This week's reading, having come on Shavuot, is in Exodus 19-20 and Ezekiel 1, and can also include Acts 1-2, regarding the descending of the Spirit on Shavuot.
In time, instruction is given concerning this day. It is 50 days after the barley first fruits (which was the first day of the week following the Passover week's sabbath), where a new grain was ready to be harvested, which was the wheat harvest. We are able to make connections with this in addition to the literal (keeping in mind the 4 levels of reading Scripture) by acknowledging that Messiah is the first fruits, and thereafter Him is the harvest of His followers. This was that day the believers gathered in Acts 1-2 for the Shavuot feast and the Spirit descended for the harvest. It makes sense. Dots connect.
What adds to the interest and full picture is studying it prior to the instructions of harvest in the land. Exodus 19 begins by telling us that it is the third month. Israel left Egypt in the first month, which is the same month of the Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the barley first fruits. Fifty days later to Shavuot would equal the third month here in Exodus 19-20 when God gave the Words we know as the Ten Commandments. The Spirit descended 50 days after Messiah's rising in Acts 2, and here the Law descended 50 days after what would have been the barley first fruits if they were in the land. What unison God is declaring here, that His Spirit and His Law are one! There is no such thing as the letter of the Law versus the Spirit of it.
The first thing I want to talk about, regarding the Lord descending and harvesting, is protocol. Yes, there are protocols.
When I was a little girl I had an issue with plugging things into electrical wall outlets. I had not known myself to have ever been electrocuted, so I don't know what established that fear. For years I was really weird about this, even putting off certain chores until another could come plug something in for me. For example, my washer stopped going in the middle of it being filled with water and had to be reconnected. A vacuum would come unplugged and after pushing the on/off button so many times, I would not know if it would be on or off once I replugged it, giving a moment of spark. Then there was the one time my breaker box was making a snap, crackle, and pop noise, and I exited my house. These things brought out a real awareness of the capabilities of electricity to my mind. Though they were not entirely founded, I did appreciate and understand when Mark Biltz said (in comparing protocols of handling electricity) that there are protocols when dealing with a Holy God.
To take caution when handling electricity (by proper grounding, keeping water away, covering wires, etc.) is not to say that we are forbidden from using electricity. It is to say we understand its capabilities and are choosing wisdom. In this simple example, we need to understand God is very capable of utterly frying us (way more than any form and strength of electricity, I might add). There are certain protocols when approaching His Majesty. Remember that when Israel said they would like to no longer approach God directly, that He said this was wisdom in their cases. It isn't that He wasn't accessible to them (Moses did comment on how no other nation has a god so close to them as theirs is to them), but these are babes...and just as how my own baby enjoys the results of electricity as I do (she sits in lighted rooms, has warm food, charged items), she also doesn't go handling the plugs and sockets that bring about those things.
Verse 10 in chapter 19 starts off with the instruction to tell Israel to make themselves ready. There is a readiness for visitation by Him. This is just beautiful to me, because if you grasp what is going on, on Shavuot (which would later bring a fuller understanding with Acts 1-2), you see that God just got through delivering these people for Himself to be their Husband and then gives them these sets of Words. This is a ketubah, a marriage covenant. The second thing I want to discuss about the Lord descending and harvesting is the marriage that comes from it.
I have heard from some people, and even once myself said this same thing... that the Messianic movement is all Law but no love. If the Messianic movement knows Messiah while guarding the Law, how can we say it is loveless? I found that I had to change my definition of love, because the Law is God's definition of love expressed.
When I think of this being a ketubah given, to which God says to make yourself ready beforehand, it reminds me not only of protocol in approaching a holy God, but it reminds me of a bride who makes herself ready for her wedding ceremony. She will do what she can to make herself clean. I mirror this back to 19:10 where the instruction comes to wash. This brings me to Yeshua's parables of the virgins not being ready and the initial invitees to the wedding party not coming. It really does make one think about what it means to prepare oneself for the wedding feast of the Lamb.
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