Reading through the Bible together
One could divide this Psalm of National Thanksgiving into three segments: (1) verses 1-19, were thought to have been sung by Israelites on their way to the Temple to offer sacrifices or celebrate the feasts; (2) verses 20-28, the dialogue between those at the Temple and those who have arrived; and (3) finally verse 29, a mighty chorus by the entire congregation.
The people of Israel were surrounded by fierce, warlike tribes, eager to seize upon their lands; yet three times every year all the people who could make the journey would leave their homes for the place of assembly. What was to hinder their enemies from sweeping down on those unprotected households? God had promised to be the protector of His people (Exodus 34: 24).
For the Passover event, all the houses in Jerusalem were opened to the pilgrims. But this was not sufficient, and tents were pitched in every available space in the city and the surrounding hills. Passover was celebrated with its solemn and impressive ceremonies to commemorate deliverance from bondage in Egypt, and pointing forward to the sacrifice that should deliver from the bondage of sin. The Passover was followed by the seven days Feast of Unleavened Bread. Fifty days from the offering of first fruits came Pentecost, the feast of harvest. In the seventh month came the Feast of Tabernacles, the great festival gathering of the year. This feast was an occasion of rejoicing. It occurred just after the great Day of Atonement, when assurance had been given that their iniquity should be remembered no more. At these yearly assemblies, the hearts of old and young would be encouraged in God’s service. Association of the people from different parts of the land would strengthen the ties that bound them to God and to one another. As Israel celebrated the deliverance of their fathers by God and His miraculous preservation of them during their journeying from Egypt, so should we gratefully call to mind the ways God has devised for bringing us out from darkness into the precious light of His grace and truth.
The Feast of Tabernacles not only celebrated the harvest but pointed back to God’s presence in the wilderness and forward to the great day of final ingathering. The Lord shall send forth His reapers to gather the tares in bundles for the fire and to gather the wheat into His garner. At that time the wicked and sin will be destroyed. And every voice in the whole universe will unite in joyful praise to God.
Lord, take my life and let it be fully consecrated Lord to thee! Would you make this your prayer today?
Jan Harry Cabungcal
Europe for Jesus