This post is inspired by the viewer guide segment for Session Three of the Psalms of Ascent study.
The Feast of Weeks
The Session Three video dealt with the second of the Great Feasts: the Feast of Weeks. This feast occured seven weeks (49 days) from the Feast of Firstfruits, which was part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Weeks was another time set aside for Israel to remember their former bondage. That is fast becoming a recurring theme. 🙂 Deuteronomy 16:9-12 says:
You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. (Note: This would be the day of firstfruits.) Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you. You shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide (Note: Jerusalem). And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.
This feast was marked by great generosity – generous grace and generous giving. Before I get into how this Feast relates to Jesus, Beth said several things that I just had to write down regarding generous grace and generous giving.
- People who withhold grace from others have never received grace. I want to be a gracious person. I freely admit I have a tendency to be judgmental. I believe there is wrong and there is right. There is no gray area. But I do not want to be harsh in my dealings with others. I want to love people whether or not I agree with them. It is difficult to do when you have the overwhelming feeling that most people are stupid. 😉 And I mean, really, isn’t that feeling justified most of the time? But that is not the point. We, as human beings, are infinitely stupid when compared to God. But He is gracious to us anyway in spite of the fact that we don’t deserve for Him to be.
- Remember how God has graced you and extend a portion of that to others. I need to freely give the grace that has been given to me to others around me, regardless of whether or not they merit it, because I sure didn’t.
- Pride is the biggest disaster we will hvae in ministering to others. Boy, is that ever the truth. How many times have we not done or said something because of pride? How many times have we not swallowed our anger and bitterness in order to make peace because of pride? For me, it has been WAY too many times.
- We will become more and more self-centered unless we actively fight against it. If all I ever think about is MY needs and MY wants and MY desires, my life will revolve around serving ME.
- The remedy for self-absorption is to give something away. It isn’t hard for me to give things away. I really love giving gifts to others. My biggest problem with giving comes in the area of money. I think it comes from a childhood spent bordering on poverty. We never lacked for the basics, but money was always an issue and was the source of many family fights. We never had extra anything. I grew to believe that security in life came from financial security, and I wanted to always make sure I had enough money. While this brought positives, such as being economical and not wasteful, it also brought negatives, like being a tightwad. It took me years to even begin tithing, because I never thought we could afford it. When we finally started doing it faithfully six years ago, we have never lacked anything because of it. God actually graced us financially by increasing our income. Imagine that. “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windowns of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'” (Malachi 3:10)
- If you ever feel like you’ve “got to,” you haven’t been “led to.” This is where I need to be careful. I sometimes feel like I should be giving more because it is what I am supposed to do. That is not being generous, it is being legalistic. On the other hand, if I am moved to make an extra donation or give a gift, then I should respond to that motivation by doing it immediately, and not weighing the pros and cons and figuring out if we can make it to the next payday if I write that check. Figuring out the least amount you can give without putting yourself in a bind is not being generous.
- Our importance is not determined by how much stuff we have. I can honestly say that this is an area of victory in my life. I SO do not care if I don’t have all the stuff the neighbors have. I don’t care if I buy my clothes at Wal-Mart or the mall, because I buy what I like, not what someone tells me is in style. I don’t need a plasma TV, though my husband would argue with that. I don’t need a brand new car. I am happy with what I have, but I am also willing to put the extra effort into saving for something nice and upgrading when the time is right. I really, really, really want new appliances in my kitchen, but the ones I have work fine. So I will wait, and save my money, and buy when the time is right, then donate my old ones.
So, back to how the Feast of Weeks ties in with Jesus. Beth tells us that its commemoration on the 50th day earned it the Greek name of Pentecost in the New Testamant.
Pentecost? PENTECOST???!!! You mean when God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us? The Pentecost recorded in Acts 2:1-12? THAT Pentecost?
See, I had always thought that “Pentecost” was just a name Christians made up to refer to what happened in Acts. I had no idea it was an Old Testament festival celebrated by the Jews (and, therefore, Jesus) each year. But the Day of Pentecost is the first day of the Feast of Weeks.
Again, I was raised in church. How, in all those years, could someone have not mentioned how all these things fit together? Sure, I had always been told that all the law was fulfilled in Jesus, but only in the context that HE had kept it all and never sinned, not in the context that He was the fulfillment of everything the Jews did and celebrated. God using Beth Moore’s gifts to teach me about these things kinda blows that whole “women aren’t ordained to teach God’s Word” crowd out of the water, huh? But I digress.
Finally, to tie it back in with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits, Exodus 23:16 refers to the Feast of Weeks (or PENTECOST!!! Still can’t get over that one!) as the Feast of the HARVEST.
Acts 2:41 (still on Day of Pentecost) tells us:
Then those who gladly received his (Note: Peter’s) word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
Beth says, “The specific timing of this event on Pentecost offers little doubt that God intended a highly significant feast of harvest.” This was the birth of the early church!
The Holy Spirit was perfectly timed to come on Pentecost, the feast of harvest. Jesus also would have observed this feast with His disciples each year, just like Passover and Unleavened Bread. He knew this was coming, too!
Beth then ends by taking us back to Galations 6:9,10:
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Funny how this “sowing and reaping” stuff keeps popping up lately. I wonder if that could possibly mean anything? *sarcasm*
I’m getting it now, God. Your Word is the seed, and Your Word WORKS.
SEED is for sowing.
I am so glad class is tonight. I can’t wait to see how the Feast of Tabernacles relates to Jesus.