Month 2:04, Week 1:3 (Shleshi/Bikkurim), Year:Day 5936:033 AM|
Jericho IV (Revee/Shavu'ot)
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 24 April 2012
The Fourth Day of Jericho
The Great Shavu'ot Hinge of Life
Continued from Part 10
How well do you do in terms of how you react when others taunt or mock you? One of the biggest challenges to the men marching around Jericho in divine tavnith must have been the insults thrown at them by the city defenders. These were toughened men, the second generation of Israelites, who knew what deprivation was and who were doubtless spoiling for a fight. That masculine urge to be proactive is difficult to control when Yahweh commands an essentially passive response for the first six of the seven days. They weren't even allowed to open their mouths to answer back! Not only that, it was the cohenim (priests) who alone were allowed to use their pent-up enegy by blowing horns!
The fourth day of the Jericho Siege corresponds to Shavu'ot or the Feast of Weeks, better known in Christendom as Pentecost because it was during that festival that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) was poured out on the first believers in Jerusalem. What you have to understand about this day, and about the inner processes at work in the sevenfold emunah (faith)-journey of the soul is that a rather remarkable attitude is required of Yahweh's talmidim (disciples) in order to properly move in Elohim's (God's) will and therefore in the Ruach (Spirit).
Shavu'ot commemorates the giving of Torah on Mt.Sinai. It is the believer's Betrothal Covenant or Ketubah - the permanent committment by the talmid (disciple) to Yahweh in the same way husband and wife do when they get married according to divine tavnith (pattern). In the biblical system, marriage is divided up into three stages: dedication (a bit like modern 'engagement'), betrothal (marriage covenants without physical union) and full marriage (the consummation of the covenant which takes place after the husband has prepared a home for his bride). The festivals of Yahweh represent not only the tavnith (pattern) of true marriage but also the whole Plan of Salvation. The Jericho Siege then becomes a miniature representation or spiritual reflection/fractal of these things, along with the seven day-long festivals of Chag haMatzah (Unleavaned Bread) and Sukkot. And the three stages of marriage - dedication, betrothal and full marriage - are represented by Pesach, Shavu'ot and Sukkot, respectively.
The fourth day and its corresponding feast is pivotal. The majority of believers doubt and rebell at this stage and often fall away. Specifically, Yahweh demands two things at Shavu'ot:
Quite obviously your emunah (faith) has to have reached a certain level of maturity before you are able to make such a binding committment. But this is nonetheless what Yahweh expects when you come of spiritual age (see Bar Mitzvah). It's at this point that a man's discipleship is either made or broken. It was at this spiritual stage that many of Yah'shua's (Jesus') followers turned away from following Him when He told them that if they were to remain with Him they would have to eat His flesh and drink His blood (Jn.6:41ff.). The person who has not matured enough and does not yet understand the ways of Elohim (God) will either view this (with horror) as an invitation to cannibalism and flee, or, even if he does understand this intellectually but not spiritually (because he's not been born again at Yom haBikkurim) and doesn't really know what Yah'shua (Jesus) means - a demand for greater committment and intimacy - his unsubmitted flesh revolts at the challenge to surrender the rest of his soul to Messiah, and so he flees as well.
- 1. An eternally binding covenant of obedience to the mitzvot (commandments) of Torah - like betrothal, you can't change your mind...this is not dedication or 'trying it out for size' . it's permanent; and
- 2. He expects you to covenant to accept and obey whatever He commands you before you even know what it is He is going to ask of you.
Most Christian/Messianic marriages that fail do so at this Shavu'ot junction because of the level of submission demanded by Yahweh of the husband, or by the husband of the wife. Shavu'ot corresponds to the Hebrew letter mem which in the old 28-letter Hebrew alphabet was exactly mid-way between alef (alpha in Greek) and taw (omega in Greek). This was a summer festival originally (and still is) and it is interesting that through the loss of the Creation calendar the Jews - and now most Messianics - celebrate Shavu'ot too early at the end of spring. In other words, they're celebrating the wrong Shavu'ot. Symbolically, this would be the same as harvesting the wheat a month too early which translates spiritually to attempting something the soul is not nearly mature enough for yet or getting betrothed too early...making committments for which one is not adequately prepared. When people rush into covenants, naturally things go wrong, and what started out promisingly can spectacularly fail, causing much grief to the parties concerned. People can be pressed too early into making their own committment to Messiah (by being baptised or joining a congregation) and eventually fall away, losing the initial emunah (faith) that they had. There is a reason that Yahweh has timed and spaced the festivals the way He has and it is precisely to avoid the mistake of doing something right in the wrong season. An extreme example would be child-brides, shotgun marriages or conversion by the sword.
I can't emphasise the importance of this enough. We have all made this mistake because of over-zealousness untempered by patience and unrestrained wisdom because of the sin or rebelling against legitimate, Yahweh-esablished toqef (authority). The so-called 'free spirit' wants to rush ahead, not understanding the temperance and maturing that comes with the discipline learned and incorporated into our character from voluntary submission. At the same time this is not a licenese to procrastinate either - Yahweh's timing is always perfect which is why we must wait for His Davar (Word) and then, once it has been given and received, act promptly.
I can imagine that by the fourth day the Israelites were itching to get into battle. The first three days were manageable but the following three can be tough. As I said, the enemy was taunting them, no doubt trying to press their buttons by, for example, questioning their manhood, a touchy thing for men.
Note carefully, that no women were involved in this march. They maintained the Camp which was just as important as the March itself because it was to the Camp that the men returned to spend most of their time rpeparing for the next day's marching.
This same principle of different but equally important gender rôles we learn from the incident at Ziklag which we discussed briefly yesterday. If I can refresh your memory, while David and his men were out on a raid, the Amalekites attacked their base at Ziklag and seized all their wives and children. This calamity was reversed and everyone returned safely when they strictly obeyed Yahweh's Davar (Word) to them. What I didn't mention yesterday was that David instructed half his men to remain at home in the camp at Ziklag while the other half went on the raid. When David's raiders returned triumphantly back to Ziklag with their families, David insisted that the spoils of the raid against the Amalekites be shared equally amongst the Israelite raiders and with those who had stayed behind to guard them camp. The raiding half were very angry and protested but David insisted that everything be shared equally, reminding us that every rôle is of equal worth and is equally regarded by Yahweh, whether it be defensive vs. offensive soldiering, women at home vs. men at work outside, or female vs. male in general. The point is there is no 'versus' (vs.) in Yahweh's Order - everyone's part is equally important and ought to be so recognised, and each are dependent on on the other for success.
The Body of Messiah consists of different people in different rôles. We may not fully understand why Yahweh has created them this way - why we have been created men and not women (and vice versa) but that is where maturity of emunah (faith) comes in. It requires the application of the Shavu'ot Principle of agreeing to obey even before we know why. And when you stop to think about it, there are hundreds of such questions we could ask, none of which we will fathom in this lifetime (such as why we were born into the circumstances that we were) though Satan will offer lots of explanations (like reincarnation for those with a spiritual leaning or atheism for those with an intellectual leaning, etc.). So we need both to be careful not to be presumptuous and to accept that not having all the answers and having shalom (peace) about it is very much a part of our emunah (faith) journey.
Like I said, many balk at Day #4 and fall away because they do not want to obey because they lack the emunah (faith). What that means essentially is they don't want to grow up. Such must not be pressed to be where they are not but be given the time - and grace - to mature and grow. Unfortunately, those who have not quite reached Day #4 are subject to all kinds of temptation and must vigorously resist, for example, the fleshy compulsion to compete with those who are ready and who have gone ahead. Pride can so easily cause a fall here. If they don't resist they will be overcome and fall. The Israelites made this mistake after believing the negative report of the spies sent to Canaan, by first hurting at Yahweh's rebuke and judgment that they would have to wander 40 years in the desert to have their sinfulness burned out them, and then by reacting as though thay had actually passed their spiritual test by then launching a presumptuous and disasterous attack against the Amalekites and being thoroughly routed for their disobedience.
As Samuel warned: "To obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Sam.15:24, NKJV). The old truths are still the same truths today. They have not changed. Yahweh's original intent is unalterable. Even though there are no animal sacrifices today in the New Covenant, the principle of sacrifice remains the same:
That is why emunah (faith) cannot develop, nor the soul mature, until it has first learned obedience and surrender - not the man in his relationship to Yahweh, nor the wife in relationship to her husband. A broken lev (heart) and a contrite ruach (Spirit) is what lies behind Samuel's words, the eternal tavnith (pattern).
"Yahweh is near to those who have a broken lev (heart), and saves such as have a contrite ruach (spirit)" (Ps.4:18, NKJV).
Like I said, Shavu'ot either makes or breaks people because your'e either humble or you're not - you're either like the constantly complaining and rebelling first generation still patterned after Egypt - who would have quit the Jericho march within the first three days - or you're like that second generation, filled with emunah (faith) and seeing it through to the end. And if you're not humble, and you give Yahweh permission to keep working on you, then He will eventually knock the fleshy pride out of you by one means or another. Therefore Shavu'ot and the Fourth Day is a pivot, a hinge upon which the whole door of a person's life swings into the autumnal (fall) festivals or remains locked in the spring ones until the necessary lessons have been learned. The number 4 represents the number of completion, 3, plus 1, the number if beginning. The lesson of Shavu'ot, once learned, is a new beginning building on the emunah Faith) developed and perfected in the first three steps. By turning on the hinge in emunah (faith) and obedience, the three is completed and a new, higher 1, is begun.
What I find particularly interesting is that Shavu'ot represents the letter mem and the Mother Principle. For a wife to become a mother, she must we willing to receive the seed of her husband by allowing herself to be penetrated and taken. On the spiritual level, this is how our lev (heart) must be toward Elohim (God) as we learn what it is to be in surrendered female position (whether as men or women) so that Yahweh can penetrate us with His Emet (Truth) and so begin to work a miraculous transformation within our souls, conceiving the character of His Son in our ruachim (spirits). This is an immutable cosmic tavnith (pattern) established by the Creator at the beginning and those who resist it never grow any further.
Satan knows how vulnerable we are at this pivotal stage so this is usually the time that his human a d demonic agents taunt and mock those standing at the border of the Shavu'ot decision. It is not easy for a man especially to remain in female position - surrendered, submitted and non-reactive to Satan's attempt to destabilise. Please note the very interesting tavnith (pattern) in the Jericho Siege. For six days the man are to be in female position (walking silently) and only on the seventh can their maleness break forth as they go into battle and subdue the city which Yahweh has already destroyed for them! This is a case of six parts female and one part male, the exact reverse of the six parts male (work) and one part female (rest) of the weekly cycle.
I hope that this has given you food for thought. I suspect that the Siege of Jericho was positioned in the calendar by Yahweh right before late Pesach (Passover) to give those who fumbled and perhaps failed the spiritual lessons behind the spring festivals a second chance before approaching Shavu'ot and the hope of making a big leap forward spiritually. As should by now be obvious, these are not intellectual bit spiritual exercises that lies behind the festivals, a focusing device to enable us to walk in the Way and grow to maturity as sons and daughters of Elohim (God). If you are willing to give assent to these principle here and now, then you will be sowing a spiritual seed that will hopefully have sprouted and grown by Shavu'ot. So I am issuing a challenge and an invitation to you now, to yield to the Shavu'ot Principle, enter into its betrothal covenants with a free and open lev (heart) and so reap the huge harvest that is represented by the abundance of wheat, for Shavu'ot (Pentecost) is also the Wheat Harvest. or do you wish to stick with the poor man's barley bread of Yom haBikkurim, perhaps justofying yourself with false humility saying you prefer to 'eat poor'?
The choice is yours. Shalom!
Continued in Part 12