Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our Tabernacle in Israel

We are currently celebrating the Festival of Sukkot in Israel, the Jewish Holiday where we build sukkot (sukkot has been translated as tabernacles, booths, tents or temporary dwellings). We are commanded in the Torah to live in our sukkot for seven days, eating and sleeping in them, to remind us that the Israelites had to live in these temporary dwellings for 40 years when God used Moses to bring His people out of Eygpt.
For one week each year, God commands us to sleep outside and eat outside, in the elements, outside of our comfort zone, outside of our air conditioning or heat, outside of our beds, with the bugs and mosquitos and whatever else you may encounter. This is much different from Passover when we are commanded to lounge on pillows and enjoy our freedom. We are basically being commanded to be uncomfortable.
Why, you may ask, would God command us to be uncomfortable for one week each year? In Matthew 19:24, Yeshua tells us that it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven. When we have money, when we are comfortable, we tend to forget who it is that is providing for our needs. We tend to trust in our own ability to take care of ourselves, rather than our own inability to overcome all things without God.
In moving to Israel, God has taken our family out of our comfort zone. This Sukkot, as our family struggles to survive in Israel, we are reminded to trust God to provide for us just as he provided for the Israelites coming out of Eygpt. We are reminded, in the uncomfortable setting of our sukkah, to remember all of those who are less fortunate than ourselves, who live lives that are less comfortable than our own. We remove the focus from our own needs, as we give those burdens to God, and we put our efforts to providing for others.
As we work in Israel, I have constantly thought of the book of Esther. I think of how Mordecai told Esther that she was put in her position for this time, so that she could save God's people, but if she did not do it, that God would save His people another way.
We have been put in a position to help those who are suffering among God's people, and we understand that if we don't do it, that God will provide for them another way. But we chose to be a part of God's plan and take part in the blessings that God has given His people.