Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You Are To Order)(Sh’mot) Exodus 27:20-30:10
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 43:10-27
In this Torah Portion we read about the clothing of the priest and their duties as priest. In fact, one entire chapter is set aside to describe the clothes of the High Priest that he was to wear for honor and glory. However, the portion begins with the last two verses of chapter 27 that speaks of the eternal light that was to burn continually before the veil in the Mishkan. The portion ends with a description of the altar of incense. Why do you think this division was used when the portion last week was devoted to the furnishing of the Mishkan? Why separate these two things out? It could be that scripture is saying here that the priests and their duties were to reflect these two vessels. Light symbolizing wisdom, and the Sprit of G-d and ending with the altar of incense, which might symbolize the priests prayers being lifted to G-d. This seems like a spiritual message to us as we continue to look at the clothing of the priests and the offerings. It should also speak to us as believers today as we go about each day to always be aware of who we are and what our life is to be.
This brings me to my first question, what is worship according to scripture? Remember from last week 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. Torah here is equated with truth. The question now might be what does that mean? In Leviticus 10:1-2 we see one example. 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.
Back to our portion tonight in Shemot 29:15-18 we read of the first offering made by Aaron and his sons as they learn how to worship G-d in spirit and in truth. This was a burnt offering completely dedicated to G-d. The blood of the ram in the second offering (Exodus 29:21) was used to touch the right ear, thumb and big toe of the person signifying that the priest would obey G-d in everything they heard, did and in wherever they walked. This is also known as the peace offering (Lev 29:31-32) Here Aaron and his sons ate the meat of this offering showing that they relied on G-d for everything.
So here we see an example of sprit and truth in 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. Now tell me what this means to us practically as we live our life each day?
It should guide us when we talk, interact with people, even in how we physically appear. Here in these verses we read that the clothes of the priest were to be for glory and honor. From the description what is one conclusion we can draw? The priest could be recognized by how he dressed. Now think of the service in the Mishkan as an example or template for our service in our personal sanctuary. Scripture says in I Cor. 6:19 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Given this, does it matter how we appear? Clothing does more than just act as a protective covering for our body. It says something about us. It speaks to the world around us. I think how we appear gives some idea of who we are and how we see ourselves. My point in this and every other aspect of how we relate to the world is to always remember who we are and to whom we belong. It is important to not put a barrier between someone and the Father because of how we look or what we do. G-d’s Word gives us a guideline on how to live for glory and honor.