Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (When You Take) Exodus 30-34

HafTorah: I Kings 18:1-39

“When you take the head of the of the sons of Israel.” This is so important here in that it shows the importance of each person. They were to be counted by going to each one and counting them for service to the L-rd. Let us never think that we are unimportant or that G-d only cares for the good ones, or for the important ones. He loves us all equally. He knows each of us. We matter to Him. When you feel G-d does not care remember this verse. Moses was to go to each person, not just give an estimate but to touch each one – to show they mattered and they counted.

So here we start with a counting of the men of Israel. In chapter 30 we read of the instructions for making the anointing oil and incense for the worship of G-d. In chapter 31 G-d tells Moses of the person He has chosen to be in charge of the building of the things for the Mishkan and also goes back over the commandment He has given to the people concerning the Sabbath.

Then we come to chapter 32 where we read about the sin of the golden calf. I read an interesting article this week that I want to share with you. I think it helps us understand what happened here as well as what happens in our own life sometime. To do this imagine a split screen showing two different scenes occurring at the same time. In one scene we see Moses standing before G-d interceding for the people. In the other scene we see the people involved in this terrible sin. As we read and watch this develop we see the people, people of G-d, brought out of Egypt, fed and given water by the hand of G-d, here involved in such a terrible sin. While above Moses and the Father are together. Think of it like this: a man cheats on his wife while she is in the hospital giving birth to their baby. The contrast of love verses lust, or eternity verses immediacy. The clincher here is, for the man to cheat on his wife he must take his eyes off his commitment to her. He blocks it out and thinks only of himself. Which is the scene we see played out here in these verses. Averting ones gaze from heaven allows us to make the wrong choice. The people took their eyes off the mountain and what was going on there. In their mind Moses was dead and they are able to walk on the wild side. Once they took their eyes off the mountain they descended into the depths of sin. Of course Moses is not dead but instead in our other scene is pleading with G-d for the people.

This brings me to my point. When we take our eyes off heaven and what is going on there we fall into sin, not thinking about Yeshua pleading our case before the father. Romans 8:34. It is this pleading which can save us. Our battle is to not take our eyes off of G-d in the first place, but if we do to remember we have an advocate who is pleading our case. We repent and throw ourselves on the mercy of G-d. This does not mean we can just decide to sin and repent later but what is should say to us is not to ever take our eyes off the Father, no matter what we are tempted with or what we go through. To take our eyes off G-d leaves us with but one place to look – to ourselves and what feels good to us, what feeds our ego or meets some perceived need in our lives ourselves. That can only lead to sin in our lives. Don’t for a minute take your eyes off heaven. Allow G-d to lead you in everything.

The New Testament tells us to work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12-13). This may give u some insight into an odd occurrence in the scriptures. In Exodus 34:27 we read where Moses had to cut out the second set of tablets. The first tablets G-d did everything, cut the tablets and wrote on them. Here Moses has to cut them himself. Why?

I think G-d expects us to be part of what He is doing. When Moses brought down the first set of tablets nothing had changed in him. G-d had done everything. In the second set, when he came down from the mountain, his face glowed from the experience. When we get involved with what G-d is doing it changes us. We are part of the experience. We share in what He does and we are never the same.