Things Most Important

October 18, 2016

We are in the middle of celebrating the great feast of Sukkot - the last great feast of the year and the only one the Scripture says we will continue to celebrate in the Millennial Kingdom. In many countries of the world Sukkot (the feast of Tabernacles) is associated with spiritual revival. It comes when people commit themselves to study the Word of God and to allow the Word to direct their lives.

 

At the time when children of Israel came back from Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple of God laid in ruins. Ezra the scribe, who loved God and studied His Word, taught the people about God's commands. The main purpose for their return was to build the House of God (Ezra 1:3). The people who returned were not numerous and were not rich; they had not much to contribute to the building of the Temple. And then the seventh month came, the time of celebrating Sukkot - and of spiritual revival: "And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem. Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings. They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings in the number required by ordinance for each day.... From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, although the foundation of the temple of the Lord had not been laid." (Ezra 3:1-4, 6)

 

The chapter describes how the following year the foundations of the Temple were laid and how the people rejoiced. But the most important thing was done when the altar was built - the place where sacrifices could be offered to God. The people did not use the excuse that there was no Temple yet - they went ahead and offered the best they had "as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God".

 

Even after the second Temple was built, in the midst of rejoicing, many older people wept because the second Temple was not as imposing and beautiful as Solomon's Temple: "But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people..." (Ezra 3:12-13)

 

But it is to this second Temple, more humble than the first, that Yeshua came and filled with His presence. It is in the second Temple that Yeshua ministered.

 

God is not concerned with how beautiful and imposing the outside is. What's important is what's on the inside. What's important is our heart, His seat, the altar on which we offer our sacrifices to God. If children of Israel had waited for a perfect temple to be completed before offering their sacrifices, they would have never been able to do so. If we wait till we are perfect before we can give God our sacrifice - our time, our service, our prayers, etc., we would never be able to do anything, because we are not perfect.

 

The most important thing is that our heart belongs to Him - His altar, where we can lay our sacrifices. He will be there with His presence, and He will consume the sacrifice and use whatever we have to offer.

 

Blessed Sukkot celebration to all who love God!

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