Whenever we celebrate His feasts or appointed times, the Lord releases a special blessing into our lives. I believe that one of the primary blessings that God desires for us to receive this season as we celebrate the Feast of Shavuot is a blessing that began with the Feast of Passover and continued all throughout the 50 days of counting the omer -- and that is 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 still allowing things into our hearts that bring death, such as: fear, stress, worthlessness, inferiority, rejection, shame, bitterness, stronghold lies about ourselves and God.
The freedom of Shavuot comes as a result of the special intimacy with God we experience and are reminded of during this feast. So what does Shavuot have to do with intimacy?
At the first Shavuot, God used the earthly illustration of marriage to communicate with the Israelites. I believe this was because He knows how difficult it is for us to truly grasp the depths and intensity of His love for us. We have never experienced anything like it on this earth. He chose to use marriage symbolism since marriage is the most intimate relationship that we 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 an inviolable 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 is likened to the special bridal chamber prepared for the bride, where the marriage was consummated following the ceremony, a sanctuary where the manifest presence of God dwelt with His people.
It’s absolutely amazing to me how the God of the Universe could care so deeply about communicating His love and His desire for intimacy with us that He would use an earthly illustration of marriage that is familiar to us all.
When we experience true intimacy in a 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.
Jeanne Nigro is a seasoned teacher, speaking at conferences, retreats, churches, congregations and professional organizations around the world, as well as through her television program “Facets of the Stone,” and daily “Unshaken” radio segments. Her messages are relevant, practical, and life-transforming whether she is bringing the Jewish roots of our faith to life, healing strongholds of the heart, or preparing believers for Yeshua’s return. She is passionate about leading her audiences to experience greater intimacy with God, mobilizing them out of fear, stress, frustration, and apathy and into action and purpose in these uncertain times, as powerfully communicated in her book “UNSHAKEN: Standing Strong in Uncertain Times. She and her family reside in Plano, TX. www.jeannenigro.com