Positive Action Blog

More Joy Than a Feast

CJ Harris, Jan. 7, 2014
More Joy Than a Feast

Psalm 4:7

"Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased."

For those of us who have food readily available in the form of all-you-can-eat buffets and well-stocked grocery stores, it's difficult to appreciate the joy of a true harvest feast. We can find fresh food easily, but most people in earlier centuries didn't have this luxury. For them, meal options included seasonal crops or preserved food. When harvest came—the time when laborers gathered fresh, plentiful food—it brought great rejoicing.

The Jewish celebration of harvest began with the Feast of First Fruits and culminated seven weeks later with the Feast of Weeks, also called Pentecost.  After harvesting the barley and wheat crops, the Israelites gathered in Jerusalem to thank the Lord for His provision. Rejoicing echoed through the city as the smells of freshly baked bread drifted through the air. Grape harvest began soon after the feasts, so people brought out the rest of the previous year's wine. If the grain harvest and the previous grape harvest had been plentiful, there would be even greater festivity.

David, surveying all this merriment, makes a passionate statement—in God, he finds more joy than in the abundance of harvest. The nineteenth-century hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, conveys a similar thought in her hymn, “Take the World, But Give me Jesus.”

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same.

Final Thought: Joy found in God is greater than any earthly happiness.



CJ Harris is the managing editor for Positive Action, where he helps plan, develop, and launch Bible curricula for churches and schools. Having served as a youth pastor and Sunday School teacher, he has a passion for teaching young people about the glories of their God. A bit of a history buff, CJ received his Ph.D. in Church History in 2011, based on a study of Reformation-era missions philosophy. He and his wife—also a student and teacher of history—have two sons.

Random fact: CJ loves every board game—with the possible exception of Candyland.



Tags: cj harris, psalms, devotional