Today is the 49th day of counting the omer. When the sun sets it will be Shavuot. The 49 day period of counting the omer is really a microcosm of all of life. On one hand it is a time of anticipation of things to come. According to tradition, we are to count the omer with expectation; of looking forward. We are to look forward to Shavuot when we remember the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. On the other hand it is a time of sadness, of remembering many of the sad events in Jewish history. Isn’t that the way life is? For most people life is a mixed bag of good times and sad times. I don’t know anyone whose life is always just right. Everyone has some form of sadness – unmet expectations, disappointments, regrets or perhaps tragedy. But for people who believe in the Scriptures there is always hope –always looking forward. That is the meaning of Shavuot. The second paragraph of Aleinu contains a wonderful promise that comes from Isaiah 45:23 that can encourage us to keep going.
Therefore we put our hope in you O Lord our God, that we may soon see your mighty splendor, to remove detestable idolatry from the earth, and false gods will be utterly cut off to perfect the universe through the almighty sovereignty. Then all humanity will call upon your Name to turn all the earth’s wicked toward you. All the world will recognize and know that to you every knee should bend and every tongue swear loyalty…
In the New Covenant we read that
God highly exalted Yeshua, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Yeshua every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:2-10
When Moses received the Torah the process of redemption was beginning. Yeshua came to move that process forward and he will ultimately bring it to its conclusion. As a result of his work, the Ruach Ha’Kodesh has been poured out in the lives of those who trust in him. Shavuot is the anniversary of both events. Shavuot represents the assurance of the fulfillment of the promise of the World to Come contained in the Torah and experienced via the Ruach HaKodesh. .
Shavuot represents not only historical events – the giving of Torah and the pouring out of the Ruach Hakodesh. It represents the day that we long for; a day to which we look forward. There are many wonderful promises in the Bible that describe what life will be like in that day. Just like counting the omer, today we struggle but we anticipate a day of redemption.
As we are encouraged in the New Covenant
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
With this promise and assurance, how do we live our lives today? Certainly it should give us encouragement. But it should also play a role in our values – of what is important to us. On Shavuot we remember our covenant relationship. We remember the gifts of God and our responsibility to live holy lives. The hope of this world is not to be found in politics or the “kingdoms” of this world. Our hope is not to be found in what we call “progress.” The hope of this world is only found in turning to God and embracing Yeshua the Messiah and the Word of God.