Party God

By Ryan Sanders

So I’m reading straight through the Bible this year, which is all fun and games as long as you’ve got miracles and floods and plagues and such. But then you get to Leviticus and the bottom falls out. Leviticus is where Bible reading plans go to die. 

This morning, I was reading Leviticus 23 where God starts to prescribe feasts for the Israelites. There are a lot of them: sabbath feasts and harvest feasts; festivals of new moons and festivals of trumpets. In fact, God commanded the children of Israel to celebrate seven annual feasts, one monthly feast, one weekly sabbath, and a sabbath year feast every seven years. If you add all that up, in a typical year, Israel celebrated 71 feasts! That’s a lot of partying! 

And, come to think of it, our story is going to end with a party too. 

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”Revelation 19:6-7

What does it say about God that he’s so into parties? It may mean that we’ve misunderstood what it means to follow him. C.S. Lewis wrote, 

The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.C.S. Lewis

I love that quote because it invites us to understand that enjoyment not as an add-on but as essential to the Christian life. Lewis wasn’t talking about clever ice breakers to make church meetings less boring. He wasn’t just saying that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. He's saying that our medicine is sweet! That the best thing for us — the thing that will heal us and make us holy — is also the most enjoyable thing in the universe! To know God and enjoy him forever! As the bards of Caedmon’s Call have sung, “You created nothing that gives me more pleasure than you, and you won't give me something that gives me more pleasure than you."

So God is in favor of fun. He commands time away from productivity in favor of feasting and festivities and personal connections and worship.

This weekend, February 7, the entire IBC family will gather for one service at 10:45 a.m. to celebrate the great good news of the God who rejoices over us. Then, that night, many of our IBC Home Groups will host neighborhood Super Bowl parties to extend the fun-loving hospitality of Christians to those outside the party. Next weekend — and every weekend — we have an opportunity to embody the life of faith in a winsome way, to love one another well because the God of joy loved us first, to live out the good news in a way that makes it actually seem like good news. 

That kind of faith might even make Leviticus fun.

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