- Article 1,'Wandering In the Wilderness? '
- Article 2,'RESHET Network Kids Camp'
- Article 3,'KATZIR National Youth Camp'
- Article 4,'Shavei Tzion Messianic Center'
- Article 5,'The Deep Sigh of Sukkot'
Wandering In the Wilderness?
Reflections on our journey during the Feast of Tabernacles season*
By Moshe Morrison
God begins to deal with us long before we experience our “new birth.” The psalmist says that He knew us even before we were formed in our mother’s womb. His plan for us is worked out through the circumstances of our lives to bring us to the place where we can receive His inexpressible gift and we are ushered into an eternal relationship with Him through Messiah Yeshua.
“Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle…” (Numbers 9:1)
The completion and setting up of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and its subsequent filling by the presence of God is a prophetic picture of this. The Lord had been shaping Israel from the time of the call of Abram. But now they were to begin an aspect of their journey that was unique.
Now there was a place for the Holy One to dwell in the midst of His people, and each Israelite could feel closer communication with Him. His presence was there as their own personal tour guide.
Often the word “wandering” is used to describe our ancestors’ forty year journey through the wilderness. Unfortunately the word carries the connotation of aimlessness, as if they were lost with no direction home. But this is not the case, because the Scriptures clearly state that the people of Israel only moved when and where the Lord directed them.
God was present in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night hovering above the sanctuary. When the cloud lifted, the Israelites would break camp, pack up the Tabernacle and follow the cloud. When it stopped, they would stop and set up camp. Whether it was overnight, a few days, months or years – unless the cloud moved, they stayed where they were.
Of course the people were not always happy with this journey through the wilderness. However, the All Knowing God knew the end from the beginning and every stop had a purpose. There was a reason for every place and for the duration of every stay. Sadly, the process was not a popular one and only exacerbated their inclination to complain. It is important that we understand what God wants us to receive from this ancient episode.
“For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud…Now these things happened to them as an example and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”(1 Corinthians 10:1-11)
Even when we are in seasons of great challenges and we don’t know where we are going or how long we must remain in this place, we must remember that He who lives in us is ever our guide. He knows, and is directing us in the journey. So we need not complain, but follow while trusting and resting in Him.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it unto the day of Messiah Yeshua.” (Philippians 1:6)
*This year the Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated on September 19-26
RESHET Network Kids Camp
Each season of the year is defined by its holidays. In the fall, we welcome the New Year with Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. In the winter Hannukah brightens our lives. Spring brings renewal and remembrance during the week of Pesach. But what do we do during the long hot summer season? We celebrate CAMP!
Since Camp Reshet is a “holiday” of our own making, we have come up with many fun traditions to accompany it: creative crafts, silly games, pool time, baseball, night games etc. Each year we also get to learn about new aspects of our relationship with God and each other. This time we chose to focus on “Expeditions” – epic journeys from the Bible and the qualities that made them successful. Central to all those expeditions was God’s guidance and the giftings contributed by each participant. As we learned about biblical journeys we also saw how those same elements could be applied to our lives today.
It was a joy to once again celebrate Camp Reshet together with many gifted and giving people from our network of congregations and from Beltway Baptist Church in Texas!
KATZIR National Youth Camp
Set near the northern coast of Israel, our national summer youth camp included 85 teens and 18 counselors. The theme was “Changing Gears.” It was time to simplify. For example, the kids cooked their own lunch on campfires in a eucalyptus grove. A reduced sound system for worship brought us closer to each other and the Lord.
Hiking picturesque canyons, we discovered rushing streams and rock-strewn rapids. Through physical challenge, youth experienced mutual dependence and community. At the end of a full week together, the young people stood in prayer circles. Arms around each
other, they asked for God’s blessings on their lives. Seeing this made it all worthwhile!
Before going home, they offered these comments:
This has been a difficult period of my life with many burdens. These days were incredible. God really spoke to me through every small thing.
Our progress comes at the price of tears, effort and honesty.
The Spirit speaks to us individually and wants a personal connection with each of us. Katzir (“harvest”) helps us to develop this relationship.
[For more information about the ministry of Katzir, write to
Shavei Tzion Messianic Center
Part of the Tents of Mercy Network
Twelve years ago Return to Zion Congregation in Haifa started publishing a Russian language news magazine called “Oasis.” The magazine started out as a small, informal bulletin for the congregation, but quickly gained popularity and was soon being distributed within the Russian speaking communities in Haifa and beyond. It became clear that there was a great need for Messianic teaching and news in Russian. Traditionally, Russian Christians of all denominations have had very little, if any, knowledge of the Jewish roots of their New Testament faith. We are seeing a growing interest in this kind of teaching in many Russian speaking congregations. The vision of Oasis Media is:
- To provide sound Messianic teaching from Israel to Russian speaking believers throughout the world, whether they be of Jewish or non-Jewish background.
- To draw Russian speaking secular Jews closer to Biblical spirituality.
Now, in the age of widespread internet usage, a greater emphasis has been placed on the internet version of “Oasis,” hence the new name “Oasis Media.” Our internet site, http://oasis-media.info/en, is dedicated to Messianic video teachings, whereas the http://oasismagazine.com site concentrates more on written teachings and news articles in Russian. Since its establishment in January 2013 the media site has attracted roughly 10,000 views per month.
Oasis Media has a huge potential for reaching out to Russian speaking Jews and Gentiles in Israel, in countries of the former Soviet Union and in Russian speaking communities throughout the world. We are particularly excited about our many viewers in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, where Islam is quickly gaining ground. It is important for believers to understand the role of Israel in God’s plan and to learn of the Jewish roots of their faith. One of our secondary goals is to defend Israel from misinformation and anti-Israel bias that are rampant in the secular media.
Please pray with us for Oasis to continue to grow as an influential voice of God’s Word from Zion.
In Leviticus 23:42 the generations of Israel are commanded to dwell or “sit” in temporary shelters (“tabernacles”) for one week of the autumn season to identify with the existence of the children of Israel when they lived in temporary shelters (“sukkot”) in the wilderness.
I like God’s experiential approach to things. He knows that memory is linked to celebration is linked to activity. Sometimes just sitting in a sukkah and drinking coffee in the shade provided by the thatched roof, helps achieve the frame of mind the Lord is after. And just what is that frame of mind?
Bottom line, it’s a frame of mind free from worry and full of trust. In Deuteronomy 8, Moses reminds the people of Israel that God who took care of them for forty years in the wilderness. One of modern life’s most besetting plagues is “worry.” How can we pay all of our bills, put our kids through school, support our aging parents, pay our taxes and give our tithes and offerings? What about urgent repairs? Medical costs?
Not surprisingly, Yeshua also addressed this essential issue. “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body…” (Matthew 6:25)
Celebrating the “Feast of Tabernacles” is meant to free us from worry. It’s a seven day opportunity to return to the essential ingredient in our relationship with the Most High–trust. If I am not trusting Him to provide on the material level, how can I possibly trust Him on the spiritual plane? If He was able to provide for a few million people tromping through the Sinai desert, He can certainly provide for me.
Let’s face it – we need reminders. Building a sukkah out of simple wood framing, hanging blankets for walls and resting branches overhead for a roof, we remember the vulnerability of our past – but also of our present. We are indeed vulnerable, as the natural disasters and sudden wars of our era brutally demonstrate. So how, in a world we cannot control, shall we gain any security, any peace of mind, any sense of promise for the future?
While I sit in my sukkah and give thanks for all that God has given me, I can see the stars through the not-fully-covered “roof” over my head. I enjoy the early autumn breeze that blows in off the Mediterranean Sea after the heat of summer. I heave a deep sigh, releasing the accumulated pressures of modern life: rapid transportation, busy streets, pumped-up stores, and digital communication. Where does my focus need to be? On this never-pausing, pulsating, technology driven rhythm? Or on a more elemental, Creator-oriented approach to life? During Sukkot we are invited to slow down, to return, to consider, to re-evaluate life in light of eternal truth. Am I really so much in control of circumstances? Am I emphasizing those aspects of existence that will endure beyond the next meal, the next work day, the next day off?
Here is the genius of God. He knows how to take mundane stuff like wooden boards and branches and blankets, to bring us back to Himself. It’s a heart thing. He’s always after our heart. By taking seven days and disrupting our normal routine, the Lord says “Hey, aren’t you forgetting something in your mad rush to function in this world? Remember me? I’m the Author of all this. You will not succeed in the truest sense of ‘gaining a satisfying life’ by acting as if you are responsible for all that you have and use. I’m the Supplier. I’m the Source. Look to me and be at peace. Come back to me and I will give you true rest.”