Sivan, meaning bright, is a significant month on the Jewish calendar primarily because the second major feast of the Lord occurs on the 8th and 9th day of it. Seven weeks the Israelites traveled from Egypt to Mt. Sinai, the place where God would define His covenant with them and give them the Ten Commandments. The feast of Sivan is called Shavuot which means weeks. (The Greek word for this feast is Pentecost for 50 days.) "In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on the very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai." (Exodus 19:1)
At Mt. Sinai, God swore an eternal oath to the children of Israel, consequently, Shavuot also means oath. Jewish sages compare what took place to a wedding between God and His people. When the Israelites accepted God's commandments, they became His chosen people. Moses was instructed to give them a message from God: "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation..." (Exodus 19:4-6) From these verses, we can discern how important this covenant was to God. The children of Israel agreed to keep covenant with God, so Moses was given the Ten Commandments. This is known as Matan Torah—"The Giving of the Torah."
Look how God took His people from the barley harvest of Passover to the wheat harvest of Shavuot. See how His people went from slavery to liberation so that they could know and celebrate being chosen by the God of their fathers. As they committed and dedicated themselves to God, they were to show the world the goodness of God. The Lord had set into place a way for the entire world to be won to His love and mercy. His plan was for the nation of Israel to shine forth His glory for everyone to see.
A day would come when God would enact a new dimension of His plan by sending His Son, Jesus, to earth so that everyone could come to know Him personally, and He would redeem us from the curse of destruction and death and give us eternal life with Him. Through the disciple Peter, we see in the New Testament words that are like the ones God declared over His people when He met them at Mt. Sinai. "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are a people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)
The God of Israel not only made an unbreakable covenant with the Israelites but made a way for us to be a part of that covenant. We enter the month of Sivan tomorrow evening at sundown. Use this month to worship the Lord and give thanks for how He made a way for us to be part of His royal priesthood and holy nation. Let us give thanks for the giving of Torah and for the harvests in our lives and declare the praises of the One who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light!
Joan E. Mathias