The Old Testament lesson for Sunday, Nehemiah 8, ends with, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The bible is full of accounts of celebrating with eating and drinking when in the presence of the Lord, or after hearing His word. Adam and Eve enjoyed the fruit of “every tree in the garden” except for one. When the three men, visited Abraham (Gen. 18), he invited them to rest while he brought, “a morsel of bread,” which turned out to be a meal of veal, milk and cheese and an abundance of bread. The exodus was preceded by a meal during the Passover. (Ex. 12). At Sinai, (Ex. 24) Moses took the 70 elders up the mountain where they saw God and “ate and drank.”
Jesus fed thousands at one time. He provided an overabundance of wine at a wedding reception. After his resurrection he cooked a fish breakfast for the disciples. Holy Communion was instituted as part of the Passover meal. It looks forward to the great wedding feast to be celebrated in the presence of God. The bible ends with a picture of a renewed Eden with the “tree of life” growing by “the river of the water of life” with ripening fruit the year round and its leaves will heal the nations.
In Isaiah 25, the prophet looks forward to the day God will swallow up death. “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.”