The Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven day celebration which commemorates Israel’s flight from Egypt and their subsequent forty year wilderness adventure. The truth of the matter is that God only intended this journey to last about one year, but because of faith-issues the mission was extended. For God, getting Israel out of Egypt was one thing, but getting Egypt out of Israel was quite another. Suffice it to say, the Lord brought Israel to seven separate campsites for the purpose of preparation and sanctification of His people.
Succoth was the first stop and where the Feast of Tabernacles gets its other name: Sukkot (or the Feast of Booths). The word Succoth could be defined as ‘tent-town’ and for Israel the lesson of this place was that we are just visitors to this planet. The Bible reminds us that we are as sojourners and pilgrims, just passing through this world; pictured here by Egypt. In this our journey our Lord would remind us to maintain our Heavenly focus.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33
Etham was stop number two and it was located on the edge of the wilderness. It was an unwelcoming place, but the name Etham would remind them that God was with them. It was in this place God provided His guidance in the form of a pillar of cloud and one of fire that would safely lead them along the path
For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b
Pi Hahiroth was essentially that place between a rock and a hard place; the two mountains of Migdol and Baal Zephon. With the Red Sea at their back, Israel was a vulnerable target for the pursing Egyptian army. The Lord purposely situated them in this place so that His power and His deity could be displayed for the entire world to see. The lesson of this campsite is that it has never been about us, but about Him. Believe it or not, God loves the Egyptian and would rather he be saved than destroyed
…For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
Marah was the place on the east side of the Red Sea where Israel found bitter water. God used this place to demonstrate His miraculous provision and by so doing gave us a picture of Christ’s work on the cross. The message is found in our acceptance of His provision found in His Son Jesus, for to the degree we accept what He has finished on the cross is to the same degree we will lack bitterness in our faith journey.
“Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48
Elim means mighty one and it is an oasis and a place of refreshment. The twelve wells and seventy palms speak to the Good News message and Christian service. In a peculiar yet godly way, as we share that which we have freely received there is a fulfilling replenishment. This is a work only our God can and will do—in giving we get back.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38
The Wilderness of Sin campsite was one of murmuring and dissension. In response God rained down upon His people manna so that no man had lack. Similarly, those who by faith have accepted Jesus Christ as the bread of life find satisfaction. In our flesh our tendency is to look back towards our worldly past and see it in a splendor that actually never was; in reality it was a desolate place. In our consumption of Christ Jesus we know contentment and have life.
For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. , John 6:33
Rephidim was to be the seventh and last campsite for Israel and it was in fact a rest spot; in many ways a picture of our Sabbath day of rest. No water was found here and God brings us to such a place so that we might thirst more for Him. It was here that God gave us a wonderful picture of Jesus our Rock. Like this rock in Horeb, our Rock Jesus was also beaten and from His side the water flowed. The Lord brings us to this place of craving so that we might more fully understand the Sacrifice that was made on our behalf.
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:1-4
The truth is that we all find ourselves in one of these campsites at one time or another; after all we are pilgrims and sojourners. Identifying the camp we are in will better assist us in your spiritual journey. The worst thing to do is to leave the campgrounds before we are led out. The best thing to do is to relax and enjoy the lesson God has prepared for you, And oh yes–take notes.