Fire From Heaven

My Sisters and Brothers,

Two thousand years ago, a rushing wind tore through Jerusalem, converging on one small house where a handful of peasants were gathered. The people who witnessed this incredible thing reported that they saw tongues of fire fall upon the small group, resting on each person’s head!

For the thousands of Israelites that were gathered in Jerusalem at that time, it was a very portent sign. The day was Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. But it was also the day that they remembered another mighty event that had happened a thousand years earlier. Their ancestors had been gathered in the desert, much like this motley group of Believers had been gathered in the house in Jerusalem. Back then, Mount Sinai had shook and trembled as El Shaddai, the Almighty God, descended in the form of fire! And in the midst of thunder and lightning, He spoke to the people, giving them His Torah – His Law.

Every person gathered in Jerusalem would have seen the significance of the tongues of fire coming upon the Believers! To those people, steeped in the traditions of their faith, the symbol of fire hearkening back to the fire on Sinai would have been unmistakeable! The same God who descended in fire on Sinai to deliver His Law had just descended again…

… but differently!

At Sinai, God gave His Law. At Pentecost, He gave Himself!

Just a few hundred years earlier, He had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

That day had finally come!

And this is the day that we celebrated last Sunday. Every year, the Church gathers at Pentecost in order to remember this momentous occasion, when the Holy Spirit descended to earth to live within every Believer! He is the Comforter that Jesus promised, the One who is always present in us, deep down within our souls. He is the One who guides us, convicts us, ministers to us, prays for us, and illuminates the mysteries of God for us within our hearts.

What’s fascinating about the Torah – the Law that God gave on Sinai – is that it was originally written without vowels. This can make interpretation very difficult. For example, take this sentence:

TH SHP SLD.

Does this read, “The ship sailed”? Or is it maybe, “The shop sold”?

Without the vowels, we can never know completely. We can infer meaning by looking at the context… but when everything else within that context is written without vowels, can we ever really know the context? This is how God gave the Law at Sinai. Part of it remained a mystery. But when He came down at Pentecost, He started filling in those blank spaces. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives context to that Torah. He is the One who illuminates its meaning. And that is because it is no longer words written on tablets of stone, but rather words engraved on our hearts!

May the Spirit of Truth illuminate your heart and mind with His Light! May He fill you to overflowing with discernment, and understanding, and clarity! And may the Word of God Almighty continue to be engraved on your heart, deeper and deeper within you, so that you will always have that Word to be a lamp unto your feet (Psalm 119:105)! Amen.

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