We’ve been reading names and places in scripture lately that are a bit daunting to pronounce. The guttural utterances of Hebrew make for quite a challenge to a Kentuckian—a Hoosier would probably say the same as well. As we enter the final two weekends of our Nehemiah study, I want to point out something to you that we have in common with our ancient friends. The portion of scripture we will deal with this weekend concerns the “Feast of Tabernacles” that God had commanded them to observe for seven days in the fall.
Few of the feasts that were a part of old covenant worship were as joyful as this celebration. Also known as Sukkot, this holiday marked the last of the fall festivals and was held at the end of the agricultural year when the grapes and olives were harvested in Israel. Sukkot, named for the first stop the Hebrews made after leaving Egypt, was a time to thank God for all of the preceding year’s provision and to pray for a good rainy season which lasted from October through March. Primarily, however, Sukkot was designed to remember the wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan when God made the people live in booths as they transitioned to a nomadic life.
This particular festival is very much like the Thanksgiving holiday that we will be enjoying shortly. It is exciting for me to be preaching this content in such close proximity with each holiday. If you would like to read more about the Feast of Tabernacles in the context of Nehemiah’s time, you can find it in chapter 8. If you would like to read the exact text they are discussing in Nehemiah 8, I would invite you to turn and read Leviticus 23:33-43.
May this time of year once again draw you towards a deep gratitude and dependence upon the Lord for all of life’s provisions. And may you be blessed with more than enough to share with those in need. Take this opportunity to consider what you will give especially as it relates to our yearly Food Drop for local food pantries.