That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 23:43 (KJV)
Booths – When you compare the three holy days; Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Sukkot (Feast of Booths), it’s difficult to understand why Sukkot is among them. In Deuteronomy 16:16 God commands all Israel men to appear before the Lord and bring an offering to the Temple on each of these holy days. These are the pilgrim feasts because all men were required to travel to Jerusalem. Let’s take a look at them.
The holy day, Feast of Unleavened Bread, was a specific event. It was the moment that Israel was freed from slavery in Egypt. Pentecost was the specific event when God descended on Mt. Sinai and gave the law to Israel, and another specific event when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the people gathered in Acts, chapter 2. But what’s the specific event we’re supposed to remember about Sukkot? Is the whole holy day really about how Israel wandered around for 40 years in the desert? That was a punishment for their complaining. I don’t believe we have a holy day dedicated to 40 years of punishment. So what is Sukkot’s specific event?
Looking at the verse above, maybe there’s something more. God states that our generations might remember how He made them live in booths… live in Sukkot, actually. Could there be another meaning?
Take a look at this.
And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
Exodus 12:37 (KJV)
This verse is referencing Israel’s first day and night away from their bondage in Egypt. They went from Rameses to Sukkot, and Sukkot seems to be the name of the place where they spent their first night. So maybe we’re required to remember how God sent them to stay this first night in a place called “Sukkot.” Of course it was named that because that’s where they built their booths, but maybe this is the event! Why was this night important?
It’s the first moment that Israel placed all their trust in God. They had nothing in the desert. At least, in Egypt, they had shelter and food and water, but here in the desert, there was nothing. They had to completely rely on God. And God provided. He gave them everything they needed; water, guidance, food (manna), etc.
Now we can see that this holy day has an actual event that establishes it as an important pilgrimage feast.
Are we willing to do this? Are we willing to put all our trust in God? I know that I struggle with this constantly. I like having control and knowing what’s planned before me. But I need to rely on Him, He will provide. Observing Sukkot reminds me of this. I set up my tent in the backyard and recall how Israel lived in booths, in a place called Sukkot. And they left everything they knew to rely on Him.