Now that we have celebrated Pesach (the Feast of Passover), we have entered a special season of counting, laid out for Israel in Leviticus 23:10-16. Just after the feast, the sons of Israel are commanded to bring an omer to the priests. This omer is simply a sheaf—a bundle of grain from the beginning of the first crop. The priest waves the omer before Adonai as a “wave-offering,” so that the omer—and the entire harvest as well—will be accepted. Then, beginning with the day of the wave-offering, Israel counts 49 days, and on the 50th day—the Feast of Shavuot—a new offering is made from the wheat harvest. We can therefore infer that during the time of counting, the wheat crops are continuing to grow and ripen, but will be ready for harvest when the counting is complete. So the counting is a feature of Israel’s calendar that instructs her regarding the correct time to harvest and make an offering from the mature wheat crops.
Go On to the Maturity
As we walk through the Spring Mo’adiym (appointed times), we also see a picture of our own walk with Messiah. At Pesach, we are reminded of being set free from sin; then during the Feast of Matzah (unleavened bread), we have the opportunity to practice walking in our “unleavened-ness.” As we count from the omer, we are like the wheat crops—growing toward maturity, ultimately destined to become an abundant harvest for Adonai. During this season of counting, we can focus on certain spiritual themes such as sowing, growing, increase, being fed and nourished by Adonai, and being mindful of how we are growing toward maturity in Messiah.
The exhortation of Hebrews 6:1 seems particularly appropriate for this season:
“Therefore, having moved on from the fundamental word of the Messiah, let us go on to the maturity, not laying again a foundation…”
Our faith is founded on “the fundamental word of Messiah”—the simple, basic truths about the Master which form the basis for our faith, giving us a seedbed in which to take root and grow. All too often, however, we leave behind these fundamentals, and instead of moving on toward maturity, we completely forget or ignore the foundational things. Out of this comes the invention of our own personal set of beliefs and religions—strange doctrines that do not hold up to the litmus test of Scripture. Without being tethered to the fundamental truths of the faith, we run amuck—thinking that we are mature when we are only misguided.
We must remember this simple truth: maturity comes from building on the foundation, which is Messiah. If we fail to build on Messiah, or build on anything other than Him, we will not “go on to the maturity.” There is one foundation and one goal, and it is the One and Only—Yeshua, our Messiah!
Still More Strengthened
But why does God want us grow us to maturity? Is it so that we will be happier or more satisfied in life? Is it simply so that we will be more holy or better able to keep His commands? Is maturity the ultimate goal of becoming mature? If we look at the example of Shaul (Paul) soon after his life-changing encounter with Yeshua, we see a much greater purpose for our maturity.
“And Shaul was still more strengthened, and he was confounding the Y’hudiym (Jews) dwelling in Damesek, proving that this Yeshua is the Messiah.” (Acts 9:22)
Adonai needs vessels of maturity who are ready to be “still more strengthened,” so that our living testimony will be a reliable witness to the reality that “Yeshua is the Messiah.” This strength from God is visible and demonstrative, and it flows contrary to the ways of the world. It is disruptive, causing the steady flow of soul-numbing worldliness to stop short and disperse.
When we are strengthened by God, a circle of confusion is created around us—not within us—since the confounding spirits of this world are thrown into disorder. In this place of maturity and strength, we become like the eye of a storm. Pandemonium is created all around us, but at the center, there is peace and tranquility. The eye of the storm is where people find the proof that Yeshua is the Messiah, as the power of God reveals Him to those trapped in a whirlwind of confusion.
Power to Proclaim
Adonai wants us to grow to maturity so that He can continually strengthen us to do His work. The more we submit and humble ourselves in all circumstances, the more we will be filled, and the greater the testimony will be. He is calling us to stir things up, to disrupt the blindness of the world around us. So during this season, let us not be satisfied with personal growth alone, but let us cry out for the strength of Adonai in our lives—that we may cause a great commotion, and prove that Yeshua is the Messiah.