Today is the last day of Sukkot, the Festival of Booths. It’s a beautiful festival that was meant to bring to mind God’s saving power in the midst of the rocky wilderness. When Moses led the people out of Egypt and into the desert they lived in makeshift shelters. Today people create rugged booths in their backyards and balconies to remember where they came from and how God carried them through the wilderness wanderings of their lives.
One of those wilderness wanderings was when they were dragged out of Israel and into Babylon as war refugees. They lost everything: their home, their culture, their temple, but just as God had promised, eventually they were allowed to return to Israel and rebuild their lives. Part of that rebuild was seeking the Word of God and submitting, once more, to God’s will. Upon reading the Torah they found YHWH’s commandment to celebrate Sukkot:
And they found written in the Law how YHWH had commanded through Moses that the sons of Israel were to live in booths [ba-sukkot] during the feast of the seventh month. And that they were to proclaim and circulate a proclamation in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the hills, and bring olive branches and wild olive branches, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of other trees with thick branches, to make booths [sukkot], as it is written.”
So the people went out and brought them and made booths [sukkot] for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courtyards and in the courtyards of the house of God, and in the public square at the Water Gate, and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim. The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths [sukkot] and lived in the booths [ba-sukkot]. Indeed, the sons of Israel had not done so since the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day.
And there was very great rejoicing. He read from the Book of the Law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a festive assembly in accordance with the ordinance.
This was a return to the old ways and remembering YHWH’s commandment to permanently follow the feasts:
[YHWH:] “So you shall celebrate it as a feast to YHWH for seven days in the year. It shall be a permanent statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall live in booths [ba-sukkot] for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths [ba-sukkot], so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths [va-sukkot] when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am YHWH your God.“
The point of the Festival of Booths wasn’t just to remember what God had done… it was also to remember what God would do for us. YHWH has a homemade shelter for us and He’s waiting to bring us home. This was the hope that David clung to; in the end, it was all he ever wanted:
[David:] One thing I have asked of YHWH; this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of YHWH all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of YHWH and seek Him in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter [b-sukkow]; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be held high above my enemies around me.
At His tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to YHWH. Hear, O YHWH, my voice when I call; be merciful and answer me.
My heart said, “Seek His face.” Your face, O YHWH, I will seek.
In the wilderness wanderings of our lives, YHWH has always been with us… and He will be with us still at the end of our days. Life is all about reflecting God’s character on this earth. To understand what that was meant to look like, God dwelt among us in the form of His Son, Yeshua (Jesus). He was and is our dwelling place, and when our job here is done, we will dwell with the Father in the home He has prepared for us. That’s the beauty of God’s shelter; it’s flexible enough to always move with us and it is permanent enough to never leave us stranded. Wherever we go, YHWH is our dwelling place, our wildly beautiful home, our sukkah.
To read the original posting on Sukkot, click below:
Next week: heal/footprint
3 thoughts on “Revisiting Sukkot”
Wonderfully written! The thought had not come to mind until I looked at the weaving together of the present heavens above – in that glorious Milky Way photo – that the covering Yahweh has given to this world, like Paul preached at Athens, is disbursed to all mankind and serves to remind us all that He provided a covering to Moses in the cleft of the rock, so his life in this world would be spared for Nehemiah & Ezra to carry on David’s work in us, and thus build up the house – a city in the wilderness!
That’s a great connection you’ve made, David! Thank you!