Speak to the children of Israel, saying…
I. THE TEXT REMINDS US OF CONDITIONS OF LIFE VERY LIKE THIS DWELLING IN BOOTHS.
1. A feeble body, answering its purpose many years, is like dwelling in booths. Every birthday from the first anniversary has seemed as though it must be the last; but they will be gathered to their graves fall of years, as a shock of corn fully ripe. The cedar has fallen, but the fir-tree stands; the flower of the grass has withered, but some of the most tender blades survive. Verily, looking at the frailty of the body, God makes some of us to dwell in booths.
2. Providing by slender means all that is really needful for a large family is like dwelling in booths.
3. A morbidly sensitive spirit kept sound is like dwelling in booths. To the border-line of madness many come who are not permitted to cross.
4. A nature prone to gross evil and kept from the power of temptation is like dwelling in booths.
5. A church preserved in peace and unity, with the elements of evil within it and evil influences around it, is another example of God making to dwell in booths. While human nature is what it is, you cannot have association of any kind without the elements of mischief and the seeds of dissolution. Where there is continuance and unity and peace in a religious community, we have another illustration of God making to dwell in booths.
6. To have lived in a day of small things, and gradually to have come into a day of great things, is to have been made to dwell in booths. The once contracted business now extensive, the once limited profession now a wide and broad practice, and the once tiny house now a large establishment, are illustrations.
II. THE TEXT EXHIBITS GOD AS SUFFICIENT FOR US IN THE MOST NECESSITOUS AND DANGEROUS CIRCUMSTANCES.
1. God hath in Himself all that is necessary for the working out of His will. He is not a cistern which may be broken, but He is an everlasting fountain. Whatever life, knowledge, wisdom, or power are needful or desirable, are in Himself.
2. God uses agents and instruments, but is not dependent upon any of the agents and instruments which He employs. His connection with all such does not bind or embarrass Him. It is nothing with Him to help, whether with many or with few, or with them that have no power.
3. God is conscious of His sufficiency. He thinks of Himself as sufficient, and feels to be sufficient. God had no more care of Israel when they dwelt in booths than when they abode in fenced cities. He had no misgiving about bringing the children of Israel through.
4. There is but one thing which prevents our fully experiencing the sufficiency of God, and that is sin — wilful and persistent sin. This shortcuts the arm of God, and this closes His ear.
III. THE TEXT POINTS OUT A DUTY OF REMEMBRANCE WHICH WE ARE ALL LIABLE TO NEGLECT. This direction has chief reference not to the generation which actually dwelt in the booths, but to successive generations, and to these after they had become tenants of the cities of the Holy Land. Now if we are to keep in remembrance God's goodness to our ancestors, how much more should we keep in mind God's mercy to ourselves! There is a point here, however, which we may not overlook. God's mercy to a family in previous generations places the present members of that family under obligation. The same remark will apply to a nation and to a church — to any community or association.
(S. Martin, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.