Feast of Tabernacles
Season of Our Joy
Read: Leviticus 23:40; Deuteronomy 16:14-15; Philippians
Count all the times you see the word joy/rejoice!
40 On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.
14 Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 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.
Philippians - Count all the times you see the word joy/rejoice!
On April 27, 1994 the first truly free elections including both whites and blacks in South Africa were held, ending centuries of white racist rule. Nelson Mandela spoke these words, “We recall the joy and excitement of a nation that had found itself, the collective relief that we had stepped out of our restrictive past, and the expectant air of walking into a brighter future.” The joy and excitement of a nation -- a restrictive past and a brighter future.
This is the theme of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is one of unreserved joy in celebration of a sovereign God who delivered and protected His chosen people. In fact, the Feast of Tabernacles is commonly referred to as “The Season of Our Joy” by Jews. Joy predominates this feast more so than any other. It is the only Levitical feast on which God actually commanded His people to rejoice (Leviticus 23:40; Deuteronomy 16:14-15).
Some even theorize Jesus’s birth to have actually taken place during the Feast of Tabernacles. “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (John 1:14). Certainly it would have been an appropriate time to declare “joy to the world.” Ancient legends contain evidence that Jesus’s disciples celebrated his birth during the Feast of Tabernacles.
One way or the other, our own joy is rooted in our God of provision who ultimately takes flesh in the form of Jesus to become our God of deliverance. Human happiness is erratic. But the Lord’s joy is steady. God commands us to live joyfully today, not out of our own might, but in so far as we access His joy. The secret of the joy-life is to engage in the joy of Jesus -- to openly receive His gifts of grace and joy that we might overflow with it for others out of His abundance.