Our Shelters in the Wilderness
Israel was under the belief they were going to take a direct route into the Promised Land, but were severely disappointed upon learning that their time in the wilderness would be extended forty years. Why was there such a delay? His answer follows, "The children rebelled against me: They did not follow my decrees, they were not careful to keep my Torah—although the man who obeys them will live by them—and they desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in the desert. (Ezekiel 20:21) Oh yes, the rebels of the wilderness did keep some laws, but they were unwilling to fulfill all of the Laws that were presented to them in their covenant. In short, the rebels in the desert felt that they were above the Torah and were destroyed. Those who were willing to obey were able endure to the end and went into the Promised Land alive.
So why has YHWH commanded the children of Israel to construct shelters to remember this? The sun beating down from the sky represents the wrath of God. The shelters are representative of the Holy People and the lives they live throughout the little time of trouble. The limbs of the trees placed on top of the shelters represent the commandments that were meant to protect them from the wrath of God. Note that there was a variety of different limbs and bows to be laid across the roofs of Israel’s ancient shelters. Ten bows were not sufficient to shelter them from the hot rays of the sun beating down on them from day to day. In the same way, there are 613 commandments given to the Holy People which are designed to shelter us from the wrath of God when it is poured out upon His people. Note the relationship between the sun and His wrath in the book of Revelation. “He who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.” (Revelation 7:15-16) The Feast of Tabernacles the yearly reminder for God’s people to store all of His commandments in their hearts. These commandments will be useful to us in the days ahead when we will be required to obey all of them in the coming wilderness experience.