Picking up the pieces
Torah Portion: Beha’alotcha(When You Set Up)B’midbar/Numbers 8:1-12:16
Haftorah Reading: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
Today we are studying a portion of scripture that has so much to say to us in our daily walk with the Father. I have several topics to cover, all of which I believe will speak to us. The first has to do with Moses. In this portion we read of the people’s complaints of having only manna to eat. They reminisced about the variety of food they had in Egypt. G-d told Moses He would supply the Israelites with enough meat for a month. In Numbers 11:22 Moshe shared with G-d his doubts that that was possible. G-d’s responded to Moses by asking if the L-rd’s power was limited? In Hebrew, Numbers 11:23 is expressed well, “Has the hand of the L-rd become shortened?” In effect He is reminding Moses how He delivered the people from Egypt, split the sea for them to cross on to dry land, brought them water from a rock and brought mana down each day.
Moses was having a moment when his faith was weak. He might have been feeling overwhelmed by the task before him. Have you ever felt like Moses? Remember Numbers 11:23, has G-d’s hand become shortened? Can you remember all He has done for you? Has he ever failed you?
Psalms 77:10-12 expresses it well, “Then I said in my grief, but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the L-rd; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.” G-d has not changed, His hand has not grown shorter. He is still there. He still loves you with an unending love.
I would like each of us to meditate and think on Numbers 10:35-36. These verses have much to say to us. When we see these verses written in a Torah scroll they are set apart by the Hebrew letter nun. A nun appears at the beginning of verse 35 and at the end of verse 36. These verses have been described by some scholars as a book within a book.
These two verses separate the work of the priests each day from the world of the prophet, in this case Moses. Does a prophet and a priest have different roles? Priestly duties involved doing the work in the Temple or Mishkan day after day, such as trimming the lamps, accepting sacrifices, etc. We have already studied, in the last few Torah portions, the details of the job of the priest. Those jobs did not change. On the other hand a prophet had a much different role. He dealt with different issues daily. He sometimes prophesied what would be if changes were not made. He warned. He encouraged. Aaron was a priest and Moses was a prophet. They both knew their roles and did not try to fill the other persons position.
Verse 35 is also found in Psalms 68:1. This reminds us of the faithfulness and power of G-d. Each time the Israelites broke camp Moses reminded them that G-d would go before them. Each time they stopped to set up camp Moses reminded them that the Almighty was there with them as they rested. They were never alone and neither are we. They were not defenseless and neither are we. Our G-d is with us, to lead us, to help us and also to give us rest. Remember these verses each day as you get up and go out into the world and each evening when you return to rest. I believe these verses will help us face our trials and not forget whom we serve.
Now, finally to my question for this week. In our portion this week we read of the order of the tribes when they set out to continue on their march to the Land of Promise. The tribe of Judah was first. The Levites followed bearing all the things used to setup the Mishkan when they arrived at their new camp site. I want us to look at who was the last tribe leaving each camp site and who would be the last to arrive at the new place.
This was the tribe of Dan. Think for a moment how dusty their trip would have been, being the last in line. Yet they were honored by a description of their purpose in Numbers 10:25. The word Ma’asof is used to describe their job. One meaning of this word is, to collect or to pick up. So the tribe of Dan was to pick up things left behind, to collect them and restore them to the ones who had lost them. They were called to pick up the pieces and to restore them.
This caused me to consider us and all of our roles in life. One of those for sure is to be G-d’s agents of restoration to people who have been left behind in life. I want to encourage each of you to be aware of the broken pieces of people’s lives and if G-d gives you the opportunity, to be a restorer. I Cor. 12:12-13 talks about this.
We are all part of the same body of Messiah. We all have the duty of helping to restore those who are broken around us. Maybe one of us has been in that place of having lost some part of our faith along the way. The really great news is G-d can restore us and put us on our feet again.
I want to encourage each of you as you go through your days to trust the Father, His arm has not been shortened. He still loves you and cares for you. Hold on tight and remember those times when you felt His presence.