3 Retreats Per Year with God

Recently my pastor pointed out a passage from Deuteronomy that models the concept of Personal Retreats:

Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose:  at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the feast of Booths. — Deuteronomy 16:16

I’ve read that passage many times never realizing that it contains the basic principles of Personal Retreats, particularly when you delete the three specific feasts that have or will be fulfilled in Christ.

Note the following:

  1. Three times per year this “personal retreat” was to happen.  In my experience that would probably be ideal, though I seldom get more than one or two multi-day retreats in a year.
  2. The “personal retreats” were to occur at a place chosen by God.  This is very important:  We don’t independently “decide” to go on a Personal Retreat.  Rightly experienced,  this is led of God, and the One who calls the meeting decides the place!   One of the most fascinating and frankly fun parts of the retreat experience is being impressed by God to go to a particular place.
  3. Some will struggle with this parallel in that it only applied to men.  The Scriptures make abundantly clear that men and women are spiritually equal before God.  Israel was once led by a woman Judge — Deborah.  Women in both the Old and New Testaments not only occupied pivotal roles in God’s unfolding plan, but they also had significant God encounters.  Yet, in the family model, men are called to spiritual leadership.  That, I believe, is why the men specifically were called to this three times per year special meeting with God.  They were responsible to take this experience back to their families.

As with the many Old and New Testament examples of Personal Retreats recounted in my book, Face to Face, we again see that God deeply cares about taking us away from our usual surroundings for an intimate encounter with him.

As always, your comments and questions are invited.

— Monte Kline