The Sukkot Secret for our Security
“You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 23:42, 43).
More than meets the Eye
Each year at Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles, or Booths) we, as Jewish people are commanded to live in a booth. A booth (sukkah) is a frail and very temporary looking structure, made from the leaves and branches of various trees. Why? When we came out of Egypt, just like the frail appearance of the sukkah, we were weak, vulnerable, and dependent upon God. In the wilderness we appeared easily conquerable by the desert tribes living there, but the Lord was the secret source for our people’s wilderness victories. Sukkot reminds us of Passover. In Passover the secret for enjoying both the sufficiency and security of the Lord in our lives is revealed. As Israel was redeemed from Egyptian bondage by God’s power at Passover, so they were kept through the wilderness trials by God’s power. Just as there were no works of your own to redeem you, there are no works that can keep you. It is all the sovereign work of God. The booth pictures not only Israel’s freedom from bondage, but their true security in God.
He “Tabernacled” Among Us
Today, along our ‘wilderness journey,’ reliance upon Him is still our hope and protection. The point of Sukkot is that the people of God are to remember that we can never live as if we can manage on our own. We need the Lord. He is our sufficiency and in Him we have the protection of God. As illustrated in the wilderness, our protection is in the Lord, for He, Himself, is our booth. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt [tabernacled] among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1,14). The Greek word used for ‘dwelt among us’ is skeine, which means ‘tabernacling.’ As a booth, Messiah appeared weak, frail, crucifiable. Little did people realize that beneath that ordinary exterior was the omnipotent El Shaddai, God Almighty, The Holy One of Israel!
Protection in the Sukkah
It is interesting to note that the root word for sukkah is used elsewhere in the Tanakh (Older Covenant/Old Testament). The word in Hebrew is sakak, and means “to cover”, like “protection”. When Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory, God replied: “Behold, there is a place by Me and you shall stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock and will cover you with my hand while I pass by” (Exodus 33:21,22).
God’s hand was Moses’ sukkah in the cleft of the rock. In the same manner David uses salak in his song of deliverance: O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle (Psalm 140:7). Whatever the victory David achieved, the Lord was a sukkah of protection in the battle.
Prophecy and the Sukkah
As is pictured prophetically in the feast of Sukkot, in the Kingdom, Messiah will reign from Jerusalem as “the Branch of the Lord.” This protection will again be Israel’s to enjoy as a nation: “In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious…And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge and for a covert from storm and rain” (Isaiah 4:2-6). When the Scripture promises that “there shall be a tabernacle” that, too, is the sukkah. In the Kingdom, Messiah will be all the protection Israel, or any nation that trusts in Him, will ever need.
Security in the Sukkah
The lesson is this: Our security is not found by living in the greatest country in the world with the most powerful military on earth. It is not found in our own abilities or possessions, nor even in the largest synagogue or church. Our true security is found only when we are “in Him”, that is, in the Sukkah of God, our Messiah Yeshua. Though to the world, we may look weak and frail, in Messiah we are secure and strong. He will cover and protect us. Paul seems to hint at this very idea when he writes…“Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). In Him we are new creations, but only in Yeshua! “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua.” (Romans 8:1). Whether in war or wilderness, in Yeshua our Sukkah and in Him alone, we are secure. God has fully provided our salvation and new life!
To Live is Messiah…
The question arises, if Messiah is our security, why do believers and others die at the hands of terrorists? Our lives are in the hands of God, not in the hands of terrorists. Our loving God is able to keep us and will bring us home to be with Him in His time. If He allows evil, He can even turn that for good and for His glory (see Daniel 3: 17, 18). In the Sukkah of God is where we find our security and a life worth living. As Paul wrote, “To live is Messiah, to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). When we enter into Heaven, whenever and however God chooses to bring us there, it is according to His Sovereign will. This is our confidence and hope. Are you in the Sukkah? May we who trust in Yeshua as our ‘Sukkah security,’ reach out with the Good News!