Living Tabernacles

You may have heard of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jewish people call the Feast of Tabernacles Sukkot. Sukkot means booths and refers to the booths or tents that are built during this time. [1] During Sukkot, devout Jewish people live in their sukkahs or tents, unless health or weather does not permit that.[2] From a Christian perspective, the Feast of Tabernacles could be seen as camping for Jesus! At the Feast of Tabernacles, Christians look back to how God has rescued, protected and lead His people over the centuries and that includes the Christ’s atoning death at Calvary.

The Pilgrims in early America history decided to express their appreciation for their survival and for the harvest. They looked in the Bible and saw the Feast of Tabernacles. Those Pilgrim pioneers based part of the Thanksgiving celebration on Sukkot.[3]


Psalm 105 (King James Version)

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Remember his marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.

Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;

And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:

Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:

When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.

When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;

He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:

To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.

And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.

He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtly with his servants.

He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.

They showed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.

He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.

He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.

Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.

He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.

He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.

He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.

He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillars, and that without number,

And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.

He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.

Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.

He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.

The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.

He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.

For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.

And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:

And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;

That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 105 is a dramatic reading of Biblical history. A call to action,[4] a call to join God is found in the history of the Bible. We are invited to do more than listen. The invitation is to hop on the stage and join the drama,[5] God’s drama.

Any time we want to seek the Lord and to really seek Him, in such a way that we experience God as we have never experienced the Lord, we need to remember. God is best found and experienced when we review the blessings the Lord gives us. By understanding what the Eternal does, we come to comprehend and experience God in a rich way. The Feast of Tabernacles and Thanksgiving are good times to find the true Pentecost experience, to find a time when the Spirit speaks to our hearts.

In the first six verses, the people assemble, seek and remember. The people come together not just for themselves. They have a mission. That mission is to make known what the Lord has done.[6]

Verse 8. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. This verse shows that God has not just included you and I in His kingdom. God’s people number in the thousands of generations.

This verse helps protect us from a bad tendency. There is a tendency for some people to see the Bible only as it relates to their personal salvation. As a result, “ . . . their faith becomes progressively more narrow and loveless.”[7] People who only see the Bible as it relates to personal salvation tend to see God’s grace as a one-time event, such as when a person accepts Jesus as his or her personal Savior. As a result of seeing the Bible only in terms of personal salvation, people find it difficult to forgive anybody after they’ve become a Christian. Grace is not easily extended beyond the date a person becomes a Christian. The reality is that God’s grace extends through our entire lives, and touches every single moment of our lives from conception to the tomb.

Reading the history of God’s involvement in the lives of His people is crucial to the Feast of Tabernacles and to Thanksgiving. In the Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish people live in tents to appreciate how much the Lord has given them. Jewish people are no longer a people without a home. During the Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish people are able to appreciate the land and homes the Lord gave them.

Many queer people feel they’ve spent their entire lives living in tents, pilgrims never really welcome to live in any community, to attend any church. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified people can celebrate with Jewish people that they are no longer without a home. We have a heavenly home, a home no army, no narrow-minded pastor, no exclusive church, no church position, and no terrorist can take away. And we are able to be more thankful!

Steve Malone, in a sermon on Thanksgiving, makes a good point. He says pride keeps us from being thankful.[8] Good point! Pride is the attitude that, “Nobody gave me anything. I worked for all I have!”[9]

The Bible destroys that false understanding. In the Bible we understand there is no room at all for pride. God acts in history on our behalf. We do not act in history on God’s behalf. He acts through us to accomplish His will. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.[10]

Once our human pride is smashed by God’s love and is replaced by the value we get from being created by God, chosen by God and redeemed by God, the Lord is able to give us a thankful heart. And we start to live the Feast of Tabernacles daily.

When things are put in perspective, we are able to live Feast of Tabernacles every day. Our conservative parents, the people who place restrictions on us remind us of a blessing. Those restrictions generally remind us that somebody cares for us, that we are loved and wanted.

When viewed from the tent of the Feast of Tabernacles, a sink of dirty dishes is not a bad sign.[11] In fact, it can be a very good sign. Those dishes probably show you had food to eat today.

From the vantage point of tent of the Feast of Tabernacles, those kids that wear out their clothes before you even get the VISA bill and eat like a herd of horses point out how blessed you are. For those kids can run and jump and are healthy.

As we look back over the history of our lives, we can see many periods of time when we lived in tent of the Feast of Tabernacles. Recalling those times, helps us feel happier where we are. When reflecting on college, I remember the dirty, smelly dorms. Each summer, I shared a dorm room with hundreds of roommates. Every size, shape and form of insect crawled on the floors. The only one I could easily identify was the cockroach. And the rooms were noisy. You could hear the loud music of people in the rooms above, below, and beside you. Reflecting on my days in college dorms, I am much more thankful for my simple apartment.

And it is through the Feast of Tabernacles and the tent periods of life, we learn to be thankful. We have to learn to be thankful. A baby is not born thankful. In fact, they are very ungrateful. You can walk a baby with colic for hours. Put the little dude down and they do not say, “Thank you mom. I enjoyed our bonding time. When I am hurting and you hold me, I feel all good inside.” They scream like mad men.[12]

As we go through the tent experiences in life, God teaches us to be thankful and we become powerful witnesses for the Lord.

The commentators in the ArtScroll Book of Psalms we have at the back table state, “Whatever you accomplish, ascribe it to God’s help, and let even the gentile nations know that God’s guiding hand is everywhere.”[13] When God transforms our hearts, we are made into living Tabernacles, places where people can turn for sanctuary, for refuge and to remember what God has done for humanity.


Lord, create in us grateful hearts, so our testimonies of You will lead many hearts to the heavenly promised land. Amen.


[1]”Sukkot.” Judaism 101. (Internet web site:

[2]”Sukkot.” Judaism 101. (Internet web site:

[3]”Sukkot.” Judaism 101. (Internet web site:

[4]G.A.F. Knight. The Daily Study Bible: The Psalms. Vol. 2 (Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press, 1983), 150.

[5]Knight, 150.

[6]Knight, 149-150.

[7]Knight, 150.

[8]Steve Malone. “A Proper Perspective on Thanksgiving.” (Internet web site:

[9]Paraphrased from Malone. (Internet web site:

[10]Ephesians 2:8-9.

[11]Malone indicates a sink of dirty dishes means we have been blessed with food and water.(Internet web site:

[12]Illustration paraphrased from Malone. (Internet web site:

[13]Menachem Davis, et. al., eds. The Schottenstein Edition, Tehillim: The Book of Psalms. (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Pub., 2002), 292-293.