Saturday, October 22, 2016

Nehemiah-Backyard Camping Feast

By Mary Vee
Nehemiah 8

From Nehemiah's Journal

Photo Courtesy
My name is Nehemiah. I had been a servant in Babylon for a long time. I was cupbearer to the king. 

The king of Babylon sent me to oversee the completion of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. 

The walls are finished, Israelites are living in the city, businesses are growing. 

We brought all the Israelites together and held a meeting by the Water Gate. Ezra, the prophet, read the Book of the Law of God to all the men, women, and the children who could understand. The people wept as they heard the laws and rules we hadn't been obeying. We all realized how we had failed. We realized what we should have been doing. The sorrow in our hearts felt heavy.

As one of their leaders I told the people to go home. Eat. Rest.

Now the second day of the seventh month has begun. Ezra, the Levites, and I continued to study the Book of the Law of God and found the Lord had commanded through Moses that we should live in booths during the feast of the seventh month. 

How exciting. We called the people back to hear these new instructions. Those who could come back gathered around the platform where Ezra stood. He read these instructions, "You are to live in booths during the feast of the seventh month and tell those who live in towns outside Jerusalem to go into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees. Also branches from myrtles, palms, and shade trees to make the booths."

The people left right away, combing the hillsides for the branches to make the booths. The booth was like a tent with an opening. The roofs of the houses were flat and made a perfect place for a booth. For those who didn't have room on their roof, they built booths in their courtyards, in the courts of the temple, and in the square of the Water Gate and Gate of Ephraim. 

Every family made a booth and lived in them for seven days. Sadly, from the days of Joshua until this very day, the Israelites had not celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in this way. We actually had a lot of fun. It was like the way you camp in your backyard. The children giggled. The adults praised God. Everyone sang and had so much fun.

Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God for all to hear. The Israelite brothers celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day,  according to the rules in the Law all the Israelites in the area gathered for a meeting.

Come back next time to see what happens.

sources: New International Version, New King James Version 

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