Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. (New American Standard)
And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. (King James)
We had an interesting discussion in my small group today about the above scripture in Leviticus.
"...boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees" were talked about first, and compared to the strength, beauty, wisdoms, gifts, and basically all good things given from God.
"...AND WILLOWS of the brook" The hard times, the pain, the agonies that we experience.
We are to bring our joys AND our pains, and "rejoice before our Lord." Now, you have to know my small group leader to understand how literally she takes God's word (which is what I absolutely LOVE about her). She cut a branch from an oak tree (oaks of righteousness) because it was strong, deep rooted, and beautiful (no palms grow in the Midwest). She also cut a branch from a weeping willow... note "weeping" willow (usually found near brooks or creeks). Then she walked and prayed every day for seven days (waving her branches)... rejoicing in her joy AND sufferings.
So, today, as I have been wide awake since 2 a.m., I am reflecting on this... meditating on how these words, this act of faith challenges me to the very core of my spirit. Not only is God asking me to rejoice in all circumstances, good and bad... He is asking something very "simple" of me. Goofy, even... to walk in faith (flapping branches of weak and strong trees) for seven days (from Sabbath to Sabbath). So it's not just to "say it", but to show it... to live it. It's just another example to me of God telling me that "I don't ask for much... loving ME, worshipping ME, talking to ME, trusting ME" is not complicated. I need to stop making it complicated.
I think I'm hearing His still small voice, loud and clear today.