The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) starts tonight in Israel. This prophetic feast uniquely releases joy, and as a follower of Jesus (Yeshua), you are invited to the celebration.
An agriculture oriented feast, Sukkot celebrates God’s loving care and provision in our lives. This year the feast falls on October 4 – 11. God originally instituted it as an annual reminder of how He provided for Israel during 40 years of wilderness wanderings. Re-living the experience in this token but tangible way each year revives in us a heart of faith and thanksgiving.
Even if you’re not Jewish, you can tangibly engage with YHVH in a fresh way by building and spending time—especially meals—in an outdoor booth (sukkah) with Him. Let thankfulness be stirred in your heart for how He’s lovingly provided for you in the past. Just as important, let your faith be stirred for how He’ll provide for you, personally, in the future. (Matthew 6:31-33) Thankfulness for the past combined with faith for the future releases the joy of the Lord. His joy is your strength. This means His joy is one of His key provisions for you during Sukkot! For that reason, God commands that joy be released on Sukkot. (Leviticus 23:40, Deuteronomy 16:14-15)
To both express and inspire faith and thankfulness, you may want to decorate your sukkah the way Israelis traditionally do. We display small tree branches and beautiful fruit from the Promised Land. This is done partly in connection with the command of Leviticus 23:40 to “take choice fruit … palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the Lord.” In addition, fruit symbolizes the offering commanded on Sukkot in Deuteronomy 16:17: “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” (Keep in mind that all offerings were to made in love-driven faith, not as religiously formalistic and merely outward acts.)
Fruit of the land displayed in the sukkah represents thankfulness and faith for God’s physical provision. But it also represents thankfulness and faith for spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit results from the loving ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through us for the sake of His Kingdom. As followers of Yeshua, we are thankful for the spiritual fruit with which God has graciously blessed us. Because of His faithfulness to produce spiritual fruit in the past, we have faith for more in the future. Especially on Sukkot, we offer it all back to Him with joy!
But there’s still more. Sukkot is a prophetic foreshadow of Messiah’s Kingdom on earth. He is coming soon to physically live and rule among us in a glorious Messianic Age. (Zechariah 14:9,16) At that time His joy, as well as yours and mine, will be uncontainable! So if you choose to celebrate Sukkot (and Christians are free not to observe it), then enjoy your encounter with Yeshua at the feast. Engage with thanksgiving and faith in a foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb. May your joy—and His—be full! (Deuteronomy 16:15, John 15:11)
PS: I write this knowing some of you are going through difficult circumstances at this season. Yeshua is intimately with you, and it is Him imparting His personal joy (not you trying to work up your own) that will give you strength to endure. Joy is set before you, as it was for Him when He endured His own sufferings.