Shavuot: Waiting to Give
Watching and waiting. Two of the hardest things for anyone to do. As beings of action and creation, our instinct is to keep moving. Whether its out of necessity or desire for something more, we are hardwired to keep going. And going. And going. But our Creator engineered existence with Him in such a way that there are purposeful pauses – times of reflection and refreshing. As you may know, we have Shabbat each week. Shabbat is a sustained, repeated time of rest so that we can understand the rhythm of our lives in communion with the God of Abraham. On top of that, we have the Spring and Fall Feasts – special appointed times to demarcate our relationship with Him and rededicate ourselves to His service.
One such time is the Spring Feast of Shavuot: the Feast of Weeks. It’s a time to recognize the provision that God supplies us, especially in the wake of His deliverance and redemption during Passover. But before this special feast day happens, there are 49 days of waiting and watching. Seven weeks of anticipation for an encounter with El Shaddai. The Children of Israel waited at the foot of Mount Sinai for these days after the first Pesach, wondering what their new-found freedom would bring. They waited for Moses to return from communing with ADONAI, their eyes darting throughout each day to the thunderous cloud that had settled on the mountain as they questioned whether their leader would ever be seen again. Then one day, in the midst of their waiting, it got to be too much. They needed something. Some action, some movement, some thing to direct their attentions towards. The next thing we know, the golden calf is made and the Children of Israel experience the price of their sin against Adonai. Moses intercedes for the Children of Israel, a people freshly pulled from slavery, and because of Moses’ petition Adonai gives His people another chance. Moses descends the mountain with commandments for a second time, giving them rules to play by in order to have communion with ADONAI. And in that moment, God’s grace was poured out on His people.
Shavuot celebrates that grace.
We bring the first fruits of our harvests in order to say thank you for His provision. And it’s not just physical provision, but spiritual as well! In giving us clear and explicit instructions, ADONAI gave us the tools we needed to approach His Presence. After all, since He is holy, nothing unholy can be near Him. Therefore, having a way to present ourselves as holy before Him is a tremendous gift!But then, after our final atoning sacrifice was made through Yeshua (Jesus), Yeshua’s holiness became our own! Suddenly, we were able to approach the Creator without extended ceremony – just belief that Yeshua is the Messiah and that His death and resurrection had freed us from sin and death, granting us eternal life with ADONAI. How amazing is that?
So, when Shavuot was approaching and Yeshua had risen from the dead, as the first fruits of the resurrected He ascended into heaven as a vanguard for us. And in His place, we received the Holy Spirit so that the commandments written on stone thousands of years before would be written on our hearts. We call this event Pentecost and millions of believers celebrate it every year, not knowing that it is the of the fulfillment of Shavuot.
So, as we begin Shavuot this year, try to remember that at the end of watching and waiting comes something to celebrate! What would God have you celebrate this year?
Scripture tells us that no one should appear before the ADONAI empty handed, but to bring something to offer in gratitude. Some years I’ve offered up a special amount of money, others I’ve given poetry and songs that I’d written. I’ve seen others bring the first little bit of produce from their gardens. Some brought handknit blankets and scarves to say thank you for the skills they had been given by God. And of course, some years there is nothing to give but tears of gratitude. In fact, there have been years where I had nothing to give but myself. And you know what friend? That was more than enough.
So rejoice! Taste and see that ADONAI is good! Because He really, really is.