Today is the last day of Tabernacles, and it’s a Sabbath. One of the things that is clear about observing God’s holidays – we are so out of sync with the rest of the world. We wake to a day of resting, while we listen to the traffic going to work like any other day. We spend time with the Lord while others buy and sell, marry and give in marriage completely oblivious to His will and ways. From a certain perspective we are different, weird, offensive, and intolerant. Though Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Nations (because of the 70 bulls that used to be offered for the nations at this time) the nations ignore it. Just like they ignore the Feast that is partly for their sakes, ignored the bulls, and just like they ignore the greatest sacrifice, the only begotten son of God, Jesus the Christ. It’s no wonder being in sync with God causes us to be out of sync with the world.
Sleeping outdoors during Tabernacles, with the sounds of traffic, sprinklers hitting plastic fences, small animals running around on secret business, air leaking out of the air mattress, aching muscles from odd sleeping positions, cold air seeping into the sleeping bag through a zipper gap, emergency vehicles honking and wailing just as you start to finally drift off, makes us wonder, “Why do we do this again?”
The simple answer is that we love God. We want to do everything He says as best we can. As we work our way through some light difficulties in obedience we are constantly reminded that we don’t ‘have’ to do this, we get to. It’s not Law, it’s the living Word of God. It’s not legalism, it’s love. We discover that the real difficulty is in our flesh, in our attitudes about God and His Word, and not in a few minor discomforts.
We re-learn that with the discomfort jiggling us out of our complacency also comes blessing. The full moon shining through the clear panes of our tent top. Delightfully crisp fall air after a hot day of work. Increasing silence as the crickets fall asleep for the winter and the frogs dig in for their three-month nap. The rustle of dry leaves in the pumpkin patch and corn stalks of our garden as a light breeze stirs them gently. Giggling grand kids jockey for position next to Grandma. The funny way six year-old Keira tells Grandma to “scoot over” as she tries to get in her sleeping bag.
The quietly joyful conversation with our Father as He joins us in our tent for His ‘camping trip.’
May God be with you also. Shalom.