Nearly a century had passed since Zerubbabel led the first group of Jewish exiles from Babylon back to their Promised Land, the land of Canaan…home. After fighting off opposition on the part of their enemies and apathy on the part of their fellow countrymen, the temple was finally completed, opening its doors once again to the worship of Jehovah God. But the wall of protection surrounding Jerusalem were still reduced to piles of rubble, until the cup bearer to the king of Persia arrives on the scene. With trowels in hand and Nehemiah’s exhortation to “Let us rise up and build” encouraging them, the inhabitants of Jerusalem would tackle the task of rebuilding and repairing more than two miles of wall and gates. That back-breaking building project would be completed by hand in a mind-boggling fifty-two days! What a sense of pride and accomplishment had to be brimming among those residents of the holy city! What would God have in store for them now?
Under the instruction of Ezra, the priest, those weary residents were instructed to “Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick tress, to make booths…” Wait, what? We can’t go back to our homes and relax after all this labor? More building? Seriously? With branches?
The Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths, was the last of seven feasts that the Levitical Law commanded native Jews to observe each year. On the “fifteenth day of the seventh month,” at the time when fall harvest would be complete, all Israelites were to return to Jerusalem, to build and “to dwell in booths” for a very special purpose. So under Ezra’s direction, “the people went forth, and brought them (the branches), and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.” God’s purpose was for His people to disconnect from their daily routine and remember, reflect on that glorious day in their history when God “brought them out of the land of Egypt,” when He delivered His people from bondage and claimed them as His own. For eight days God’s children would do nothing but rejoice, dwelling on God’s blessings to them.
That would be a great exercise for born-again Christians today, spending some time in the booth of remembrance, recalling the deliverance from sin freely provided for us on the cross of Calvary. Could we spend a moment today meditating on God’s blessing in our lives?
Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Lord, help me to come apart with You for a few moments each day to meditate on the many blessings that You have lavished on me. Help me to dwell in the booth of praise daily.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-2326-62b69f296b1d6' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=2326&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-2326-62b69f296b1d6' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-2326-62b69f296b1d6' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>