And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.”
The Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) was a feast established by the Lord for thanksgiving. This feast, along with many others, were neglected or not able to be observed during the Babylonian captivity. The book of Nehemiah goes along with the book of Ezra (in the Jewish bible they are sometimes combined into one book). Ezra was the scribe, priest, and prophet, Nehemiah was a high ranking official of the region, possibly the governor. Nehemiah found out that the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down during the time of captivity and sent a contingent to rebuild the walls. He suffered ridicule, greed, discouragement, conspiracy but yet he had a vision from God and he purposed in his heart to see it done. And it was done, Nehemiah succeeded through the trials by countering all the worldly negativity with Godly responses: confidence in God, prayer, watchfulness, courage.
When he had done all he could and the walls were restored, they brought out the book of the Lord and it was read, in the midst of the city, from early morning throughout the day. Ezra the scribe read the word of the Lord and the feast of tabernacles for thanksgiving was restored. This marked the first time the people of Israel were able to celebrate with thanksgiving as the Lord had desired.
What tasks, or visions you have from God that you’re working on? Are you being met with some obstacles? The same things Nehemiah used to combat his adversaries are the same ones available to us. Prayer, the Word, Courage, the Confidence you are working with God. Do you feel overwhelmed? Crushed by the weight of decisions or circumstances? Do you feel alone and there is no one to help? Celebrating the Lord with thanksgiving and praise will put our mind at rest, ease our burden, and rebuild the walls of faith that surround us.
“ I sometimes feel I am all alone with too much demand on me. I know you tell me “I will not give you more than you can bear”, and I want to believe that. Lord, help me to take my eyes off me and my troubles and refocus on You. You are the source of my joy and gladness. You refresh me like a cold drink of water on a hot day. I want to be in Your shadow where there is rest. Fill me with Your spirit and give me the courage to continue on. ” AMEN