I hope you enjoyed and were encouraged by yesterday’s blog about how much God desires to have intimacy with you! Today, on this second day of Shavuot, I am reminded: 1) to be thankful, 2) that God provides, and 3) that we have hope for the future and hope for healing!
The Feast of Shavuot is also known as the Feast of (latter) First Fruits. The Feast of (earlier) First Fruits – of the barley harvest – is celebrated the day after the Sabbath following Passover (Lev 23:10-11), and was fulfilled with Yeshua’s resurrection. But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15:20).
Shavuot is a celebration of the First Fruits of the wheat harvest. The word Shavuot means “weeks” in Hebrew, and it refers to the 7 week period of counting commanded in Leviticus 23:15…And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath (of Passover), from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering (barley harvest): seven Sabbaths shall be completed. It is the 50th day after Passover, also known in the Greek as Pentecost (meaning 50). Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD (Lev. 23:16).
The Israelites were commanded to bring their wheat to the Temple where the priests prepared the two loaves of bread (made with leaven) that were waved before the Lord in accordance with Lev. 23:17 – You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD…..Lev. 23:20 – The priest shall wave them (the animal sacrifices) with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
In Temple times, Shavuot was a time of joyous celebration, thanking and praising God for the first fruits of the harvest. Millions would come to Jerusalem from all over Israel carrying baskets on their heads full of the first fruits of their wheat, figs, grapes, dates, pomegranates, olives, and barley crops. They would wave their baskets before the Lord and lay prostrate before Him in gratitude for the abundance of His provision, recognizing that all provision ultimately comes from Him. The first fruits were a guarantee or a pledge that the rest of the harvest was sure to come in the Fall at Sukkot.
1) GIVE THANKS AND PRAISE
When we have a continual attitude of thanksgiving and praise, as demonstrated so powerfully at Temple celebrations during Shavuot: first, we are in God’s Will — Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Messiah Yeshua for you (1 Thes 5:18), Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name (Ps. 100:4); and second, we are using a spiritual weapon of warfare that does battle in the heavenly places and actually changes the spiritual atmosphere around us. “But You are holy, O You who inhabit the praises of Israel!” (Ps. 22:3)
You will be amazed at how things will change in your life when you choose to thank and praise God, for who He is, regardless of your circumstances. He is always worthy of praise!! Thank Him in advance, call the things that are not yet in accordance with His Will as though they were (Rom. 4:17), praise Him continually – out loud – and you will be wielding a sword in the spiritual realm that will literally change your circumstances, as well as bring healing and peace to your heart!
2) GOD PROVIDES
Everything good and perfect is from God (James 1:17) and all that has been provided in our lives — our income, family, health, material blessings, spiritual blessings, etc. –ultimately comes from Him! Deuteronomy 8:17-18 warns us: You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
We are sons and daughters of the King of the Universe. Can you imagine an earthly King who would not provide for His sons and daughters? Rather, when I think of an earthly King, I think He would delight in providing for his children. They would have privileges, rights, authority, inheritances that no one else would have. This might be a silly example, but it came to my mind so I’ll share it! Do you think Paris Hilton ever worries about getting a good room or any room for that matter when she goes to a Hilton Hotel? Why not? Because she inherited the authority and privileges of her family name!
It is the same with us, except our family name is King of King and Lord of Lords, the one who holds all things together!!! In Him, we are covered, there is nothing that we lack. All throughout my day, I thank God out loud saying, “Thank you that I’m a daughter of the King, I have everything I need!” Matt 7:11 – “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matt 6:30 – “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?
When we are not trusting that God will provide, we are living in fear. We must always remember that Fear (justified or not) is not from God! He has not given us a Spirit of Fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind! (2 Tim 1:7) Fear is from the enemy, and when we choose to take it into our hearts, we give the enemy a handle in our lives. Remember Yeshua’s sacrifice on Passover and resurrection on First Fruits! He has defeated Satan (1 John 3:8; Col. 1:13; Col. 2:15; Matt. 28:18), and we no longer have to take anything into our hearts that is not from God!!!
Satan has no legal authority in our lives – unless we give it to him! We give the enemy authority in our lives when we hold onto fear! I believe it’s one of his favorite tools in our lives! We need to be ready and alert to recognize when we’ve allowed fear into our hearts, and use our weapons of warfare: confess it as sin, forgive, cancel Satan’s authority that we’ve given him with the fear, and ask God to heal our hearts. He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You (Is. 26:3); You are worried and upset about many things, but only ONE thing is needed (Luke 10:41-42); Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).
3) WE HAVE HOPE!
As I mentioned earlier, the first fruits of Shavuot were a guarantee or a pledge that the rest of the harvest was sure to come in the Fall at Sukkot. God’s gift of the Holy Spirit on Shavuot (which I discussed in yesterday’s blog) was a guarantee or a pledge that the rest of God’s promises would come to pass. Remember Joshua 21:45? Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass (Joshua 21:45); God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19); in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began (Titus 1:2).
The gift of God’s Spirit was a gift to Yeshua’s bride – the body of Messiah – sustaining her during their separation until the wedding day. “Let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in bright, pure, fine linen; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” (Rev. 19:7-9)
Knowing that you have that pledge, that guarantee that He will keep all of His promises, and that your wedding feast with Him WILL come, gives you HOPE for the future, and HOPE for healing!! Now when you don’t experience that hope in your heart, but instead you experience fear, dread, hopelessness or despair, oftentimes it’s because of misperceptions of God that you are believing deep in your heart, and because you’re putting others’ faces on Him.
You might believe that God’s abandoned you, that He’s mad at you, that He’s punishing you, that you don’t deserve good things from Him, that He wants you to be miserable, that you’re unprotected, etc. The next time you have difficulty finding hope for the future, or hope for healing, or difficulty believing that God will provide, or even difficulty being thankful for God’s provision in your life — be honest with the Lord.
Ask Him to show you what you are believing about Him that is not true — not in your head — but deep down in your heart! Ask Him what lies you are believing that are based upon earthly experience with authority figures in your life. Ask Him to show you whose face you might be putting on Him. Use your weapons of warfare for healing. Confess it as sin that you have believed a lie about God in your heart, forgive others — perhaps those who directly or indirectly communicated that lie to you, cancel satan’s authority – command those accusing spirits to go and come out of agreement with them, and ask God to heal your heart and show you His truth. You have His promises, His power, His authority, His position, His inheritance! Therefore, you have hope for the future and hope for healing!
This Shavuot, practice continually thanking and praising God for who He is, for all that He has provided, for all that He will continue to provide; that you have His Spirit — the guarantee that He will keep all of His promises (Eph 1:13-14); and that in Him, you have His power (Rom 8:11), His authority (Matt 28:18; Col. 2:9-10), His position (Eph 2:6; Col. 3:1), His inheritance (Rom 8:17; Gal 4:7)! All that He has is yours (Luke 15:31)! Now that’s reason to celebrate, and that’s reason to have HOPE!!
Chag Shavuot Sameach!
Eph 1:13 -14 – In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Rom 8:11 – But if the Spirit of Him who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Matt 28:18 – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Yeshua).
Col 2:9-10 – For in Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form,and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Eph. 2:6 – ..and raised us up with Him, and made us to sit with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua.
Col. 3:1 – If then you were raised together with Messiah, seek the things that are above, where Messiah is, seated on the right hand of God.
Rom. 8:17 – Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Messiah, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Gal. 4:7 – Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Luke 15:31 – “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.’