Parashah Shabbat Chol HaMoed (Shabbat of the Festival)
20 Tishrei 5780 / October 19th, 2019
By Morgan Krupinski
This Week’s Readings:
Torah: Exodus 33:12-34:26, Numbers 29:17-22
Haftarah: Ezekiel 38:18-39:16
Brit Chadashah: John 7:37-39
Sukkot is a time of joyous celebration and fellowship. One of my favorite parts of this holiday is dwelling with others while eating and worshipping in the sukkah. There is something to be said about dwelling with one another. There is special a level of connection that we experience when we live our life with others. It could be the bond of a parent and child, a deep friendship between roommates, the unity of husband and wife, or just the fellowship we have with other believers in our community. Having the desire to dwell with each other in life is a picture of how G-D views his relationship to us.
The Torah portion we read during the intermediate days of Sukkot deals with Moses speaking with G-D in the Tent of Meeting following the smashing of the Tablets. Moses begs with G-D to go with them in their journey. In Exodus 33:14 G-D promises Moses that His Presence will go with them and give them rest. Despite Israel’s sins, G-D deeply desires to dwell with His people. This beautiful picture of dwelling together is how G-D views his people. Moses was keenly aware of the power of G-D’s presence when after being assured that G-D would dwell with them, he begs that if His Presence wouldn’t be with them, they should not go on. What an amazing reliance on G-D. There is simply no reason to go on in life without dwelling with Him every step of the way. Additionally, G-D then appears to Moses in the cleft of the rock, where He proclaims His love, grace, and mercy to those who seek Him. Moses then repents on behalf of the people because of this great love and mercy (Ex. 34:6-9). It is because of His overwhelming love for us, that He desires to dwell with his people. How often do we find ourselves seeking to dwell with Him?
The Haftarah portion deals with the future battle between Israel and the people Gog. When it comes time for the enemies of Israel to assemble and attack, it is G-D who comes to the defense of His people. Ezekiel 38:20 states that the earth will shake at His presence. For the people who love and seek Him, the presence of G-d is bliss. For the people who hate G-D, His presence is destruction. It goes on to say that G-D will be glorified in that day and will be known as holy to His people Israel as well as the nations. It is G-D’s presence that makes this truth known. We see this theme also appear in Revelation 20 where Gog is again mentioned. While I’m not making the case that these are the same events, that’s an eschatological debate for another time, there is a similar theme. We see a triumphant Yeshua conquering and defeating the enemy of His people, and then in chapter 21 seeing G-D dwelling with men forever! His presence comes to dwell with His people and His presence also defeats His enemies. How do we relate to His presence in our lives? As friends or enemies?
The Brit Chadashah portion describes Yeshua dwelling with us. G-D desired to dwell with us so much, that He came down to us despite ourselves. Yeshua’s dwelling with us brought love, grace, and truth, all things G-D has desired for us to know since the beginning. It is only fitting on Sukkot, the festival that we are commanded to dwell in temporary booths, that Yeshua promised us the Ruach to dwell in us. As believers we have the Ruach HaKodesh dwelling in us, and have fellowship with G-D. Why then do we so often refuse to embrace that reality?
The presence of G-D through the Ruach is a true, real, experiential dimension in the life of a believer. He is with us in our darkest times, gives us hope when we are hopeless, and embraces us with His love. He provides for our needs and sanctifies us through His Word. Let us not forget that. Let us not be drawn away from it by our sins. Let us remember that our dwelling with G-D is secure, and forever as followers of Yeshua. During this Sukkot, lets us decide to embrace His presence in prayer, worship, study, and every other aspect of our lives. Is our desire to dwell with Him, as much as He desires to dwell with us?