Updated: Jun 19, 2022
This year, my heart settled in on the gravity of the Commandments. The earth-shaking, mountain burning, lightning striking, terrifying scene the Israelites encounter in the desert. Every Moadim is a crucial benchmark in our history; it’s part of our heritage worthy of revisiting and celebrating with reverence annually. I tend to think about the principles of each Feast until I can explain them to someone else in the most basic way possible. Why? Because often I find myself attempting to explain these appointed times to others and Shavuot (for me), this year was no different.
I explain the importance and necessity of Shavuot to others by drawing upon the similarities of any meaningful relationship that’s worthy of commitment. The Commandments are righteous, moral standards. The Commandments are also the terms of a relationship, much like the wedding vows we solemnly take before witnesses. YeHoVaH was communicating through Moshe and was to deliver the message, “If you’re willing to live with these same standards, then we can Covenant with each other, for all time.” As His creation, we also inherently want to know that the other party shares our same values; otherwise, there is no “happily ever after.” Without a fundamental mutual agreement, the relationship would become contentious and resentful, and who wants a relationship like that?
YeHoVaH established His non-negotiable standards for humanity when He met with His chosen messenger, at Mt. Sinai. These “laws of righteousness” were life-affirming, love-based, liberating, and a constant, eternal foundation to live by and build on. With the 10 Commandments as the terms of engagement, YeHoVah told Moshe to go and tell the people to sanctify themselves, bathe, wash their clothes, and prepare themselves to enter into Covenant with the Most High. I also focused on what He said to do as Shavuot drew near. I removed myself from social media and anything that pulled my energy away from sanctification during the three days before Shavuot.
His Law is not complicated. He said, "if you love me, guard my Commandments." (John 14:15). Also, Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Revere Elohim and guard His Commands, for this is to all mankind!" While the Commandments were being etched into stone tablets by the finger of YeHoVaH himself, the Israelites were busy making a god of their own choosing using their gold trinkets collectively to meltdown and fashion a golden calf! Still, they were behaving like the Egyptians; they knew no other way. They made the exodus out of Egypt, but it took 40 years wandering in the desert to get Egypt out of the people. The pagan practices of Egypt became their own.
In comparison, we, too, will go around the SAME mountain sometimes for years, walking in the very same footsteps, over and over, insisting we’re “in control, and got this” before we come to realize we’ve wasted so much time and squandered so much life because we refused live life according to Elohim's Laws. But, our testimonies arise from this time going around our mountain(s), such as compulsive bad habits, flawed thinking, selfishness, unforgiveness, or toxic relationships. I'm grateful for His Law and my own “desert” experience. In the adversity of the dry, barren places, we humble ourselves, turn and repent. The Commandments cause our footsteps to be sure, our outcomes to be positive without regret, and keeps us mentally and spiritually healthy. Shavuot reminds me to strive to be Holy as He is Holy. Ye’shua, our High Priest, intercedes on our behalf when we transgress the Law; however, His Commandments over time become so engrained in our mind and heart that we would never consider living any other way. I can’t fathom not having His Laws; to me, it’s the difference between pointless existence and living with divine purpose. When we chose His Law, we are choosing life over death.
On this Shavuot, I also came to have a better understanding and appreciation of Jeremiah 31:33. “For this is the Covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’el after those days, declares YHWH: I shall put my Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.” How beautiful is that?!? Keeping His Law willingly, with a happy heart, proves to Him by our actions that we are His people! The Law is now ours; we don’t have to wander in the wilderness of life anymore. His Commandments have become the eternal wedding band that bears witness that we are His now, always, and forever.