Week 40 Taking Time to Celebrate God

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 40

Scripture Readings: Numbers 29-32

Key Scripture Verse: Numbers 29:1 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.”

Chapter 29 of Numbers starts out talking about three sacred holidays that God had commanded the people to celebrate. This first one cited as our key verse is the Festival of the Trumpets. There were also The Day of Atonement and The Festival of Tabernacles. At each of these festivals burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings were presented to God and the people were to refrain from work. All of these were celebrations to the glory of God. I have chosen the one verse as representative of all of them because they were all similar, but I particularly liked the idea that God had a musical theme to this one.

I love the idea that God has told the Israelites to celebrate with trumpets. I imagine that to be a dramatic celebration of God—a true joyful noise! I love hearing music that glorifies God in our church services and when people are happily singing hymns in church. Sometimes music can touch us in ways that other parts of the worship service cannot.

Music is an important part of our worship. If God told Moses to tell the people to use trumpets to celebrate, clearly it was pleasing to him to have them assemble in this way. And remember that God’s beloved David whom he said was “a man after his own heart” was a musician who used his music to glorify God on a regular basis. Remember also that when Solomon had the temple built, the people praised God with music and a sounding of the trumpets at its dedication.

The Celebration of Trumpets was a celebration of worship. They were to spend time with God in a community of others with the sole purpose of celebrating their faith and commitment to God. And this celebration was only one of them. God commanded them to have regular festivals of praise and worship.

Spiritual holidays are important—they are meant to be “holy” days and it is wonderful that God provided the requirement to stop everything, stop all labor, to have a day of rest, and to be holy.

We sing a hymn in church that says, “take time to be holy”—it’s one of my favorites. I think sometimes I need a reminder of that. Sundays are Sabbath for some of us, but these days a lot of us don’t take a Sabbath—not a real sabbath of time to be holy and to praise God, because in our culture, Sunday is just another work day.

Perhaps we forget that God has commanded us to have a Sabbath day of rest. Perhaps it is easy to have holidays of celebration that are meant to be “holy” but we forget the holy part. Perhaps we forget to offer praise and joyful music up to God. Perhaps we take God for granted.

I think we need to remember to live our lives with intention and to live our faith with intention as part of that. This week I am going to make a point of remembering Jesus at our communion table, celebrating God with music, taking a day of rest, and taking time to be holy. I may even make my own joyful noise to His glory–I hope you will, too.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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