Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 8:13-18

The whole community that had returned from exile made booths and lived in them. They had not celebrated like this from the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day. And there was tremendous joy.


Nehemiah 8:17


Worshipping God is a joyful act of sacrifice. The Feast of Booths, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is a Jewish celebration which recalls God’s Providence for His people as they journeyed through the wilderness. When the prophet Ezra and the people observe this festival, they are a people returning from exile to the land that God had promised generations before them. What a fitting way to remember the faithfulness of God! This Festival – which is still observed by the Jewish people today – commemorates a time when God’s faithfulness was very tangibly known: where God appeared as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to lead His people; where He blessed them with daily manna which fell from Heaven like dew; where He performed great miracles of salvation and protection that made His glory known. During this time, the Israelites lived in a temporary shelter (tabernacle or booth) for a week to remind themselves that their successful journey to Canaan was all because of God’s grace upon them. For a week, the people gave up the comfort of their homes to remember God’s salvation.

Worship to God is this way. It involves us laying down our comforts in order to bring honor to Him. Remembering His great Works causes us to forfeit our desires in order to prioritize Him. Recalling His Glory prompts us to humble ourselves and entrust ourselves to His Will. We sacrifice for our LORD in joy and celebration because of His Sacrifice which first produced our Salvation. We forsake pennies compared to the treasures with which He has already blessed us. God gives us account after account that proves He is deserving of our Worship. What could we ever lay down before God that compares to what He has already laid down for us?


Loving God, I give You all praise, for You are the One Who blesses and provides. You are the One Who cares for me. Thank You for Your great Mercy that has revealed to me Your Salvation. As I draw nearer to You each day, Lord, please fill my mind with thoughts of You. Cause me to sacrifice all of myself to give You glory. I pray all of these things in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ my Lord, AMEN.


Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Revelation 6; Nehemiah 8:13-9:37; Psalm 101