Understanding Tabernacles Pt 3: Preparation
Blessing Comes After Preparation
And after they had prepared their hearts before Him, He was getting ready to bust out all the stops:
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29 NKJV).
This word “afterward” he uses referring to the time after the righteous preparation of Rosh Hashanah—after His people had prepared themselves with the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. God made a time where His people prepared themselves to receive from Him, and as they went through the ten days of awe and the Day of Atonement, brought their best offerings, and honored God, they positioned themselves to receive God’s protection, provision, and presence in the year to come.
Prophetically, we put ourselves in a position to receive the best from God when we let Him place our hearts as the Hebrews did in the Fall Feast Season. Obedience and a heart that is right toward God position you for a blessing. And the Feast of Tabernacles is all about the blessing!
Too many people encounter to expect to be blessed no matter what they do. They figure they can thumb their nose at God when things are going well but come running with their tail between their legs when they need Him. That is not honoring God, and though we receive His grace and forgiveness, that is not how we position ourselves to receive the blessing from the Lord.
The blessings of the Feast of Tabernacles came only after the Children of Israel had gone through a period of righteous preparation. They did more of the right things, let God adjust their hearts, repented, and sacrificed to position themselves so that God could bless them and they would still have the right attitude—honoring and giving God all the glory!
Everyone wants a blessing, but you cannot get the blessing without going through the processes God wants you to go through. God knows that your character needs to be able to handle your blessing. God loves you too much to leave you the same, so He is continually taking you from glory to glory— transforming you and conforming the character of Christ in you. He knows your heart needs to be right so that the blessing does not instead become a curse. With the way He arranged the Fall Feasts, God made it clear that you do not get a blessing without first making room in your heart for repentance. He established the principle that He blessed His people after the sacrifice—and notice that the sacrifice cost them something—and after they had been made right with Him on the Day of Atonement.
The blood of Jesus allows our hearts to be changed. We can intentionally focus on what it means for us and let what Jesus did sink in. Grasping the principles God established in these feasts for His people then will help us carry them over into our lives now and receive the same blessings He wants to give us, His people.
Let me make it clear that blessings are not simply “materialism.” The greatest blessings are spiritual—your salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit. God’s blessings can be relational, physical, emotional, and material.
Let God Prepare You
We must be ready to let God do whatever work He needs to do in our lives and in our hearts to prepare us for blessing. He has to bring us through hard things, knowing that they will shape us. Sometimes he has to cut off people who aren’t right for us. He always has to get us over ourselves! We need to let go of whatever is holding us back from His best for us and from being who He desires us to be!
Our obedience brings us into an intimate encounter with the living God. These feasts are more than rituals or traditions; they are encounters with the Founder of the feasts and windows into His personality, desires, and principles.
God has an appointment waiting for you. He set it long ago. It’s an appointment to bless you!
What he wants from you is that you will let Him do whatever He needs to position you to receive that blessing. He called the Children of Israel to ten days of reverential awe, repentance, sacrifice, and then the great feast that coincided with the harvest. Its purpose was that they celebrate all that He had done for them after they had prepared their hearts.
What has God done for you? What does He want you to remember and thank Him for that will position your heart to receive His best? As we look at these feasts, I hope you are grasping the timeless principles God sought to establish.
This chapter was just the preparation for the best part, because after we let Him prepare our hearts, then comes the blessing. Take time and prepare your heart, just as the Children of Israel did before the Feast Tabernacles. Be open to whatever God may tell you. Be obedient to Him, and then get ready for the good part!
Are You Ready?
We have spent most of this section looking at how God prepared the hearts of His people so that they would be ready to receive His blessing. God knew that He first had to soften their hearts before He could bless them; otherwise, like the dry hard ground, the benefits would simply run off instead of soaking in.
In the Feast of Trumpets, God had His people look back at the year and soberly examine themselves. He had them look back to see all the ways they had missed the mark, and these ten days of reflection prepared them for repentance. This way, their hearts were ready for the Day of Atonement and the sacrifice that would cover over their sins.
But with their sins covered over and their hearts softened toward Him, God knew it was time for a party! But He didn’t leave it with just feasting. Oh no, He had a lot more in store for them then just seven days of stuffing their faces, laughter, fellowship, and thanksgiving.
He has better plans for His kids than that!