Sukkot just doesn’t work for Florida. It is our rainy season so, for some years the lawns become muddy, and the mosquitos are hungry and angry. We had the infamous year where the sukkah couldn’t withstand the rain storm and fell into the deep end of the pool, leaving glitter from the decorations! The year that the sukkah fell into the pool, we weren’t sure if it was the storm or the workmanship. My husband is a fabulous cook but, he isn’t a very good carpenter.
Each year, my husband reminds me that the sukkah is supposed to be flimsy and frail, letting in the stars at night and shading us during the day. The frail, flimsy huts are to remind us during Sukkot of Gods provision, and of our utter dependence on Him. Just as the Israelites made booths as they wandered in the wilderness, we build our booths to remind us of our dependence upon God as we wander through our wilderness. Our sukkah, during Sukkot may be frail and flimsy, but our God who we take refuge in is not. In Psalm 46:1-3 it says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very ready help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth shakes and the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” In this verse, the Hebrew word that is used for ‘refuge’ is מַחְסֶה machseh. It means, ‘refuge, shelter’, which comes from the root verb חָסָה cḥasah which means, ‘to seek refuge, to have hope, to put trust in (Elohim). The Lord is not frail and flimsy and therefore we can take our refuge in Him, we can put our hope in Him, and we can trust Him. When we take refuge in Him, in His shelter, He is a strong, mighty God who exists perfectly. His attributes display who He is, and they are like the planks of a sukkah who create the form of the sukkah. The planks of His attributes allow us to know who He is and to trust in His character, His rescue of us, and His faithfulness. Here are five attributes of God:
- God is all-powerful- Jeremiah 32:17 says, “Oh, Lord God! Behold, you yourself have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for you.” We forget that our God is an all-powerful God. There is nothing too difficult, impossible, out of His realm, and too insignificant. He has power over life and death and He has power over a sparrow.
- God is sovereign- Daniel 4:25 says, “But He does according to His will among the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can fend off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have you done’? God is totally self -sufficient. He doesn’t need to ask us what we think or ask us for permission. Our God has the power to do whatever He pleases when He pleases.
- God is holy and just- Deuteronomy 32:4 describes this attribute, “A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” God being just means that he is consistent, virtuous, innocent, and right. And since his justness is part of his nature that cannot change, then he is always right and just in whatever he does. So when we “feel” God is not fair, we have to remind ourselves that God is always just.
- God is love- The concept of God being love is sometimes restricted to the idea that it is only found in the New Testament. However, God never changes, He always has been love and always will be love. In Joel 2:13 it says, “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love;….“ All throughout the scriptures God demonstrates His love in all areas. He desires to forgive us and restore us to Him.
- God is merciful- In Psalm 51:-2 we see one of many verses speaking of His mercy, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” Our God is a God that knows everything: Every thought; every failure; our past; our present and our future. He knows when we struggle or when we fail, and He is always ready to forgive us and rescue us.
This year, as we sit in our sukkah’s, let’s remember that our God has created a shelter for us with the planks of His attributes that are a fortress that we can run into!