When the Spirit fell
P’kudei (Accounting) Exodus/Sh’mot 38:21-40:38
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 7:40-8:21
Tonight we finish the book of Exodus. Let’s take just a moment and think of how far this book has taken us. We began this book seeing Jacob and his children going down to Egypt. Then we read tonight about the people leaving Egypt behind and beginning their forty year boot camp in the desert. This forty years was school for these former slaves. This time of learning was not just for them but for us as well. Even with all their failures G-d never gave up on them nor does He give up on us. He called them His prized possession. Think of that whenever you fall. Our G-d is a loving G-d and wants the best for each of us. All He requires is our faith and our obedience to follow Him each day.
He guides us by His spirit each day. Our part is to believe Him and walk after Him. All this is the enduring message of this book which we finish tonight. May each of us strive to walk after Him and not be drawn away by the world.
Now let’s look at our portion today. The very name has much to say to each of us. The Hebrew word P’kudei translates as accounting. This is not the professional term of accounting but the act of taking stock of what has been entrusted to us. This is what we see Moshe doing here in this Torah portion. He accounted for all the donations the people had given for the construction of the Mishkan.
As I considered this I thought of my own life. Each of us, including myself, being G-d’s people, need to check our lives. It is helpful to slow down and consider what G-d has entrusted to us. Are we using what He has given us in a way that would please Him? Have we been faithful to use the spiritual gifts He has given us or have we got so caught up in living we have forgotten who we are living for? It is far too easy to lose our wayunless we take the time to account for what He has given us. He has set a path for each of us, a path He desires we walk. This path calls for our full attention, not just when it is convenient. Remember He loves us but He does want our participation in His plan. He requires our faithfulness to His will.
Now I want us to look at an interesting case presented here in our reading tonight for the first time. At the end of Exodus we read of the dedication of the Mishkan. When the process of constructing it had been completed and the time of dedication was at hand, what occurred? The spirit of G-d fell so strongly that Moshe could not enter the Mishkan.
In II Chronicles 7:1-3 we read how the dedication of the first Temple took place. This Temple was built by Israel under the kingship of Solomon. Again the spirit of G-d fell. His glory filled the Temple and the priests could not stand. They fell on their faces.
There is one last case I would like us to look at. Remember, when the Spirit filled the Mishkan the entire nation of Israel was gathered. Then when Solomon’s Temple was constructed the entire nation had been a part of the construction. Each tribe sent men to work.
However, when we look at Ezra 3:10-13 when the foundation of the second Temple was constructed on the ruins of Solomon’s Temple not all of Israel was present. Some chose not to return from exile in Babylon. The construction of this Temple was different. There was no recording in scripture of the spirit of G-d appearing following the construction. We read of this in Ezra 6:15-22. So our question is why? What changed?
In Ezra 3 we have a hint. As the foundation was laid there was both joy and sorrow. History tells us that only a small percentage of the people of Israel returned from Babylon. We might say they had lost their way. Life was good in Babylon so most stayed in a foreign land rather than return to their land of promise. There was no unity of spirit as there had been at the time of the building of the Mishkan and Solomon’s temple.
Our challenge, or lesson in this is to not lose our way. We must take account from time to time to make sure we are being faithful to His will and to our calling. The Jews in Babylon let the world separate them from the Father’s will for them. In our world today there are many thing pressing for our attention and our time. G-d’s plan for each of us does not change. He does not change. Each of us are important. We must take account to see where we are and how we are living our lives.
To end let’s look at Hebrews 8:7-13. How do you understand these verses? What are they telling us? Many believers think these verses are telling us the Torah has been replaced by the Messiah. Is these true? If not, what can we learn from this passage?
Read Romans 7:12, Acts 24:14, and Acts 25:8. How can we reconcile Hebrews with these verses? The problem here in Hebrews is not that the Torah has been replaced. The problem is us. Our sinful state is known to us when we try to live by G-d’s measuring stick – the Torah. It doesn’t mean we throw away G-d’s blueprint for life. G-d sent Yeshua to save us, not to change His word. Yeshua gives us the spiritual wisdom and knowledge to live as G-d has always intended – from the beginning.
Hazak, Hazak, v’nit’chazek!
Be strong, be strong,
and let us be strengthened!