1.My first question this week is what is worship according to scripture? In John 4:23-24 it says to worship G-d in spirit and truth. How do we worship in spirit and truth? What does that mean for us as we worship the Father?  

Worship is to be an integral part of our daily life, not something relegated to only a few hours a week. In John 4:23-24 we read that we are to worship G-d in spirit and in truth. Most of us are familiar with worshipping in the spirit. 

My question is however, what does it mean to worship in truth? A good answer can be found in Psalms 119:142, “Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.”  Torah here is equated with truth. The question now might be what does that mean? 

Examples of what it is not: In Leviticus 10:1-2 we see one Nadav and Avihu offered fire before the L-rd that was not done as commanded in Torah. They paid with their life. They attempted to offer fire that they had created and not the fire that the Father commanded.  

Another example is found in I Chron. 13:9-10, Uzza reached out his hand to steady the ark and died. Here we see a case where King David was attempting to move the Ark of G-d from Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem. However, he did not follow the Torah commands on how to move the Ark and as a result Uzza died. 

In both of these examples Nadav and Avihu as well as King David did not use G-d’s Torah to guide their spiritual desires.

Worship is not meant to be formed by what feels good, but by the light of what’s true. Our worship must conform to the revelation of G-d in Scripture. It must reflect who G-d is and what He is like. 

To worship inconsistently with what is revealed to us in scripture ultimately degenerates into idolatry.

Some prefer to worship only “in spirit” but do not major on truth. In fact, they think focusing on truth has the potential to quench the Spirit. The standard by which they judge the success of worship is the height of emotion they experience. 

Others prefer to worship only “in truth” and are actually offended when they or others feel anything or experience heightened emotions. 

This quote is by John Piper, “Truth without emotion produces dead orthodoxy and a church full . . . of artificial admirers. . . . On the other hand, emotion without truth produces empty frenzy and cultivates shallow people who refuse the disciple of rigorous thought. But true worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine. Strong affections for God rooted in truth are the bone and marrow of biblical worship.”

Worshiping, living our lives, worshiping in spirit and truth transforms us into a new creation, created in the image of Messiah to serve G-d in righteousness and holiness. It should guide us when we talk, interact with people, even in how we physically appear.

2.This Torah portion covers the clothing of Aaron and his sons as well as offerings to be offered for their consecration as priests. In Exodus 28:3 we read G-d’s instructions on who to pick to make the priestly items. In most English translation it reads, “gifted artisans.” However, in Hebrew the words are, “wise of heart.” So the question comes to mind, what does wisdom have to do with the heart? Why did G-d say to pick men who were wise of heart? 

I think the Torah is saying that if our wisdom does not affect our hearts it is meaningless. I think Romans 12:2 might help us as believers to come to an answer for this. 2”Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” 

Our minds, or our wisdom, must play itself out in our heart and in our actions. We may know the scripture by heart and be able to debate a mountain of religious topics but if all that wisdom makes no impact on our lives and actions then we are like a donkey carrying around sacks of knowledge but it is still a donkey. 

As believers our minds have been renewed. That renewal must be evident in our lives as we go about our daily walk with the L-rd. I Cor. 13, the chapter on love, lays this out very well. Our renewed minds must make a difference.

3.In Exodus 28:5 we get a summary of materials used (gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen) Think of each of these colors/materials used and see if you can find other references to each one in scripture and what they stand for. 

Gold, pure gold. John, in the book of Revelation, talks of New Jerusalem being a city of pure gold. In Rev. 21:18 gold represents royalty. Again in Revelation 1:13 Yeshua appears wearing a gold sash.

Blue, techellet a blue like the sky. It is very expensive and rare. In Numbers 15:38 every man was commanded to wear a blue thread in his tassels. This showed that each person was connected to the priest. They were all a nation of priests. There was a spiritual connection of Israel to G-d. Likewise, the indwelling Spirit of G-d reminds us that we are connected to Him through our High Priest, Yeshua.

Purple was the color for kings and royalty. Judges 8:26 tells of the purple garments worn by the king of Midian. Daniel received a purple robe in Daniel 5:29 and Yeshua, in John 19:2 had a purple robe put on Him as he was crucified. Purple was the color of a king.

Scarlet in the Torah symbolized purification. Look at Leviticus 14:4 and Numbers 19:6. Isaiah 1:18 tells us of G-d’s promise to purify Israel.

White was always the color of the linen. It was never dyed. It was the symbol of purity. On Yom Kippur the high priest wore simple white linen. In Revelation 19:14 it says that the armies of heaven are clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Of course Yeshua after His death was wrapped in linen. (Mark 15:46) So each of these colors have a spiritual meaning that can be associated with Yeshua.

Exodus 28:6 talks about the Ephod. This was worn by the High Priest and it incorporated all the colors we just mentioned. In Exodus 28:21 we read where the High Priest wore a special ephod on which hung the breastplate. It was attached to the ephod by straps upon which were two stones, one on each shoulder on which was inscribed the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.  Also on the breastplate itself there were 12 stones on which the names of the tribes were engraved. By wearing these two items the High Priest carried the people of Israel before G-d, over his heart and on his shoulders, each time he ministered before G-d.

As our High Priest in heaven, Yeshua, carries us before the Father continually, making intercession for us.  In Revelation 21:14, 21:19-20 we see that the New Jerusalem rests upon 12 foundation stones, which bear the names of the 12 apostles.

In the breastplate were carried the Urim and Thummim. These were used to disclose G-d’s will about certain questions. Let us look at these words. First, Urim is actually a word that means “lights.” Thummim is a word meaning perfect. It is the same word used to describe the sacrifice brought to the altar, perfect or unblemished. Who fills that role for us? Yeshua is the source of divine direction. He speaks the word of the Father. His light lights our way. He is the light and the perfection.

The robe of the Ephod was all of blue. Yeshua is the High Priest over the heavenly temple, the one not made by human hands. Revelation 1:6 “He has made us kings and priests to His G-d and Father.”  

As we read these verses about the priest and their vestments we should be able to see the flow of G-d over the ages. When Moses wrote these verses they spoke of actual things and action to be taken. They also speak to us of who we are and how Yeshua serves today in that heavenly temple on our behalf. Praise G-d!

4.In this Torah portion we read in Exodus 30:1-10 the instructions for making an altar to burn incense upon.  Where was it located and who was to burn the incense? How was this different from the animal sacrifices? Where were animal sacrifices done and who participated?  Can we draw any parallels to our times of worship?

In verse 5 of Exodus 30 G-d says to “Put the altar in front of the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law—before the atonement cover that is over the tablets of the covenant law—where I will meet with you.”  This was an intimate meeting between the high priest and G-d.” No one else was in attendance. It was a time the High Priest devoted to being with and hearing from G-d.  No other incense or offering could be burned there. 

Exodus 40:6-8 tells us animal sacrifices were sacrificed on an altar before the door to the Mishkan. It was a public event in the courtyard.  People brought their sacrifices and worshipped there. 

So can we learn from these two offerings? Firstly, there is a difference between the things we give to G-d and the relationship we have with Him. The time in the outer court of the Tabernacle where sacrifices were made and offered up to G-d and the children of Israel worshipped where important times and could be compared to corporate worship today. 

The time the priest spent in a one on one intimate meeting with G-d burning incense and hearing G-d could be compared to the time we devote to individual prayer and Bible study. You cannot substitute one for the other.

Public worship is easier to give to G-d it takes less effort.  But to have a healthy spiritual life we must daily approach G-d in our own cloud of incense, empowered by the Spirit and worship Him and wait to hear from Him. These moments are solo events, just G-d and you. They take more effort and concentration and a regular commitment. 

Just as the priest had to burn incense morning and evening and have their time with G-d we too need to show up for that intimate time with Him. Rest assured G-d is already waiting for us.