Posted by: Heather | May 23, 2010

Happy Shavuot!

Acts 2 :1-4  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.   3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.   4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Today is the day a portion of the Christian church recognizes as Pentecost Sunday…called ‘Shavuot’ in Hebrew.  This is one of the commanded feasts of the Lord in Leviticus 23 that the Jews keep every year.  It is the feast that commemorates when God met with the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19).   Moses was directed by God to come up to Him at Mt. Sinai, and the children of Israel were to gather around the mountain so the Lord could meet with them.  From the top of the mountain came thunderings and lightning.  Smoke covered the heights of the mountain, because God descended upon it in fire.  It was here that God gave the Torah to His people – His instructions for living.

Afterward, Moses came up with Aaron, his sons, and 70 elders to worship.  Only Moses would be allowed to come into the direct presence of the Lord.  At this time, he would receive the instructions for the building of the tabernacle and the pattern by which the priests garments would be created.  Aaron and the others only stayed for a period of time, and then Moses was left alone in the presence of God at the top of Mt. Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights.  During the time Moses was away, the people became restless, and asked for a god to worship.  The golden calf was created.  When Moses came from the top of the mountain, bearing the tablets of stone with God’s commandments engraved in them, He found the Israelites in idolatry.  Three thousand were swallowed up into the earth that day because of their disobedience.

Shavuot, also called the ‘Feast of Weeks’, and ‘Pentecost’ had come again in the 2nd chapter of Acts.  This is a harvest feast that celebrates the end of a successful barley harvest, and the beginning of the wheat harvest in Jerusalem.  It is a harvest feast, but is first and foremost the commemoration of the day God gave His people the Torah at Mt. Sinai.  On this exact day, all those years ago, God made covenant with His people by the appearance of fire.   This day, God would again descend in fire, making covenant with His people and giving the Torah.  However, this time, it was not given in tablets of stone, but written on the hearts of those that received Him.  When the fire descended on those present, they began to speak in the languages of the diverse group that was in Jerusalem for the feast.  Each heard someone speaking in their own native language, declaring the wonderful works of God.  At the end of Acts chapter 2, after Peter’s message, they asked what they had to do to be saved.  Three thousand were added to the church that day…an act of restoration in remembrance of the 3,000 swallowed up by their idolatry in Exodus.

Our salvation is not a legalistic formula or a set of 1,2,3 instructions to ensure that we get saved a certain way.  It is allowing God to  “…show that you are a letter from Christ, …, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”  II Corinthians 3:3 When the fire comes, it circumcises our tongue to spread the gospel of Christ and be a witness to Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus was the Word of God incarnate.  By his death, burial, and resurrection, He made a way for the Holy Spirit to come to earth and live in human vessels.  When He comes in, He writes Himself, the very Word of God, on our hearts, to lead and guide us into all truth.  May we be ever ready to follow where ever He leads, willing to be continually baptized in the fire of His Word, Spirit, and covenant!

Happy Shavuot to you all!!


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