Brethren, we are living in a sad, sad world. According to the World Health Organization, there are over 264 million people who are depressed on a global scale.
Do you know how big that number is? Well, think about it: the Philippines has over 100 million in population. So, it means there is more than twice our population who are depressed.
What’s more interesting is that people who are from the age bracket from 12 to 25 years old are the most depressed age group. In fact, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young adults.
We are commanded to rejoice
However, brethren, we are not to be sad. In fact, in this Feast, one of the most important commandments given to us is this 7-letter word. That word is “rejoice!”
In the Bible, we read over and over again how God commanded us to rejoice in the Feast. While it’s nice reading all of them, I just want to focus more on Deuteronomy 16:13-15:
You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates.
Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.
If only this world knows the Feast of Tabernacles, this world would have been a happier place to live in. However, brethren, we are not of this world. We are part of the congregation of Yahweh.
We are told to rejoice.
Remember to rejoice
Now, here’s something you need to understand. Rejoicing in the Feast is not a request. It is a command.
It is not optional but it is mandatory!
Why? Why would the Almighty have to command us to rejoice?
Because we live in a world full of pain, suffering, and chaos. Yes, there are times when it is easy to be happy, but there will come a time when it is difficult to be happy and in those times, we need to remember the command to rejoice.
Rejoicing no matter
Now, if you read again Deuteronomy 16, it doesn’t say, rejoice in the feast if you are healthy. It doesn’t say, rejoice in the feast if you have a lot of money, if there is no pandemic, if there are no restrictions, if your family is complete, if there are a lot of attendees.
No, brethren, it only says, REJOICE in the Feast. There’s no condition attached to it.
This world and Satan may give us a lot of reasons to be sad, but let me tell you, there’s no reason good enough to stop us from rejoicing in this Feast.
Choose to rejoice
You see, brethren, ever since 2005, I have been keeping the Feast with my parents. They have always been with me during the Feast. However, this year (2020), to no fault of their own, they are not here. I cried bitterly when I learned they couldn’t make it here. I mean, the Feast is the perfect time for families to come together. But look at us now. We are not complete.
But should this keep us from rejoicing? I tell you no. Why? Here’s why: Psalm 30:5:
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
The Apostle Paul had all the reason to be sad. He was shipwrecked. He was betrayed. He was beaten to death. Yet, in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” And to really hammer it down in our mind, he repeated in I Thes 5:16, Rejoice always.
Rejoice with the brethren
Now, here’s something that we should never miss in Deuteronomy 16. We must not simply focus on our own happiness and joy. To truly rejoice in the Feast, we must also cause others to rejoice.
If you really want to be happy, you need to make others happy. That’s just how it works.
The more selfish you are, the more unhappy you become.
The more selfless you are, the happier you become. Your happiness will not just be ordinary happiness, but it becomes blessedness and joyfulness.
It goes up to a higher level.
So, in this Feast, brethren, and in the Feasts to come, may we all remember to rejoice!