Those of you who know me know I love learning about the Hebrew calendar and the Hebrew feasts and holy days of the year. It opens the door to deeper understanding and knowledge of our God and our rich heritage.
The fall is a very important time on the Hebrew calendar. It is a time to celebrate the Rosh Hashanah or the New Year and the Days of Awe. In the fall the Jewish people sound the trumpet, wake up, seek the Lord, atone for sin and glorify Him who is worthy of all praise.
In a previous devotional I addressed the New Year (also called: Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah or Head of the Year) and the 10 Days of Awe. Today I want to address Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot.
If you have engaged in the celebration of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and the Days of Awe you sounded the trumpet and sought the Lord and are now ready to embrace The Day of Atonement. This is not a feast day but rather a holy day to fast and humble yourself before our holy God. This comes on September 30th on our calendar this year. It is a day to confess your sin. For us we have the wonderful blessing of placing our sins under the blood of Jesus and have the assurance that we are then fully forgiven and restored to God and His purposes. Is. 44:22 says, I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me for I have redeemed you!! What a blessing!! So on September 30 I would encourage you to take time and confess whatever sin the Lord reveals to you and be forgiven. (If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9 NKJ)
Now you are ready for the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot (see Leviticus 23:34-43). This feast on our calendar starts on Oct. 5th and ends on Oct. 11. Many Jewish people go and cut down palm or leafy branches and build a temporary shelter or tabernacle called a sukkah. God told His people to live in a tabernacle for seven days to remind God’s people that their ancestors lived in tabernacles when He brought them out of Egypt. The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of God’s glory. It is a time to enjoy the Lord, to celebrate His goodness, to give Him thanks and praise. Leviticus 23:40 says, to Rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Deuteronomy 16:14-15 says Be joyful at your feast for the Lord your God will bless you and your joy will be complete. I am not suggesting you have to build a sukkot but I am suggesting that you set aside time over the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles to give thanks to God. Thank Him for your salvation. Thank Him that He is with you and will never forsake you. Thank Him for your provision. Have fun praising God together with family and friends. If you have children it may be fun to build some kind of tent or sukkah.
We are not under the law. We do not have to celebrate any of the Hebrew Feasts or holy days. However, if you choose to engage in them, you will be blessed. It will set you up, if you will, for the New Year. I know our New Year is in January, but September always feels more like a new year to me. The summer has passed and it’s time to get back to school and a full work schedule. May I encourage you to start fresh this school year. Start it having been awakened, standing in awe of our God, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and glorifying His holy name with thanksgiving and praise. What a great way to start anew!! Go for it!!
Blessings to you and yours,
Rev. Patricia Wenzel is the founder and director of a state-wide prayer ministry, PRAY New Jersey Inc., since 2002. The ministry is committed to praying for and blessing those serving in authority positions in our state, particularly in government. The ministry is also committed to equipping the saints to pray for those serving in government. The vision and ministry is guided by the Word of God, in particular, 1 Tim. 2:1-4 and Is. 61:11. Pat is thankful for the ministry of America’s Keswick. She graduated from Women of Character in July 2008.