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Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. (Deuteronomy 16:16-17)

In this section of the Scripture, Moses repeats instructions regarding the different festivals throughout the year, specifically the three pilgrimage feasts listed above. One distinction made in this portion of Scripture is the role of the Sanctuary in relation to observing these special times. In the wilderness, the people were compacted together, so to speak, but once they arrived in the land, they were scattered throughout the country. The point being, the Sanctuary was the place they were to meet; these feasts  were the appointed times they were meet with the LORD.

Notice also that they were not to appear “empty handed,” meaning they were to bring a gift and offering unto the LORD. He didn’t put a price tag on it but specified that each head-of-the-house were to to give as “he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD.” In addition to the notion of being “cheerful givers,” Moses stressed that these feasts were to be joyous times. This is especially noted in regard to the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), in fact, they are basically commanded to “rejoice in your feast.” Judaism points out that one of the most “joyful” attributes of Sukkot was the Drawing of Water. According to one rabbinic source, “He that has not beheld the joy of the drawing of water has never seen joy in his life.”

My reason for bringing this point to the forefront is because this is what Messiah identified with when, on the last great day of the feast, He said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). If this ceremony was employed in order to stress the need to come before the LORD as joyful, then we must conclude that it is in Messiah that we find our joy. Yes, He is the Lamb slaughtered on our behalf at Passover and His body is represented by the unleavened bread we eat for seven days. Yet, He is also the personification of the joy we find in meeting with the LORD. Therefore, even in the midst of trial, let us strive to find the joy that comes with serving our Master, and so in that light, I will close with this verse:

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (Yeshua)” (Isaiah 12:3).

Blessings and Shalom,  




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