I didn’t know it was a holiday when I woke up this morning, but by 8 am The Feast of Weeks manifested not once, but twice to me. I shuffled my sleepy self down to my prayer couch around 5:30 am and began today’s reading in Leviticus. For those of you reading The Bible in 90 Days, you know today is Day 9 of the reading. From infectious diseases to forbidden liaisons I have to admit it was pretty heady pre-dawn, pre-coffee reading. Honestly I was a tad relieved when Littlest woke up and trotted downstairs just as I was finishing up the instructions God gave Moses regarding The Feast of Weeks.
On went the morning activities flipping pancakes, packing day camp bags, smearing sunscreen and chugging coffee to keep up with it all. When my dear friend in Washington, DC called I thought twice about answering the phone, but it’s been a couple days since our near daily talks so I thought I’d squeeze a quick chat in between all the morning madness.
My friend opened the conversation by sharing the madness at her house included a play date with twin five year old boys since school was off for the Jewish holiday. “What Jewish holiday?” I asked wondering how I missed it. “Shavuot,” she said and offered the phone to her nearly five year old son to explain the holiday to me.
Shavuot. The Feast of Weeks. It’s today. The same feast I read about this morning in Leviticus chapter 23 is being celebrated by Jews all over the world. Today. On Day 9 of reading The Bible in 90 Days.
As the wonderment of God’s timing continued to sink in, I ran Littlest to her pre-school camp just up the road. Driving home we saw a family walking to the nearby temple to celebrate Shavuot. You know, that Festival of Feasts I was reading about two hours earlier still half asleep on my prayer couch.
I quickly learned, thanks to a five year old and google, that Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, is the second of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance. Agriculturally, it commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim, or The Festival of First Fruits. The Feast of First Fruits is also described in Leviticus 23. Historically, Shavuot celebrates God’s gift of His Word, the Torah, to His people. This, of course, was the Bible reading a few days ago, in Exodus, when Moses was on Mount Sinai and the Lord helped him write out the law for his chosen people.
The word Shavuot means ‘weeks’ and marks the completion of the seven-week counting period after Passover. Every year on the holiday, Jews renew their acceptance of God’s gift, the Torah. The Torah, as you may know, is the Jewish book of teachings of the law, or the Five Books of Moses. Christians refer to these books as the Pentateuch which means “five books” and include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
And that’s how God works, friends. He takes His Word and reveals it to us in ways that are sometimes subtle and sometimes truly unbelievable. Last night before I went to bed I was reading The Leader’s Guide in preparation for our Bible in 90 Days Wednesday Night meeting. I wasn’t thrilled with the story the guide suggested reading at the opening of the meeting and fell asleep praying for something more inspiring. This morning I began my reading time in prayer and asked God for a story that would glorify Him. Truthfully, I don’t remember the specifics of the prayer, but it was earnest. And oh how it was answered!
I’ve said before that I am in awe and anticipation of how God will work in the lives of those immersed in His Word. But I never anticipated that I would receive such a glorious gift this seemingly normal Wednesday morning. I am in awe that the same gift God gave his people through Moses on Mount Sinai over 3000 years ago was handed straight to me today.
Today. Shavuot. The Feast of Weeks.
Let us all celebrate and praise God for the gift of His Word today.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.