SUKKOT | The Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Sukkot was always one of my favourites. All God’s feasts have lots of creativity and wonder; pledges and treasures. In Jewish literature, Sukkot is frequently simply called “THE feast”. The big deal… no other explanation needed. C’mon… who doesn’t like a FEAST!?!
Three times a year, all of Israel were expected to make the trek to Jerusalem for Passover and Shavuot in the Spring, then Sukkot in the fall. Sukkot indicates “shelters”, “cubicles”, or “tabernacles”. This is a feast in which God instructs his people to set about making a temporary shelter or cubicle to camp out in for a week. As a kid I loved making forts, and as a parent I loved making them for my kids. Sukkot is a bit like that.
So, why in the world would God desire us to make forts?
Why build a tabernacle?
The rabbinic prescription for these ‘dens’ has actually become rather intricate, however in essence, there must be at least three walls (made of wood or product, typically) and the roofing system needs to be made from natural products like palm leaves, so that you can see the night sky through the spaces. These shelters are to advise the people of Israel about the time they journeyed through the wilderness in momentary shelters, picking up and moving on as required.
In his imaginative genius, seen not just in the natural world around us but also in the law that God himself determined, we can see that God also understood how reliable constructing a shelter would be to provoke idea. He understood that this activity would assist advise people of the journey that they had taken with him through the wilderness. That time of desert roaming was where the nation was forged at last as a community of faith, following the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Their camping tents were only short-lived– they were traveling towards a more irreversible house, where they might live with their God.
A time for sharing and for fellowship
It is conventional to welcome guests each night of the week-long feast, to share and delight in the sukka together – to extend hospitality, relationship and stories. It is a time to commemorate the fruits of the harvest, and to rejoice, appreciating for all God has provided us, and return to God in return. Deuteronomy 16:13 -17 says:
“You shall keep the Feast of Booths for seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your wine-press.
You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns.
For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.
“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.They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
The Lord describes his instructions about this feast 3 times, in Leviticus 23, Numbers 29 and Deuteronomy 16. It is a time that he wants his people to recognise exactly what they have by using food from their harvest, and it is a time when he has actually commanded his people to REJOICE! God wants us to go through this procedure of keeping in mind, event, thanking, providing, and rejoicing.
For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the location that the Lord will select, due to the fact that the Lord your God will bless you in all your fruit and vegetables and in all the work of your hands so that you will be altogether cheerful.
Can we be happy on command? Really?
Perhaps it appears unusual to you to be commanded to rejoice, but the Bible does certainly command it numerous times. Can we just “turn on” this feeling? Of all, rejoicing is an act, rather than an emotion, but second of all, there are certainly things that we can do in order to position ourselves to be filled with joy.
To Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”
As we reflect upon all the good ideas in our lives, and count our blessings, we undoubtedly find we have much to rejoice about. I have a routine of writing a list of thanks every early morning in a lined notepad, and ensure that I get to the bottom of the page before I stop! The note pads vary in size, but the discipline is a good one to get into. I have actually heard it said that recalling simply 5 things that you’re grateful for each morning will have a significant affect on your outlook. Another workout is to go through the alphabet, one letter at a time, thinking of something to be grateful for starting with each letter. You understand. Being thankful takes a little bit of collective effort at the beginning, however becomes a growing number of natural, the more we do it. And the more we maintain a mindset of gratitude, the more joyful we will inevitably end up being.
Have an impressive dose of the Holy Spirit
God enjoys to offer us his Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit are love, delight, peace, persistence, generosity, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-discipline (Gal 5:22 -23). Yeshua assures us that the Father is prepared and eager to offer the Holy Spirit to those who ask. When we are complete of sin, pride, fear and so on, our ego gets in the way, but we can come previously God, confess our sins, receive his forgiveness, and invite him to take very first location once again by faith.
Joy Originates from Obedience
It is said that if you are feeling bad-tempered, just the act of smiling repeatedly can enhance your mood. In a comparable way, a rabbi’s guidance to a man who was struggling to enjoy his spouse was to do the acts that he would do as if he did enjoy her, which in time, the feelings would undoubtedly follow. The popular Jewish sage, Rambam, said that if he had 1000 coins to offer, he would rather give 1000 guys one coin rather than 1000 coins to one male, due to the fact that the duplicated act of providing 1000 times would make him into a more generous male. Our actions can end up being practices, which can then affect our heart. In this very same way, we can rejoice before God; thanking him, worshiping him and rejoicing even when we don’t feel like it, but if we continue to obey his command to rejoice, eventually our hearts will really become filled with delight.
Fellowshipping with God
And hundreds of years ahead of time, Zechariah prophesied this event:.
We can have fellowship with God since he came down to earth as a male, and tabernacled amongst us. He became flesh and blood, noticeable and touchable, God incarnate, living among his people on earth, and though his Spirit now lives, or tabernacles, in our lives if we will welcome him in.
Sukkot also points prophetically towards Yeshua’s 2nd coming, and the supreme end of all things, when God will dwell among us, and we will live with him forever. What a need to rejoice!
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” (1 John 1:1-4)
We have each come a long way, and been on an adventurous journey, like the Israelites. It’s a great time to assess God’s goodness and arrangement along the method, and to keep in mind how he brought us through the challenging times, the deserts, in our lives. And the glorious aspect of Sukkot is that it also points to God’s desire to dwell with his people. His provision is not simply physical (although we have much to be grateful for on that account) however he has actually likewise not held back his only Son, just so that we can cohabit with him for eternity.
“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.” (Zech 2:10-11)