Musings on Pentecost Sunday (Shavu’ot)

Sunday May 23rd, 2010 is the day of the Anniversary of Pentecost. It is also the day of the Biblical Festival know as Shavu’ot which means Festival of Weeks. It is also known as Hag ha-Bikkurim: Festival of First Fruits and Hag Matan Torateinu: the Festival of the Giving of Torah. So this day is a day that God has chosen as a day of significance and He gave two significant gifts on this day. This day paints a picture of God’s initiation and our response. God’s initiation involved two things.

The first gift from God was of the Torah, the Law, which provided the way and directions to be free from idolatry and immorality and pointed the way to Jesus. It is a day where focus in on what God has established and the importance of surrendering to Him, to walk in His way. One of the practices on this day in Jewish households is the reading of the book of Ruth, which really emphasizes the total surrender to God, of following His way not our way. It also points to the redeeming work of God, through Jesus the Messiah, to establish the way for all that may follow. Now here is an important fact. The Torah serves to lead us to the need of repentance; a written standard exposed the sinfulness and deceitfulness of the heart. The Torah exposes the need for repentance and surrender pointing to the eternal answer. The Torah serves as the lamp showing the way, the way being Jesus.

The other gift from God given on this day, was the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. He is the means by which God’s ways and laws our written on our hearts. The Holy Spirit empowers and brings us to repentance and surrender. On this day, the Holy Spirit came to all who believed. No longer was the Holy Spirit limited to a select few God chose to anoint. Rather, the Holy Spirit indwells all who surrender to God and enter into His Kingdom found through Jesus and what He did at the cross. Being made clean and whole enable the Holy Spirit to reside within, guiding us day by day moment by moment. The being indwelt with the Holy Spirit enables worship in spirit and truth, for without that ongoing presence we all falter.

Ultimately through God’s gifts, He simply gave fully of Himself to give us what we need, to set us free. God’s gifts need a response, an act of worship. Worship exhibited by bringing the first of everything produced during the early Harvest. It is the starting point of all that comes ahead, but it is when the initial rewards are returned back to God as an act of submission. It is a representation of giving fully of self, of surrendering to God fully. God’s precious gifts should bring about a response of total surrender and as we surrender, we receive more from God. When we surrender to the Holy Spirit he is able to move in sanctifying, empowering, and healing. The surrender results in more fruit and a greater Harvest. A genuine response to God of giving back results in God being free to do more. Any such response is one based not on compulsion but on true joy over what God has already given.

What God has given us is precious; freedom from idolatry, darkness, immorality, and selfishness. He has given us Salvation. He has given us life. He has given us His words to direct and the Holy Spirit to lead and empower. It is a wondrous day. How then do you respond to day and the days to come? Do you surrender fully? Do you find ways to respond in love? Do you seek to please God or satisfy self? Check yourself and see what is your response, and if it falters, then wake up and recognize what God has given and done. Reflect on where you were and how He has changed you. Give of yourself as He requests with all you are from the first to the last and ever moment in-between.

4 Responses

  1. This latest post just locked neatly into everything that happened in the last 3 days. Thank you for the hope of encouragement, badly needed in this morning of great uncertainty. On Saturday afternoon, as I prayed in Tongues in the presence of a man I barely knew, without him resisting the strangeness of such things, I heard myself say something that sounded like “Shabbot”, or as I might pronounce it, “Sabbath”. I was so surprised, I said out loud, “Of course, today is the Sabbath! Craig and Jason would both say Saturday is the Sabbath. I have a bad habit of not keeping track of these things, and had no idea that yesterday was Pentecost. For me, this has been unfolding over 3 days; I blessed my brother freely, flatly refusing to stoop to self interest, I blessed someone in The Holy Spirit for the first and only time on Saturday. This morning, in prayer, I had an answer for how he can build himself a future. When I called him and told him to look for a job as a framer in a high-end art gallery, because he would be perfectly suited for such a position, and it would perfectly suit his needs, he said “Wow!”. Furthermore, he is in the perfect town to do exactly that and we both know it.

  2. Cool to read Meg. Sadly the church at large basically ignores any reference to Pentecost. Perhaps Lutherns, Catholics, and Charasmatic churchs draw attention to the day. Lutherns and Catholics because they follow a liturgical cycle. Charasmatics because they emphasize the Holy Spirit. We all should be attending to the day. It is not any surprise though, for there is much not attending to the Holy Spirit.

  3. Great word Tim.

    Sadly even among the charamastic many didn’t know it was penticost. In my own little survey at our church only 2 of 8 knew it was penticost before it was preached on during the service. Very sad. No wonder the American church is in decline, the day we recall the begining of the Holy Spirit revolution is hardly even taken note of.

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