The order of G-d
Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (When You Take) Exodus (Sh’mot) 30:11-34:35
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 18:1-39
This week our Torah portion is Ki Tisa meaning, “When you take.” The Hebrew word tisa means to carry a load, or to undertake a necessary burden.
In this portion we read of G-d’s instructions on how the census was to be taken. You may remember in II Samuel 24 and I Chronicles 27 where King David, in his later years, decided to take a census of the people of Israel with disastrous results. Why was it wrong for him to take this census? G-d had not ordered it done. David did this on his own and brought calamity on Israel. Keep this in mind as we go through these scriptures today.
As we continue through this section we read of the case of Aaron making the golden calf when the people grew restless about the delay of Moshe returning from his time with G-d. We will return to this episode later. Right now I want us to talk about the census in some detail and see what we can learn about the spiritual lesson for the people and for us.
No one was exempt in this census. Everyone was to give a half shekel of silver. These coins or amounts were counted, not the people. This must have had a powerful effect on the people. They were all part of the building and furnishing of the Tabernacle or Mishkan. Each of them had been at the mountain when they heard the voice of G-d and now each one had an equal part in the construction of the Tabernacle. They were together. They all had the same goal and purpose. The rich did not give more or the poor less. They were no longer slaves but now a people with a single purpose. Soon we see this commonality tested with ups and downs but here they were united.
It seems to me this should help us all in our concept of faith and who we are in G-d’s eyes. As His children we are all equal. We are all to be counted. We all have different talents but we all are to do something to further the kingdom. We are all to contribute our half shekel. We see the principle of this Torah portion reverberate throughout the Messianic scriptures in places like Romans 9-11, I Cor. 10 and Hebrews 9-10.
Our portion today also gives us a clearer understanding of the Father. When you read these verses what quality of G-d stands out? I would think we all can see that G-d has a way. He is a G-d of order. We see G-d as a G-d that has a specific way His people are to live their life and worship Him. No where do we see G-d allowing His people to do as they please when they enter into His presence. We see this also in the Messianic Scriptures. The early believers were given clear guidelines on how they were to behave in His presence. We can see this in verses like I Cor. 14:26-31. There was an order and purpose to meeting together. The purpose was to glorify G-d and not the worshiper.
To help us see this quality of G-d clearer look at the spices used in the making of the anointing oil that was to be used in the Tabernacle/Mishkan. In Sh’mot/Exodus 30:23-24 we read of the spices used in the anointing oil. It does not say to take a little of this and a little of that. No, the Father was very specific in what was to be used and how much of each spice was to be added to produce what would be used when the priest came before Him.
I remember back in the 60’s and 70’s one of the mantras for young people was, “Whatever makes you feel good is ok.” We as the people of G-d cannot let ourselves be lulled into such a state of mind. We are to live our life governed by the word of G-d, by His purpose and will for our lives.
Lastly, I want us to look at the incident of the golden calf. As we read these verses in Sh’mot/Exodus 32:1-8 we see the people losing patience because Moshe had not returned from his time with G-d on the mountain. They demanded Aaron make them a god they could feel and see to lead them. Why did they fall so soon after G-d had delivered then from Egypt? Before we are too hard on them think of your own walk with G-d. Have you ever found yourself in a place of feeling abandoned and left alone by G-d? I expect some of us may have had a time such as this. Here we see Moshe plead with G-d to not throw these people away but to forgive them and continue to be with them. After he continued to plead G-d relented and continued on with them. Moshe stood in the gap for them. We all need someone to stand in the gap for us. Yeshua is always there pleading our case before the Father. Don’t give up. Don’t walk away. G-d is still there. He has not left us and still loves us.