"When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us godswho will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” — Exodus 32:1
Beginning at sundown on May 19 through sundown May 21, Jews around the world will celebrate the biblically mandated festival, Shavuot, also known better by Christians from the Greek, Pentecost.Originally tied to the harvest and the bringing of the firstfruits to the Temple, the holiday now commemorates the giving of the Law exactly 50 days after the Exodus. This devotion is one of 12 exploring the many lessons this ancient observance has for Christians today.
The Festival of Weeks – Shavuot or Pentecost – celebrates the giving of the Torah, God’s Word, to humanity. But it didn’t go so smoothly.
Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive the Tablets with a promise to return 40 days later. The children of Israel miscalculated, and when Moses didn’t show up when they expected, they assumed that he had died. Although they had witnessed the hand of God just seven weeks earlier during their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites turned to idolatry and created the infamous Golden Calf. Jewish sages liken this to a woman who goes straight from her wedding into the arms of another man!
When Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets in his hands and saw the horrible thing that the children of Israel had done, he threw the tablets down and smashed them. The relationship between God and Israel was tainted, 3,000 men were executed, and the opportunity to receive the greatest gift from God was nearly lost altogether. It took many months and prayers until the children of Israel were forgiven.
All this because the Israelites thought that Moses was late! He wasn’t a week late or even a day late. He was only six hours late. But that was enough for the Israelites to give up and walk away from something that, only moments earlier, they believed in so deeply! Had they waited a few more hours and had a bit more faith, the entire catastrophe could have been averted.
One of life’s greatest challenges is having to wait. And I’m not just talking about the hours spent in the doctor’s waiting room or dining alone while waiting at a table for two. Those situations can be infuriating. But even more difficult is waiting for the greater things in life. Waiting to find your soul-mate. Waiting for children. Waiting for a good job. Waiting for things to get better.
When things don’t happen when we want them to, it can be more than frustrating; it can be downright painful! The challenge is to keep our faith even when we feel abandoned, forgotten, and alone.
There are two kinds of time in life. There is My Time and Divine Time. My Time is when I think things should happen. Divine Time is the right time for things to happen. Living on My Time leads to pain and frustration. Set your watch to Divine Time and relax. There is no time like the right time – and only the Master of the World knows exactly when that should be.
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