Newsletter: The Shelter of Faith: the Feast of Tabernacles plus a FREE GIFT – JesusBoat.com

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Sukkot:

The Shelter of Faith
Walk through any community in Israel this evening and you will be surrounded by by children playing and families greeting each other under shelters constructed from fabric and foliage. It is the festival of Sukkot, also called the Feast of Tabernacles.This celebratory occasion comes on the heels of the period of self-analysis from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur known as the Yamim Nora’im (“Days of Awe”).
At Sukkot, meaning ‘booths’ in Hebrew, families gather together to build a sukkah (booth) and decorate it often with handmade decorations. It is a wonderful activity to do with the kids. Community sukkot are also built at schools, kindergartens and day cares for the children to take their meals in for the duration of the holiday.

Sukkot is one of the pilgrimage festivals, the only one that takes place in autumn. In Israel, it is a glorious time of year to be out in our temporary shelters meeting, eating, singing and sleeping. The holiday originated as an agricultural feast, centered on rejoicing in the bountiful harvest from the Lord as commanded in Deuteronomy 16:13-17:

“For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.” (verse 16)
One of the important aspects of Sukkot is the commandment to rejoice: “Be joyful at your Feast” (Deut.16:14). This is a reminder to thank the Lord for his provision. Originally, Sukkot had strong ties to the land and was thus a feast to celebrate the harvest. Today, in our rich and plentiful society, the agricultural ties can have less literal meaning. Sukkot is a time to reflect upon and thank the Lord for our own “harvest,” both literally, for the food we have, and also spiritually, for the metaphysical provision from God.
The temporary shelters made during Sukkot are a homage to the temporary dwellings of the Israelites in the desert after their escape from Egypt. In a similar vein to Pesach, another pilgrimage festival, Sukkot is a time to recall the Lord’s providing for and protecting His people. This has a special significance as the festival evokes gratitude and also brings to mind the times when the Lord has rescued His people from adversity.

When you are removed from the safety of your home and relocated to the insubstantial sukkah, you turn towards the Lord’s strength as the Lord dwells with those who believe in Him. Therefore, Sukkot is time of reflection and celebration upon the gift of God’s dwelling with us, His faithful. We give thanks for God’s presence with us.

Sukkot presents an opportunity as a time for retrospective pondering to the Biblical roots of the festival. But it is also be a time of looking forward to our ultimate redemption. Therefore, at the pilgrimage festival of Sukkot, it is important to rejoice, as we are commanded. We rejoice in God’s provision and protection. And we rejoice in all that is to come.
The Four Species:
The Four Species are comprised of three types of branches and one type of fruit. They are held together and waved in a special ceremony throughout Sukkot. The waving of the four plants is a mitvah prescribed in Leviticus23:40.

One interpretation of the Four Species explains what while individuals express and perform their service to our Lord differently, that we are still unified in our love of God.

The Etrog (citron) has both a pleasant taste and smell. It represents those who are both knowledgeable in the Torah and proficient in the observance of mitzvot (good deeds commanded by God).

The Lulav is the branch (date palm), has tasty fruit, but has no scent. It represents those who are knowledgeable in the Torah, but not as accomplished in the mitzvot.

The hadas (myrtle branch) is tasteless but is aromatic. It represents lac k of knowledge in the Torah, but diligently observant in the mitzvot.

The aravah (willow branch) is both tasteless and scentless. It represents those who have neither knowledge in the Torah nor strong observance on the mitzvot. But who, nevertheless, does have faith in God.

We bind all of these plants together, just as all faithful are bound together n God’s love no matter their “taste” or “scent.” And when bound together and shaken they are all blended together, each supporting another as one.

The Four Species:
lulav (date palm)
aravah (willow)

hadas (myrtle)
etrog (citron)
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STEVE & LAURIE MARTIN - LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE FOUNDERS My good wife Laurie and I (45 years in October 2022!), through the ministry of Love For His People we founded in 2010, give love and support for our friends in Israel and in other nations with friendship, humanitarian aid, and social media support, along with Steve's messages, and our Ahava Adventures trips to Israel. Steve has also authored and published 34 books. We live in the Charlotte, NC area. We have four adult children, spouses, and eight grandkids.

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