(This article is the beginning of a study series on Shavuot. Day 1 of 50.)
Today is First Fruits–day ONE of counting towards Shavuot.
Why is Shavuot (Pentecost) so closely connected to the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzah)?
Good question. I’m happy you asked.
Recap: Unleavened Bread is a 7-day Feast where we are commanded to eat only matzah, the Hebrew word used for bread baked quickly and without yeast that would otherwise make it rise. The object-lesson embedded in this week of crumbly crackers is to closely guard what influences our lives. We deliberately control what goes into our mouths, as we practice controlling what goes into our hearts. It’s like any fast or cleansing, except it is scheduled, specific, and for a world-wide community of obedient believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and yes, especially Yeshua (Jesus).
Continuing that same object lesson that leaven = “influence”, a main focus of the final day of Shavuot is two very large LEAVENED loaves of bread.
Lev 23:17 “You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as first-fruits to YHWH.”
Today, day #1, marks the beginning of both the barley harvest and of the entire growing season. The High Priest waves a sheaf of barley like a GO flag. As we count the next 50 days, and the embedded 7 weekly Sabbaths, there is supposed to a purposeful focus and expectation of spiritual growth. We should see an increase in FRUIT in our lives.
Day 1 is for the High-Priest to take action–he waives the sheaf. Hallelujah for Messiah, our High Priest.
Day 50 is for US to show results–we waive two enormous loaves. Hallelujah for the Holy Spirit–our helper and influencer.
I encourage everyone reading this to not just circle a date 49 days from today and then to simply go about their business. Especially with the fear, sickness, economic stress, confusion, darkness, lawlessness, and hopelessness thrust in our faces with every headline–there’s never been a better time to double, triple, or multiply our efforts by SEVEN, to put our faith into action and to expect GROWTH. Let the leaven of the Kingdom of Heaven permeate our lives and influence us to become more and more like Messiah with each and every counted day.
Psalm 90:12 “…So teach us to NUMBER our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Galatians 5:33 “…the FRUIT of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…against such there is no law.”
Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the YHWH; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his FRUIT in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.”