Last week we looked at 3 passages describing circumstances where encouragement was needed. We saw that not only was encouragement brought forth in the immediate, but also generations later. Referring back to Jeremiah 31:31-34 – these words encouraged or even revived the listeners by confirming they were still God’s people despite their difficulties. However, it took over 600 years for the prophetic side of these verses, A New Covenant, to come to pass which ultimately occurred at the time of the Last Supper. Referring back to John 16:6-7 – the promise of The Counselor may have been a reassurance and a hope to the disciples. This came to pass 7 weeks and 1 day later.
In Leviticus 23:1 & 2 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.’” What is interesting – these feasts (some are familiar to us: The Sabbath, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) were never rescinded. In fact, as I have shared in past newsletters, Jesus/Yeshua participated in these same feasts each year. One of the appointed times is one we don’t often hear about: the Feast of Weeks, also known as Shavuot.
Shavuot takes place 50 days after Passover. Passover was the time when the Lord brought His people, His children out of Egypt. After traveling for 50 days, they arrived at Mt. Sinai. At this point, the Lord says to Moses, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:5-6 Every one of the men, women, and children from Egypt were to become a kingdom of priests. How, you might ask? By following and being obedient to the 10 Commandments or the 10 Words found in Chapter 20. We now see the beginnings of the Torah, God’s Word, being written down by Moses. Torah is also known as the Pentateuch or the first 5 books of the Bible.
Does something sound familiar? On Passover, God made a way through the shed blood of the sacrificial lamb (whose blood was placed on the doorposts to protect the inhabitants from the angel of death) to escape from Egypt and from the bondage of slavery. 50 days later, Moses and God’s children for the first time receive God’s Word.
A few weeks back, we celebrated Passover or Easter. I think I’ve mentioned before that Passover has been a celebration observed for some 3500 years. But, we now see how Jesus/Yeshua is reflected in Passover – being the sacrificial “lamb” to defeat Sin and Death, to free us from the bondage of sin. When the day of Pentecost (50 days) came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…… Acts 2:1-4 The giving of the Holy Spirit took place on the anniversary of the giving of God’s word.
Parakletos – the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha’Kodesh) – Encourager, Counselor, and Helper. He is the Spirit of truth. Moses told the people not long before they entered into the Promised Land, The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul and live. Deuteronomy 30:6. Encouraging words to share. You and I are those descendants whom God thought about so many years ago! We are the descendants whose hearts have been circumcised in order that we may live fully in love and obedience with our Lord. And the fruit of God’s Spirit, in some respects His characteristics, live within us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (ref. Galatians 5:22-23).
Two incredibly powerful events that has in the past and continues into the future of transforming the world: The Torah (God’s Laws) and the Ruach ha’Kodesh (God’s Holy Spirit). Humanity had gone from just being able to read or hear God’s instructions to now having the Instructor living within each one of us – if we have accepted Jesus Christ, Yeshua ha’Mashiach, as our Lord and our Savior.
I am overwhelmed at the thought of God’s love for us in giving man His Word – something tangible for us to read, think on, listen to & ponder over. I am overwhelmed at the thought of God’s love for us in giving us His Spirit to live within us. So, how can we not be the encouragers the Lord desires us to be if the Encourager fills us each day? My prayer is that we each – with our unique talents, giftings and abilities – will be the encourager someone is needing today, tomorrow and into perpetuity. And, I believe, there will be times where we will need to grab hold of God’s courage in order to be His hands, feet & voice to another precious soul.
Let us give thanks to our Lord and celebrate the giving of His Word & His Spirit - June 5!