When we contemplate the word and works of God and practice the habit of making a good confession, the next spiritual discipline we can exercise is celebration – often viewed through a faith lens as remembering and rejoicing in who God is and what He has done in our lives.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalm 46:10
Drawing lessons from history and individuals like Francis Crosby, we recognize that the key difference between a Christian who thrives over time or in challenging circumstances and one who does not often lie in their ability to consistently maintain a joyful celebration of their victory in the Lord daily.
So, how do we take this biblical path of celebration in a world that is filled with discouragement? First, we must understand that celebration is not just a suggestion in scripture. The Bible often speaks of the spiritual discipline of celebration as a responsibility and right. We see several examples of this in scripture, particularly in the Old Testament Feasts, which God instituted to commemorate His goodness toward Israel.
First, we must understand that celebration is not just a suggestion in scripture. – Pastor Bob
The Old Testament Feasts:
The Feast of Tabernacles – Commemorates when the Israelites wandered in the desert and lived in temporary shelters. Leviticus 23:39-43 says, "so beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest."
The Feast of Purim – Celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from the plot of Haman to annihilate them. Esther 9:22 says, "as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor."
The Passover – Commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as described in the Book of Exodus. Exodus 12:14 says, "this is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance."
God initiated these feasts to encourage people to take time to remember what God had done in the past and who He was to them in the present and future. The celebration was a responsibility and a right.
One habit that could help us to practice the discipline of spiritual celebration more effectively is to learn from passages of scripture like Psalm 46 which is a song of celebration written by the Sons of Korah. In this song, we see three main reasons why we have a right and a responsibility to celebrate.
1. We can celebrate because God is our source of strength.
The word translated “refuge” here in verse 1 means “shelter, a rock of refuge,” while the word in verses 7 and 11 means “ stronghold and high tower, a fortress.”
Both words declare that God is a dependable refuge for his people when everything around them is falling apart.
The question is how do we tap into this shelter? We start by celebrating this attribute of God, by declaring that he is our source of strength by faith.
2. We can celebrate because God is our source of joy.
Notice the lyrics: "The rivers whose stream make glad the city of God." The Sons of Korah were saying the presence of God is like a river flowing in our sanctuary. It flows out from here into the city and makes the whole town joyful.
The phrase “Holy habitation” refers to God’s presence.
It’s a reflection of the song of David in Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
When I preached a similar message, I said that “many Christians are missing the joy of the Lord, but God invites us to take hold of it daily.” So, how do we do this?
The Sons of Korah remind us that we have to choose to celebrate by faith daily. Our celebration helps us to recognize the presence of God who is ever present.
As Charles Spurgeon once said, "The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our discontent to flight."
3. We can celebrate that God is our God and He'll be exalted.
The Sons of Korah were reflecting on the victory God granted to Hezekiah over his enemies. Their song was a celebration of God’s faithfulness in the past and a declaration of faith in his provision. As the song unfolds God suddenly, interrupts the stanza…
Look at vs. 10a, God thunders, "Be still and know that I am God." This phrase literally means, "Take your hands off the situation!”
The lesson is that as an act of faith, spiritual celebration gets God’s attention.
About Pastor Bob Moya
Pastor Bob Moya has served as the lead pastor with his wife Candace at City Chapel in Arlington, Texas for over 22+ years. He is currently wrapping up his dissertation at Regent University and will graduate in the spring of 2024 with a doctorate degree in Spiritual Renewal and Leadership. When not serving at the church, you'll find Bob enjoying a good read at Barnes & Noble, sipping a nitro cold brew or black coffee at Starbucks, or spending time with his family.