Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.” (Exodus 34:23-24)
The three times the men of Israel were to “appear before the Lord” were the three so-called pilgrimage festivals — Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost (known in Hebrew as Shavuot) and the Feast of Tabernacles (in Hebrew called Sukkot). Two of three were seven day festivals and, when practiced in the days of the Temple, would have required several traveling days to and from Jerusalem. In other words, families would be away from their property for extended periods of time and any one who has worked a farm or who has animals understands what that can mean.
Nevertheless, God instructed them to appear before Him and, knowing their concerns, precluded the worry by promising to watch over them and their property while they were away obeying His commands. Their influence in the land would not shrink but expand. Furthermore, not only would He rid the country of the bad neighbors but would keep their other enemies at bay while they were absent from their lands. There is no better protector than the God of Israel who neither sleeps nor slumbers. And while we have always understood that He watches over us as His people, this verse tells us that He watches over that which He has blessed us with — when we walk in obedience.
In the coming days and years, this promise is going to mean so much more to us as we see the conditions in the world degenerate. We have already seen a tendency among many in this world to look upon those who have more and desire to take it away by any method they feel necessary. No doubt this jealous and violent spirit will grow as people give into their base inclinations. While we, as God’s people, shouldn’t place unmerited value on property and things, still, we have the promise that God will protect us and will provide what we need to live. That might mean He protects our property and possessions from those who would take it or it might mean that He rains down bread from heaven to feed us each day. Whatever way He chooses, let us be confident that He will keep His promise when we keep our commitment to obey.
Blessings and Shalom,