There is a certain Jewish celebration, holiday, and ritual that is beautiful and meaningful, yet many people do not talk about. The Festival of the Tabernacles or Feast of the Tabernacles was the most joyous and longest festival in the Jewish calendar. It lasted for eight days and celebrated the last of the year's harvest, and was a form of thanking God for His provision for the Israelites when they spent 40 years in the wilderness.
People of all over- including Jesus- would travel to Jerusalem in order to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles- also called Sukkot. It was a joy- filled celebration of God's deliverance, protection, provision, and faithfulness. Key elements of the festival were light and water.
Jesus proclaims that He is the light of the World. (John 8:12) And actually reveals that He is the coming Messiah to the Jews during the Feast of the Tabernacle. (John 7)
And Jesus proclaimed that whoever drinks of Him, will never be thirsty again. He can be our life-giving water. (John 4:13-14)
"The Lord said to Moses, say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord's Festival of the Tabernacles begins and it lasts for seven days. For seven days present food offerings to the Lord and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly."(Leviticus 23)
"On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees- from palms, willows, and other leafy trees- and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days."(Leviticus 23: 40)
"Live in temporary shelters for seven days.... so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." (23:42,43)
During the festival, there was a procession of palms, pouring of water over the altar by priests, and the illumination of four large menorahs (or lamp stands). There were many sacrifices of thanksgiving. The Israelites would stay in temporary tents during the festival so that they could remember how the Israelites would have lived when escaping Egypt and traveling into the Promised Land.
The Feast of the Tabernacle celebrates the past, present, and future. It celebrated how God led the Jewish people through the wilderness by a pillar of fire. It also looked forward to the coming of the Messiah.
I think there are many things we can learn from the Feast of the Tabernacles. We can remember that we should celebrate God's gifts and faithfulness to us. We should remember that He is our Savior, Redeemer, and Protector. We can find satisfaction in Him, truly our lives can be filled with joy and abundance when we accept that Jesus has the living water for our souls and He has the light that we need, so that we don't have to be in darkness.
I want to learn to celebrate the ways God has led me in my past, the things he has done for me in my life. I want to look for Him to fill my only desire- since He alone can. And I want the light of His word- to illuminate my steps, so that I will always know where I am going.