparations now! Regardless of your condition or challenges, if you have Jesus you have a lot to celebrate! Don’t wait for “perfect” conditions. God wants you to start praising Him now for what He is doing.

Notice though that God does not just end at “partying”.  Festivals gives us momentum to go on enjoying life positively! So we are not surprised that God adds an additional command, "perform your vows”. The celebration must be lived out in their lives by fulfilling their vows. The vows before God must be sincere and must not be foolish!

The call here is to transition from merely celebratory or party worship to genuine faithfulness towards God. Those that have considered the message of God and celebrated it will also conform! Why is this so? Because of God’s deliverance – “for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off” The people have been delivered from their worst enemies – they can now live free from him!

God in Christ has also delivered us from all our enemies. He has worked a great salvation for us.  The response of a heart rescued is righteous living and genuine joy at being God’s child in Jesus! Because we have Jesus Christ, we can now celebrate and enjoy him forever! We need not wait for Heaven because Jesus has come in the here and now. God has turned our mourning into dancing.

Series Posts:

The Burden of God : God is Angry (1:1-3)
The Burden of God : God is Jealous (1:2-3)
The Burden of God : God is Powerful (1:3-6)
The Burden of God : God is Good (1:7)
The Burden of God : God is Just - Part I (1:7-8)
The Burden of God : God is Just - Part II (1:9-12)
The Burden of God : God is Just - Part III (1:10)
The Burden of God : God is Just - Part IV (1:14)
The Burden of God : God is Comforter (1:12-13)

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2015

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