We don't use that word much anymore.
We attend dinners, receptions, barbecues or banquets, but when was the last time you received an invitation to a feast? Sounds exciting - a feast! I hearkens back to a time when a long table was set to accommodate a huge crowd. Instead of queuing up in a buffet line or waiters waiting on a room full of private tables, the attendees would all gather around one spread. Every delicacy was laid out - the finest cheeses, wines, produce and meats were piled in the center of the table within reach of anyone. And then, in the words of the Grinch, "Young and old would sit down to a feast. And they'd feast! And they'd feast! And they'd FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!"
The prophet Isaiah saw a day when God would host a feast on Zion, His holy mountain. Isaiah gives us the details of the meal and the cause of celebration when he writes:
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And He will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25:6-9)
Quite a cause for celebration! Death will be swallowed up forever. Every tear will be wiped away from every face. God will expel every shame from His people. And what a joyful people they will be. They waited for God their savior - and He came. That calls for a party!
That day and that feast has not come yet, but the good news is that the Savior has. Jesus Christ, the One for whom God's people Israel waited, has already accomplished His perfect work. And yet, we too wait for the final consummation of all things that Isaiah spoke of. While we wait, though, we've already received our invitation to the feast.
The scriptures paint a picture of a great wedding to come. God, the King, is the host. Jesus is the groom (Matthew 22:2). And His bride? She is not one person, but many - she is a multitude from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. Men and women and children, both slave and free. Jews and Gentiles. Rich and poor. Arminians and Calvinists. Democrats and Republicans. All seated together at the table. Sharing the same meal. Serving one another. Eating with one another. Singing with one another. And sharing with one another the stories of how the Groom saved them. (Matthew 8:11; Galatians 3:27-29; Rev. 19:6-7)
We've already sent in our RSVP, but the wait is tough, isn't it? Yet our God does not leave us to wait alone, to suffer the long road to the mountain. He sustains us. Protects us. Saves us.
But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.For I am the LORD your God,the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..." (Isaiah 43:1-3)
Jesus hasn't started the party yet- He's still waiting for the Bride to arrive (Matthew 26:29). In the meantime, shouldn't we be prepared for it? Shouldn't we seek to remind each other every day that though the promise is not yet fulfilled, the wait is worth it? We are already smelling the sweet savor of God's grace. We are already practicing our songs of praise with one another. We are continuing to strive for peace with one another. And then, one day the Groom is coming back to gather up His bride (John 14:1-4). It's going to be spectacular.
We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more
We will not be burned by the fire
He is the Lord our God
We are not consumed by the flood
Upheld, protected, gathered up
In the dark of night before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long?
Oh, God of Jacob, be my strength
Every vow we’ve broken and betrayed
You are the faithful One
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom
Words and Music by Sandra McCracken © 2015 Drink Your Tea Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) and joshmooreownsthismusic (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)