Reflection on Shavuot

During the past couple of weeks, I have spent time reflecting on some of the special events that we remember during the feast of Shavuot. In Judaism, the primary event that we remember during Shavuot is “Matan Torah”, which is the giving of the Torah by God to the Children of Israel (through Moses) on Mt. Sinai. We followers of the Messiah also celebrate “Matan Ruach HaKodesh”, the giving of the Holy Spirit to dwell in our lives after receiving Yeshua, who is the Father’s first fruit and the first-born of all creation. (Exodus 34:22; 1 Cor.15:20; Col 1:15)

Both of these are acts of giving by God for us, His followers; however, as I reflect upon what was given to us, I have to ask myself, “For what purpose were they given?” I personally believe that both were given to us not only to know God’s will for our lives, but also to live it. The Torah (God’s teaching) has a two-fold purpose. One is that we will know what sin is, and therefore also know that we are in need for a Savior to redeem us from those sins (Galatians 3:24). The other purpose is for God to let us know very clearly, that which is pleasing to Him, and that which is not.

We find something amazing when we look at how both events intersect as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah:

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My Torah within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. ” Jeremiah 31:31-3 (Emphasis mine)

According to Jeremiah 31, (which can only be fulfilled after one puts his or her trust in Yeshua, the Promised Messiah) God will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah, and in that covenant God will put His Torah (instruction, teaching) on our hearts. Once this happens, it is the Holy Spirit who guides us! So we see that the New Covenant, which is Yeshua Himself, is actually the “implanting” of the LORD’s teachings on the believer’s heart by the Holy Spirit. This is why Yeshua said that He did not come to abolish the Torah, but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17) He is the embodiment of the Torah and the Holy Spirit enables us to walk in its ways under the “Torah of Liberty”. (James 1:25)

Sadly many focus only on that which was given to us; they fail to see the reason it was given and what it means to them. Again, the Torah was given to us so that we would know His will for our lives, to know what is holy and what is not, and also to know what is pleasing to Him. The Holy Spirit (including His wisdom, gifts, and fruit) was not given so that we may glorify ourselves, but rather that through us, God would bring glory to Himself.

Let each one of us truly search our hearts this Shavuot holiday, and examine how we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us for His glory. Are you grateful that He gave us His Torah and His Spirit to walk us through this life?

This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel, June 8, 2016, and is reposted with permission.