Beha’alotekkha – “When You Go Up”

This week Parasha is Beha’alotekkha which means “When You Go Up”, and it covers numbers 8:1 – 12:16.

We begin in chapter 8.  The Lord spoke to Moses and instructed him to make the seven lamps and how to make them and that they would shine light on what was being done just as the Messiah himself is the light that shines on us.

Also in chapter 8, we are told of the cleansing of the Levites for their service to God.   This dedication was to be performed by water purification.  Their entire bodies were to be shaved and their clothes washed to make them fit to be offered to God. The leaders of the congregation then laid hands on the Levites.  Following their dedication,   two sacrifices were made on their behalf using bulls. It set the stage for the work of the Levites.  The Levites service to God began at the age of 25 and ended at the age of 50. One can see why the age of 50 was the retirement, as this was hard physical work tearing down and setting up the tabernacle every time they moved.

Chapter 9 begins with the second Passover the Israeli nation would observe.  The question was asked by the men, possibly carrying Joseph’s bones to the Promised Land — how can we participate in the Passover when we have touched a dead body?  Moses did not have the answer.  So he called upon God and El Gabor, mighty God instructed Moses that they may celebrate the Passover one month later. Now we read in John chapter 19 that Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Yeshua along with Nicodemus, prepared Yeshua’s body for burial on Passover.  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus would not be able to celebrate Passover on that day but would rather have to wait a month, and this most likely was a moment when they made their stand that they followed Yeshua.

In this chapter, Elohim, who appears in the cloud by day and the fire by night, hovered over the camp. When God  would move the cloud or fire over the tabernacle,   this would be a signal for the Levites to pack up the tabernacle and to follow God wherever he went.

In chapter 10, the three- in-one God commands Moses to fashion two silver trumpets that are to be played when it is time to move.

When God in the fire or cloud moved, two appointed men would sound the trumpets — alerting the people to pack up the tabernacle and move on.

In chapter 11, the Israelis had not traveled very far when they began kvetching about the manna.  The Israelis were tired of eating it because their faith was weak.  Each time they started to complain, the glory of the Lord appeared and the Lord was displeased with their lack of gratitude.  Of course manna is the picture of our Lord Messiah Yeshua. Not only were the people complaining about the food, but Moses was complaining about the people.  Moses asked God “why have you put this burden on me” in reference to the people.  What we are seeing here is the growth that Moses needs to truly lead his people.  We should remember that when God instructed Moses to lead the Israeli nation out of Egypt, Moses suggests his brother instead of him. So while Moses is a very humble man, he really does not desire to take on this responsibility.   God will continually mold Moses and change him to be a leader and to accept responsibility of the people.   With God’s guidance, Moses chose 70 elders to help with the responsibility of leading this very large multitude.  The people rejected the manna, so God gave them quail, and he gave them so much quail that they became sick from it.  God brought a plague upon them and many perished.

In chapter 12, we read of the jealousy of Miriam and Aaron, the older sister and brother of Moses. Miriam is not very happy with the wife of Moses.   Many scholars elude that it was the color of her skin or the fact that she was not Jewish.   We are not told, but in any case she complained “has the Lord only spoken through Moses? ”Adonai hears this and he summons Moses, Miriam, and Aaron to the tent of meeting.   Adonai says,  “When I talk to a prophet,  it is in a dream or vision.  When I talk to Moses, IT” is voice to voice, he is faithful in all my house.   After the Lord spoke this,  he departed and with that Miriam developed leprosy.    Miriam was relegated to  reside outside of the camp for seven days.   During those seven days, Moses interceded for her even though she was jealous of him and God healed her and she could return to the camp.

Some applications for us to think about:

When God instructed  the Levites to be purified for their service to him, we should be reminded that we are to be a service to God. The important thing for us to remember as believers is not merely  how we walk but where we walk.

We are to walk in the light as Yeshua is the light.  We have fellowship with one another based on the blood of our Messiah.  When we walk in the light, we see our imperfections. Just as the Levites shaved and washed to expose their imperfections, it is our opportunity to see our sins and to ask for forgiveness and repent.

When the people of the Exodus walked through the desert,  they had the very presence of God the Father with them.  Abraham and Jacob had the Christophany of Messiah Yeshua., as well as the disciples.

When Miriam grumbled about Moses, with her brother Aaron by her side,  Miriam was the only one afflicted with leprosy.   Why was Aaron not afflicted with leprous?  I offer this, Aaron was God’s high priest.  How could he serve as a leper to the people. This will be the second time Aaron has acted very foolishly.  The first was when he fashioned the golden calf and claimed that it magically appeared.

It is said in scripture that Moses was meek and humble,  just as Yeshua was meek and humble as the Lamb.  We should not think that one who is meek is weak but rather obedient to God and doing His will.

Brothers and sisters,  we all should desire to be meek and humble.