The Feast of Shelters

I was reading recently in II Chronicles 7 where Solomon was dedicating the temple. During the celebration, they celebrated the Feast of Shelters. I wasn’t as familiar with that feast as Pentecost, Jubilee, Rosh Hashanah or others. I looked it up to find out more about it and found something interesting. To help Israel remember how their ancestors wandered the desert for 40 years as nomads, they would live in temporary shelters for seven days. Some would sleep on the porch of their homes, others would camp out, some would build lean to shelters and some would build temporary booths.

The shelter they stayed in needed to make sure they were exposed to the elements. If it got cold, they shivered. If it rained, they got wet. If it was hot, they sweat. All of this to remember that their ancestors didn’t have permanent dwellings like they did. It was meant as a link to their past, but for me, it’s a link to our future. These bodies we live in are our temporary shelters. We live like nomads in them moving around all over the world. We think they’re our permanent home, but like the Israelites, we look forward to going to the Promised Land and getting our permanent homes.

II Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in Heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself…” Paul referred to our bodies as tents which is what the people of Israel lived in while they wandered the desert. It’s a temporary home. The problem is that we have lived this way for so long that we’ve forgotten it’s temporary and have made ourselves comfortable in them. We are only wandering here making our way to our permanent home.

These tents we live in have us exposed to the elements of life. They don’t really protect us from tragedy, problems, storms or outside forces. We feel the full force of things and hurt deeply. When we get our new bodies, our permanent ones, we will have shelter from those things. In fact, Scripture says we won’t even shed a tear in Heaven. There will be no more death either. Those permanent homes won’t be susceptible to the things that these temporary ones are. We will look back at these bodies and thank God we’re not in them anymore.

Instead of looking back at the past and reliving the hurt and exposure to life’s elements, look forward to a time when we won’t have to worry about such things. Yes, we are still living in these tents and are still being exposed to the problems here, but looking forward can help us endure the elements. Knowing that a day is coming when we’ll have protection against such things should give you strength and courage to move forward instead of being stick in the past. God wants each one of us to move forward and to think about the future He has for us. He told us about such a time because He knew it would give us hope, and hope is a powerful thing in a temporary storm.


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6 responses to “The Feast of Shelters

  1. Great post Chris. Can you suggest any resources to learn more about the different Jewish festivals?

  2. I like the obscure thoughts like this one!

  3. Amen.
    So encouraging. This world is filled with much beauty and pain. Heaven will be so much better.

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