Take a Listening Heart to the Feast
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Let’s consider for a moment the word “feast” itself. Most modern dictionaries will describe “feast” as a “joyful religious anniversary, an annual village festival, a sumptuous meal, especially in public.”
The biblical expression “feasts of the Lord” in Leviticus chapter 23 emphasizes the importance of the feast as a festival observed as a fixed time or season, an assembly convened for a definite purpose.
The Feast is a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the Kingdom of God.
The Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897 edition) describes the word “feast” as “a mark of hospitality (Genesis 19:3 Genesis 19:3And he pressed on them greatly; and they turned in to him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
American King James Version×; 2 Samuel 3:20 2 Samuel 3:20So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast.
American King James Version×; 2 Kings 6:23 2 Kings 6:23And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.
American King James Version×); occasions of domestic joy (Luke 15:23 Luke 15:23And bring here the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
American King James Version×; Genesis 21:8 Genesis 21:8And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
American King James Version×); and the occasion of a marriage (Judges 14:10 Judges 14:10So his father went down to the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.
American King James Version×; Genesis 29:22 Genesis 29:22And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
American King James Version×). [In ancient Israel,] feasting was a part of the observances connected with the offering up of sacrifices (Deuteronomy 12:6-7 Deuteronomy 12:6-7  And thither you shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and of your flocks:  And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, you and your households, wherein the LORD your God has blessed you.
American King James Version×; 1 Samuel 9:19 1 Samuel 9:19And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me to the high place; for you shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let you go, and will tell you all that is in your heart.
American King James Version×; 16:3, 5), and with the annual festivals (Deuteronomy 16:11 Deuteronomy 16:11And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite that is within your gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD your God has chosen to place his name there.
American King James Version×).
“It was one of the designs of the greater solemnities, which required the attendance of the people at the sacred [tabernacle], that the oneness of the nation might be maintained and cemented together, by statedly congregating in one place, and with one accord taking part in the same observance.”
The dictionary then goes on to state: “To keep the people’s consciousness alive to God’s way, to revive, strengthen, and perpetuate it, nothing could be so well adapted as these annual feasts.”
Solomon’s request should be our own
The phrase “keep the feast” also encourages us to commune spiritually. In other words, as God’s people travel each year to one of the various festival sites to keep this “anniversary,” we recognize that we are invited guests, not only to a banquet of good food, fine drink and wonderful fellowship with other brethren who have made the same trek, but we also recognize that the invitation is from God. Not only does He want us to rejoice at the physical blessings that have been bestowed on us over the past year (Deuteronomy 14:22-26 Deuteronomy 14:22-26  You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed, that the field brings forth year by year.
 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of your corn, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herds and of your flocks; that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
 And if the way be too long for you, so that you are not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from you, which the LORD your God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD your God has blessed you:
 Then shall you turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go to the place which the LORD your God shall choose:
 And you shall bestow that money for whatever your soul lusts after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul desires: and you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you, and your household,
American King James Version×), but also He wants us to commune spiritually with Him, and with each other. What exactly does that mean? How do we commune spiritually? Let’s look at a biblical example.
When Solomon replaced his father David on the throne, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask! What I shall give you?” (1Kings 3:5). Solomon asked for an understanding heart, better translated as a hearing or listening heart, that he might better judge God’s people and be a better king. “The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing” (1Kings 3:10). Solomon was blessed not only with the wisdom of a listening heart, but great physical blessings as well.
We recognize that we are invited guests, not only to a banquet of good food, fine drink and wonderful fellowship with other brethren who have made the same trek, but we also recognize that the invitation is from God.
The lesson we learn is this: Not only do God’s people participate in the Feast of Tabernacles for the physical meat, but also for meat that leads to everlasting life (John 6:27 John 6:27Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed.
American King James Version×). Remember what the apostle Paul wrote: “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21 1 Corinthians 1:21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
American King James Version×). If we develop a determination to attend the Feast with a listening heart, we will not only be in spiritual communication, drawing closer to God and Jesus Christ, but like Solomon we will find the physical blessings are much more enjoyable as we also draw closer to each other.
The chance to grow closer as a family
The Feast is a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the Kingdom of God. It is a great occasion for people to commune. The word “commune” merely means fellowship, and fellowship gives us the marvelous opportunity to apply some of Solomon’s wisdom, such as, “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23 Proverbs 15:23A man has joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
American King James Version×) and “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24 Proverbs 16:24Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
American King James Version×).
God’s people meet many personalities at the Feast, some who are quiet and shy, and some who have a hard time communicating. What better way to get to know God than by getting to know someone else God has called? After all, you and that new person you talk with may well be in the Kingdom of God forever. So why not take the opportunity to get acquainted while attending the Feast of Tabernacles?