As you have probably guessed by now, I’m not Debbie, but since she’s on a sabbatical, I will host Inside Israel where we will hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Shabat…fifty days…you shall offer a new grain offering to The Lord. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves…of fine flour…baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to The Lord.” Levit 23:15-17
“And it shall be, when you come into the land which The Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it,…and say to Him ‘I declare today to The Lord my God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us…’” Deut 26:1-3
“And when the day of Pentecost (SHAVOUT) had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting…and there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven…we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” Acts 2:1-12
May THE LORD alone be glorified and blessed, and may you, His precious blood purchased ones, be blessed and encouraged as we each struggle along the path.
When we made aliyah (it will be 19 years this coming July), I sat on the plane crying out to God with one prayer and one only, but one that continued for the entire long long flight: “SANCTIFY MY EMOTIONS! THEY ARE TOO BIG FOR ME!” This past week I spoke to Him about it: ‘You did not answer that prayer…my emotions are still too big for me.’
He impressed my heart with an answer that I did not expect. ‘I did answer your prayer. I DID sanctify them. But I did NOT change who I made you to be…like it or not.
I took a step back. My emotions are ‘sanctified’? What does this MEAN?
His economy is different then mine.
In like manner I approach this high holy day…one of the (only) three high feasts, when all of the men of Israel were COMMANDED to come up to Jerusalem and present themselves and their offerings before The Lord in Thanksgiving. (the other two being Passover-unleavened bread – resurrection- and Sukkot – feast of tabernacles)
The longer that I stand here in Jerusalem, the more He and His ways, His economy of things, become BOTH a deeper mystery AND an open book to me…now that can’t make any sense! But it is as if He FILLS us with Light and understanding only to show us how much MORE there is that we can’t see then end of and we must cry out ‘Lord! Expand the pegs of the tent! Enlarge my capacity for You!’
These major holidays seem to amplify that to me.
Shavuot (‘weeks’) is also Pentecost: the day when The Holy Spirit was poured out for the first time in Jerusalem as the “devout men from every nation under heaven’ (Acts 2) were gathered along with the rest of the ‘devout’ men of Israel in Jerusalem to bring their tithes and offerings and to rejoice before The Lord, AND to repent and remember all that The Lord had done. Although I was blessed to be filled with The Holy Spirit soon after I was saved, the ‘holiday’ of Pentecost never seemed to deeply move me, although I TRIED.
Likewise, during all of my growing up years, we did not celebrate Shavuot. It was only after making aliyah that I really saw the celebration…and quite a celebration it is; and beyond that, GREAT joy arises in my heart as it approaches. Part of the reason for that I see in the verse above from Deut that says… “…and when you come into the land…” It has seemed to me that a veil has come off as we ‘came into the land’. Why? Don’t know. Obedience? Perhaps. Fulfillment of His plans? Maybe. Don’t know. All that I can say, and bare witness to is: OH! What a glorious day of rejoicing His Presence in His Spirit, for those who know Him, and for rejoicing in His acts, for those who don’t yet know Him.
How is it celebrated here in Jerusalem? Well…this is the ‘cheesecake and milk’ holiday. Why? Don’t ask me…OR most of the rabbis for that matter…no one seems to know! Now the interesting part of this is that the fullest account that we have about how to celebrate this holiday is given in Deut 26 and Levit 16 and 23 where we are told to bake two fresh loaves to present at the temple (along with sheep etc and our tithes of the first fruits) and the loaves are to be ‘waved before The Lord’ as an offering of Thanksgiving. (Exod 23, Levit 16 and 23, Numbers 28, 29 , Deut 16 and 26 all contain information about Shavuot)
So…where does the ‘milk’ come from and why does everyone stuff themselves with cheesecake and blintzes? Well…funny that you should ask…and if you want a good laugh, go online and google ‘Why do Jews eat dairy on Shavuot?’ The answers are very funny and speak for themselves. But I would like to turn it into a prayer: May my brethren after the flesh…and indeed…all of us…me too…thirst after the pure milk of the Word in a way that it may not be quenched by anything else…but the living Bread of Life.
(Continued in Part 2)