Whenever we celebrate His feasts or appointed times, the Lord releases a special blessing into our lives. The primary blessing that God desires for us to receive this season as we celebrate the Feast of Shavuot is one that began with the Feast of Passover and continued all throughout the 50 days of counting the omer — and that is the blessing of FREEDOM!
At Passover, we experience a whole new level of freedom in areas of our lives where we are still in bondage, or where we are allowing some form of death into our hearts, such as: fear, stress, worthlessness, inferiority, rejection, shame, bitterness, or stronghold lies about ourselves and God.
The freedom of Shavuot comes as a result of the special intimacy with God we are reminded of and experience during this feast. So what does Shavuot have to do with intimacy?
At the first Shavuot when God gave the Torah to Moses and the Israelites, God used the earthly illustration of marriage to communicate with the people. He knows how difficult it is for us to truly grasp the depths and intensity of His love for us since we have never experienced anything like it on this earth. Therefore, I believe He chose to use marriage symbolism because it is the most intimate relationship that we do know.
Three days before God revealed Himself to the Israelites at Mt Sinai, He asked Moses to tell the people of His intent. Using marriage symbolism, it’s almost as if God is the suitor, the Israelites are the object of His affection, and He is asking for their hand in marriage. In fact, while they were still in Egypt, He said, “I will take you for my people, and I will be your God.” (Ex 6:7) — in marriages in the Ancient Near East, the groom declared “You will be my wife and I will be your husband.”
The Ketubah, or marriage contract, is a covenant that describes the provisions, terms and conditions of the proposed marriage. God asks Israel to enter into a covenant relationship with Him in Ex. 19:5-7 – Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant (obey the commandments of the Torah), then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. …Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
He asked for Israel’s hand in marriage, and even before hearing His actual voice, she consented.
Three days later, in Ex. 19:16 – Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. V. 18 – Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. Ex. 20:19 – Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.’”
Mt. Sinai (hovering over the Israelites) is likened to the wedding chuppah or canopy under which the bride and groom stand for their betrothal ceremony.
The final event of the marriage covenant was the shared meal. Exodus 24:9-11 – Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Then, after seven days, the Lord called Moses up into the midst of the cloud on the mount for forty days and nights where He received the Torah. The very next words that the Lord spoke to Moses were to make for Him an offering in Ex. 25:8 – “Let them construct a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell among them.” A sanctuary, where the manifest presence of God dwelt with His people, is likened to the special bridal chamber prepared for the bride.
It’s absolutely amazing to me how the God of the Universe could desire intimacy with us so intensely that He would relate to us as in a marriage ceremony!
When we experience this depth of intimacy in our relationship with God:
-where His heart is ravished for us and there is absolutely nothing we can do that will cause Him to love us less or to stop His love from coming toward us in all circumstances;
-when we are so secure in His love – in knowing that He is carrying every single burden for us, that He is using every single thing in our lives for good –
then we are freed up to be able to focus solely on knowing Him. We are then free to truly be ourselves — free from fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear punishment. It is this freedom that God desires for you to experience as you grow in intimacy with Him this Shavuot season.