Friday, April 01, 2016

Remember—and thank!

Building a booth - Feast of Tabernacles
Building a booth for the Feast of Tabernacles
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 118:1-14

TO CHEW ON: "Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever."  Psalm 118:1

You have no doubt noticed how the pain and stress of past torments and troubles fades with time. When I look back on events of ten, fifteen years ago, they have a rosy glow about them. Even the hard times feel like "the good old days."

That phenomenon seems to be in evidence in this psalm. The writer recalls dangers, times of distress, being surrounded by enemies, attacked as if by "bees," manhandled and pushed. Yet the main memory is of God coming to the rescue.

Psalm 118 was part of the Feast of Tabernacles celebration. The Feast of Tabernacles was a main feast of the Jewish year, taking place in our October, five days after the Feast of Atonement. One of its main purposes was to keep alive the memory of how God helped and preserved Israel during her sojourn in the wilderness.

On the first day of that eight-day feast each person helped gather twigs of willow, palm, myrtle or bulrushes to build temporary huts or booths. These booths reminded them of God's protection, preservation, and shelter from heat and storm during their wilderness wanderings. Everyone from children to servants joined in the celebration.

On the eighth and final day of the feast Israel's high priest led a procession of priests and thousands of worshipers. They descended from the Temple Mount to the Pool of Siloam. There the priest filled a pitcher with water, then the procession took another route back to the temple. The priest poured the water on the altar in a ceremony to invoke God's blessing of the "early rains," of October and November, ensuring a spring crop.

As the water was being poured out the temple music (Hallel) began. Psalm 118 was part of the Hallel (Psalm 113-118). Israel's memories of trouble and God coming to their rescue—setting them "in a broad place," being on their side, quenching enemies "like a fire of thorns," being their strength, song and salvation.

We don't have to wait for a special feast day to praise God for how He has similarly been with us and helped us. Let's take some time today to "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."


PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for all the times You have preserved me and my family—through childbirth, accidents, work firings, illnesses, moves, travels and trips… You are good! Amen.

MORE: More about the feast of Tabernacles (also called Feast of Booths, and Sukkot)

Learn more about the Feast of Tabernacles from these web articles:

  • Sukkot (Article on Wikipedia)


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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