The Feast of Tabernacles

It was nice to have a holiday this week, wasn’t it? Although Columbus Day has nothing to do with the biblical calendar, it fell nicely during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). This seven day festival, also called the Feast of Ingathering, was a capstone festival in Israel’s liturgical year. It invited God’s people to look back on his faithful provision in the wilderness of Exodus and Numbers as well as during the past agricultural season. Falling on the seventh month, it joined Sabbath days and Sabbath/Jubilee years in pointing ahead to a special kind of rest initiated by the ministry of Jesus and made available to all of us who live by faith and not by doubt (Hebrews 4). Ultimately, Sukkot points ahead to heaven where we will never again hunger or thirst… never again suffer from the desert’s scorching heat… “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be [our] shepherd; he will lead [us] to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear…” (Rev. 7:16-17). God’s personal presence is central to his provision for our deepest needs. It was during this festival that Jesus stood up in the temple and promised all those whose lives, like their lands, were parched and in need of something profoundly spiritual: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit…” (John 7:37-38).

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