By Sandy Shaw
When I wrote this we were midway through The Feast of Tabernacles, which is widely regarded to be the season when Jesus Christ was born, in Bethlehem of Judea, not the West Bank.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a highly significant season in more ways than one.
I have been in Jerusalem during The Feast of Tabernacles and it has meant a lot to me and that is why I so want to share it with you.
In Jerusalem, and Jewish communities around the world, decorated booths can be seen in hotel gardens and residential balconies, and for eight days people will have their meals in these flimsy temporary shelters.
It is a reminder of the forty years the Children of Israel spent in the wilderness living in tabernacles or booths or tents.
It is a time for remembering, and giving thanks to God Who led His people through the wilderness, bringing them to the Promised Land, a phrase we seldom hear today.
Not only do they remember, but they celebrate with willow, myrtle, palm branches and lemons. Each is significant. Perhaps one day I might be able to take you through the detailed significance and meaning of these four items.
To watch them being selected in the markets of Jerusalem has left its mark on my memory, because I saw what these men were remembering.
For 3,000 years the Children of Israel have kept and observed this Feast. Why? So that your descendants will know about your being slaves in Egypt and how Almighty God set you free.
Being in Jerusalem at the time of the year can teach us much and open our eyes to spiritual truths.
Of course, we do not need to be in Jerusalem because if we open the Scriptures and read the appropriate passages we can learn and embrace and absorb whatever God desires to share with us and reveal in our hearts and minds.
If you are dry, dissatisfied, spiritually thirsty, confused or burdened, drink from Jesus Christ. Be refreshed, then go and refresh others.
Are you spiritually dry?
Do you need a refreshing from Almighty God in some way?
Have you looked for that anointing of the Holy Spirit upon your life and somehow you are unaware of it happening to you thus far?
Pray to Jesus Christ the Son of God. It is He who baptises in the Holy Spirit or with the Holy Spirit.
Do not miss out on what Almighty God has for you – especially for you.
This motivates me to move on and speak about ‘light’.
We so need the light of God in these present times.
If you follow me you will never again get into a mess. That is some claim.
Jesus Christ emerges from an unsuccessful trap. A bunch of men slink away.
Jesus sends off a woman caught in adultery with the words, “Go now, and leave your life of sin”.
Jesus dealt with the issue openly and publicly. Nothing was done in a corner.
Then, surrounded by a crowd, Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
This is one of the great “I am” sayings.
Jerusalem was crowded for The Feast of Tabernacles, as the Hebrew people recalled the forty years spent in the wilderness, living in booths, or tents, or tabernacles. The Feast was celebrated annually.
God satisfied his people with water, as well as daily bread. They would sing from the prophet Isaiah, about drawing water from the wells of salvation.
The tabernacling of the people; the pouring out of water; Jerusalem filled with light at night, as four 75 feet candelabra lit the Temple worship – these words of Jesus would have a real, relevant, and special meaning, as they remembered the significance of being led by a pillar of fire at night, which gave direction and warmth.
Jerusalem would be filled with light, temporarily.
Do we not see that within our local culture at this time of year? Lights are lit, but soon go out and disappear.
The light of Jesus Christ is permanent and specific.
If you suddenly awake from sleep, facing bright morning sunshine, or walk against an oncoming car on a winter’s night, light can be sore, and can even hurt, to begin with – but only for a short time.
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children’s Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled “Word from Scotland” on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.