The Feast of Booths and the Faithfulness of the Lord
Today at sundown marks the beginning of Sukkot Shabbat (Sabbath), the appointed weekly day of rest that occurs during one of the most important holidays of the year for Jews around the world. The Feast of Booths (Tabernacles), also known as Sukkot, has been celebrated in Judaism for nearly 4,000 years. It was initiated as God led the children of Israel out of Egypt and established his law amongst them through the prophet, Moses. Its origins are recorded in Leviticus 23, and its purpose is for God’s people to celebrate and remember the Lord’s faithfulness through 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
“You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 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.”
As one of the three major pilgrimage holidays celebrated by Jews during the first century, Jesus surely would have traveled to Jerusalem many times in his life to celebrate this important holiday. One of the central messages of Sukkot is a simple one: even when circumstances are less than ideal, and even when things seem to be going awry, God is the faithful provider who can be trusted. When the children of Israel began their trek through the wilderness, danger and uncertainty awaited them. But God, their faithful provide – Yahweh Yireh – did not abandon his beloved people. He provided food for them to eat and water for them to drink. He provided shelter for each family (sukkah’s, or booths), a cloud to shade them by day, and a pillar of fire to warm and guide them during the night. God provided in miraculous ways – and for forty straight years!
As you reflect on the meaning of Sukkot this year, what are some of the ways that God’s faithfulness can be seen in your life? Are there areas where your faith is being tested? Where do challenges and uncertainty seem to be ruling the day? Take a moment this Sukkot to remind yourself that, even when the chips are down, God can be trusted to keep and sustain you.
 Yahweh Yireh means “the Lord will provide.”