I love God’s appointed times; they are such a great reminder of the One who was, who is, and who is to come! They are also a great time for us to reflect on the past, be thankful in the present, and look forward to the future. Sukkot (“Feast of Booths or Tabernacles”) is such a special reminder of this. In Leviticus 23:39-43 it is written:
“On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
As I was reflecting on the above verses, I was once again reminded of our God’s greatness, and His endless love and grace to His children. Here I am today, thousands of years later, building a Sukkah (booth) at my home in the Land of Promise. I remember all that God has done for our people over the millennia, and I get to tell my children this amazing story of God’s redemption and faithfulness.
I am also reminded that the same God who delivered my people from slavery in Egypt is the same God that has delivered me from slavery to sin. And just like the sons of Israel dwelled in temporary booths on their way to the Land of Promise, so am I temporarily here on this earth, headed for eternity with the Father.
When one thinks of all that the sons of Israel went through in the desert – the intense life challenges, the fears, struggles, and the reality of the unknown – one can’t help but think about the reality that we are facing today. The tragic events happening around the world – the floods, earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars, mass shootings -will naturally create fear as we struggle to deal with the unknown. However, if we look at things from a human perspective rather than a godly perspective, then the fear will only grow stronger.
I find immense comfort in the mere fact that my time on earth is just temporary; this life is nothing more than a temporary dwelling place! The same God who delivered my people, is the same one who has delivered me from bondage to sin. The same God who provided my people everything they needed during their time in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land is the same God who provides for all my needs during my temporary journey on earth.
Let us take time this Shabbat to reflect on His greatness and power rather than on that which we see happening around us. Let us press on and be encouraged as we look forward to eternity with Him.
Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sukkot Sameach!
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