READ: Leviticus 23-24
THINK: In 1763 Augustus M. Toplady, a preacher from the village of Blagdon in England was walking along the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills when he was caught in a vicious storm that caused him to fear for his life. He prayerfully entrusted himself to God and ended up finding shelter in a gap in the gorge. While waiting out the storm in that shelter he was amazed at God’s provision for him and he came up with a song title and some lyrics which he scribbled on a playing card that he had with him. The song was entitled, “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me.”
Toplady’s experience reminded him that he was completely dependent upon God for everything. And that God was faithful to provide. That’s also the point of the Israelites’ experience in the Feast of Tabernacles or Succoth. We tend to think of homes as being structures that keep us safe from all of the elements of nature and weather. But that was certainly not the point of the shelters built for Succoth. God instructed them to live in very basic, temporary dwellings made from leaves and branches. And in Jewish tradition this often required that the roof be left unfinished enough to see the stars through it.
The Succoth dwellings clearly provided little to no shelter or protection from nature. But that’s the reason God instituted them. They were designed to a physical reminder of a profound spiritual truth: that God is our shelter and protection. Just as he brought his people out of Egypt and provided for them during their 40 years of living in temporary structures while traversing the desert, he is faithful to provide for his people even now.
It is so easy to get caught up in our stuff. It is so easy to be tempted into believing that real security – the security we most need – comes from our possessions or the size of our bank accounts. But ultimately those things will not save us from the darkest storms of life. Succoth calls us to examine our lives to make sure that our security rests not on the world and it’s many possessions but on God’s truth. The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us that all of life is sustained by God’s goodness.
When we make God our refuge, no storm can threaten us!
PRAY: Take a few minutes to listen (or sing) to Rock of Ages. Then spend time thanking God for his incredible provision and trustworthiness!