"Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you." — Deuteronomy 16:9–10
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.
Isn’t it strange that the Bible gives us the date of every single holiday on the calendar except for one? And it’s the holiday that celebrates one of the most important events in human history! The Festival of Weeks, Shavuot or Pentecost in the Greek, is associated with the giving of the Torah and the revelation of God at Mount Sinai, and yet neither the date of revelation, nor the precise date of the holiday is written in the Scriptures.
All we are told is that the festival occurs seven weeks from the time that we “put the sickle to the standing grain.”In addition, no one knows for sure where this momentous event occurred. Different theories abound, but God has made it so that no one can point to the precise location of Mount Sinai with complete certainty. All we know is that this great event happened somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, sometime in spring.
Why all the vagueness?
What we don’t know tells us a lot. The details that are absent from the story of the revelation point to a profound truth about the Torah: it is absolutely and unequivocally eternal. There is no date given because the Word of God is beyond time. It was, is, and always will be true. There is no time period, no season, and not even a single day during which the words of the Bible are not binding.
The location of the revelation is unknown because God’s Word is also beyond space. It is not confined to any single location. It holds true in every corner of the earth and is accessible no matter where you may be on the planet. By deliberately leaving us without the exact knowledge of where and when revelation took place, God is telling us that exactly where and when are irrelevant.
We can also learn from the only piece of information that we are given. What we do know is that the Torah was given in the desert. Had the Torah been given in a lush, bountiful land, we could have argued that keeping it was dependent upon easy circumstances. The Torah was given in a desert, a place known for harsh conditions and scarcity, in order to teach us that there are no conditions under which God’s Word does not apply.
No matter where you are or what your circumstances may be, God has a message for you right now. Pick up the Scriptures and study them daily. You will find that in some small way, the great revelation of long ago is still occurring today.
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