O. Palmer Robertson on the Duty of Celebration

This past Sunday, I mentioned the book of Nahum. To whet your appetite for this often overlooked prophet, here's an excerpt from O. Palmer Robertson's excellent commentary on the book of Nahum:

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Perhaps a certain element of duty is involved in the summons to celebration. It is an obligation of God’s people to render a full round of thanksgiving for their rescue from misery.

In concrete terms, Israel’s three annual festivals and their new covenant counterparts might be considered as the natural vehicles by which God’s people may give expression to their continuing joy in salvation.

The Passover meal, which finds its NT counterpart in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, reminds that the Death Angel has “passed over” because of the substitutionary blood of the Lamb. All the power of the ultimate enemy has been destroyed.

The festival of Pentecost, which corresponds to the new covenant reality of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, celebrates the newness and fulness of life freely given to the redeemed. The fruit of the Spirit in a person’s daily experience provides continual cause for celebration.

The harvest festival of Booths reminds of the abundance of provision that God makes for his people, even as they continue along their pilgrim pathway. A plentiful harvest in a context of humble tent dwelling combines images that define the contrasting sides of current reality. If they will accept both these facts of redemptive life, God’s people by faith shall be enabled to celebrate continually the goodness of the Lord despite numerous constraints. [...]

The Christian gospel provides the fullest possible framework for permanent celebration of victory. Death has lost its sting. The believer has died to sin. The loss of all material possessions can be only temporary, and soon will be replaced with the permanence of the new heavens and the new earth. Celebration by keeping the vows of the Christian life is always in order.