Stand out and Stand up!
Tetzaveh (You are to command) Exodus/Sh’mot 27:20-30:10
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 43:10-27
This Sabbath I have a few points I want to cover with you. I believe each of these points are spiritually relevant to our lives today. They should speak to each of us in our personal walk.
To begin, I want to share an example I read this week from a good friend who lives in Jerusalem. It concerned him buying olive oil for lighting his menorah on the Shabbat. According to scripture, pure pressed olive oil was used to light the candles in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. This friend lights his Shabbat candles each Friday at sundown to welcome the Sabbath. As he was shopping for oil he found it would be much cheaper to buy sunflower oil or other substitutes for his menorah than pure pressed olive oil. Olive oil was double the price of sunflower oil. After thinking about it he decided to follow scripture and use what was prescribed there and not use a substitute.
He used this example to make a valid point. Often we find ourselves rationalizing our actions by saying some scripture does not apply to our world today. We tell ourselves we live in a different world now and things have changed. We rationalize we need to change with the times. I have thought about his story this week. I have thought about how far religion and faith have evolved just in my life time. So many things have crept into how we think and what we do. More and more we strive to rationalize our own actions because of how others around us are changing.
It seems to me this is faulty thinking. Things may have changed in the material world but not in G-d’s world. We have lost our fear of G-d in all of His holiness. When we look at scripture this error is spoken of often. Some scriptures are: Exodus 4:31, Deut. 6:2, and Joshua 24:14. Proverbs 9:10 says the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the L-rd. Also this topic can be found in the Messianic scripture such as, Acts 13:26, Romans 3:18, Eph. 5:21.
It is important to define this word fear as used in these verses. Scripture is not speaking of fear as the emotion of being terrified. Rather these verses are speaking of fear as respect, honor, deep love for The One who is giving us life, the promise of eternity and constant fellowship with Him. So rather than giving the excuse of, “Well things have changed. It is the 21st century we are living in.” We need to find our direction for our lives and actions from scripture and our Heavenly Father.
Any other thinking will lead us down a path of engaging in things that will weaken us spiritually and even cause us to lead others astray. G-d is calling us to a life based on His word and His will. G-d never changes. He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Now to another thought from this Torah portion. In Exodus 29:38-42 we read of the daily offering of a lamb in the morning and one again in the evening every day in the Mishkan and also later in the Temple. This was the continual burnt offering. The word in Hebrew for continual is tamid. It means always, never ending. A burnt offering meant the offering was totally consumed on the altar and its smoke rose up before the L-rd continually. It was seen as a symbol of the total dedication of the people to the L-rd.
An interesting part also is the ashes of the lamb in the morning formed the foundation of all other offerings of the day. In the evening another lamb was burnt which formed a completion of each days prayers and sacrifices. The ashes of the evening offering were not removed until they were replaced by the next morning’s offering of the lamb for the new day.
In all this we see a beautiful pattern with a strong spiritual lesson that still resonates today. In John 1:29 we read where Yeshua, as the Lamb of G-d stands continually before the Father with His blood as an on-going sacrifice for His people. Yeshua was offered once to bear the sins of many. He will appear again to bring an end to this age and to take us home to spend eternity worshiping Him. Like the lamb on the altar continually, Yeshua represents us before the Father continually.
Now to my question of the week. In Exodus 29:29 we read where the garments of the high priest were for him and for his sons after him. In Philippians 3:17 we read these words from the apostle Shaul, “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” In Exodus 29:29 we see that Aaron and later his sons were recognized by the clothes the wore. They were expected to present an example to the people of the holiness of G-d and live according to what G-d expected from Israel. People could pick them out of a crowd just by how they looked.
In the Messianic scripture example we see that we as believers in the Messiah should be recognizable. Our life should reflect who we are as disciples of Yeshua. In His life we know people could recognize Him. They saw Him as Messiah. (Matthew 21:9) In Acts 4:13 we read, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Yeshua.”
We as followers of the Messiah should exhibit, by our words and actions, that we have been with the Messiah. We should stand out and stand up for who we are and what we believe. It is like wearing the garments of the priest, we are followers of G-d and it has made a life changing difference in how we act, how we look, and how we live from day to day.
Bless each of you this Sabbath.