“You shall dwell in booths for seven days … that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 23:42–43).
The children of Israel spent 40 years wandering the wilderness after their miraculous deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Every day along this journey was a true demonstration of God’s provision and faithfulness to His covenant with His people. Of all the feasts that were part of the old covenant worship, the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) was the most joyful. This celebration was the last of the fall festivals and it was primarily for the purpose of remembering their wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan, when God made them live in booths. These booths were small, temporary shelters with thatched roofs. During the time of the feast, each family was supposed to build a booth and live in it for a week. This was a reminder that God was their sole source of provision. This would be a time of great rejoicing.
As I think about what this celebration must have meant to them as they reflected upon their journey with the Lord, I am reminded of our Thanksgiving celebration this week. This should be a time for us as believers to reflect upon God’s provision during our “wilderness journeys”. We may not have any physical booths to build, but we do have places and things that help us to remember where we came from.
I may not be able to go back and stay in that tiny apartment my husband and I lived in when we first got married where all we could afford to eat was chicken with red beans and rice. But, I can drive by that apartment with praise on my lips as I remember that it was God who provided for us in amazing ways. I may not be able to recreate that empty spare bedroom where I spent many lonely days & nights in extreme depression, with my Bible in my hand, a wavering faith and my face on the floor before the God of all comfort. I can, however, stop by and sit in that once empty space to rejoice and remember that is was there where God provided peace, comfort, tenacious love, and encouragement to his desperate daughter.
On the other side of your wilderness journey, will you take time to remember? You may have to mentally build a few booths and dwell a while as a reminder of God’s faithful deliverance and provision in your life. Sometimes we get so accustomed to the “good” life that we forget to give thanks to the one who is the sustainer of it all.
For those who are still in the wilderness, I want to encourage you. He is carrying you through. That temporary booth you currently dwell in is part of God’s provision in your journey. He is your provider and keeper through the wilderness to the promise land. Begin your celebration now and rest in him.
“Rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You are to celebrate it as a festival to the Lord seven days each year. This is a permanent statute for you throughout your generations;” Leviticus 23:40b-41a
By Abigail George
Passages for further Study Leviticus 23:33-43; Deuteronomy 16:13-17; Numbers 29:12-39