Torah Portion: Naso(Take) Numbers (B’Midbar) 4:21-7:89
HafTorah: Judges 13:2-25
New Testament: John 7:53-8:11; Acts 21:17-32
Tonight we read the Parasha Naso. This Torah section is always read either on the Sabbath before or immediately following Shavuot. As we have mentioned before, Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah. In the New Testament we read where Yeshua was and is the embodiment of Torah. In fact in John I He is called the Word.
The Jewish sages have taken the fact that Naso, coming where it does, to have some connection with the giving of the Torah. They make the connection with this word, Naso. One of the meanings of the word is to lift up. So in Hebrew the first sentence could read, “Lift up the heads of the sons of Gershom.” If we look at it this way what does it mean to lift the head in connection with Torah? We can see this as G-d’s command to the sons of Gershom to let the Torah lift their head by changing the way they think and how, by that changing, the way they live.
Now for us, Yeshua representing the word of G-d should have this affect on us. He should change the way we think and by that change how we interact with the world. Torah did that for the sons of Gershom. Yeshua, the living Word, should do that for us. Don’t you think the sons of Gershom could have been a little putt off by finding their task being to carry stuff? It was hard work and not so glamorous. G-d, by lifting their heads, was changing their thoughts. Look at what you are carrying – the earthly house of G-d not just a lot of stuff! Yeshua changes our thoughts, where no matter what G-d has given us to do it is never petty or insignificant. We too are carrying the Mishkan of G-d around in our bodies everyday.
Now I would like to go back to my question to you this week. Why do we have to confess our sins with our mouth? I got some very good answers to this question. Here we are looking at Numbers 5:6- where we read these verses about confession. Confession is part of the final steps of repentance. This process is the same from both a Jewish and Christian perspective.
Maimonides, one of the great Jewish teachers says that confession is a requirement and it must be done verbally. James 5:16 makes the same point. Why is this so important? I think confession is for our own sakes rather than G-d’s. For sure He already knows what we have done.
There are several levels of this for us. First we tend to take things more seriously when they are spoken. Words are powerful and impact us more than just thoughts. When we speak out either good or bad, it intensifies our feelings. So, speaking out about and confessing what we have done deepens those feeling concerning what we have done. Secondly, we go through life seeing ourselves through filters. Those internal filters always portray us in a more positive light. This will blind us to our short comings or our faults. We go through life viewing ourselves from the inside. However when we speak out and confess our sins, we hear our words with our ears as other people and G-d would hear them. Then the severity of what we have done hits us. We did it. How could we? Did I really say or do that? How could I?
So, confession is really an acknowledgement to ourselves about ourselves. It allows us the opportunity to see ourselves as we are, a person who has sinned against G-d and against our fellowman. So G-d does not need to hear it. He already knows it. It allows us to see and hear it and resolve to change, to go another direction.
For us as followers of Messiah it is so important to keep a proper perspective of our true selves and not let unconfessed sin stay in our lives.