B’ha’alotkha – “When You Set Up”

The name of this week’s parasha is Beha-alo-t’cha, which means “when you set up,” and covers Numbers 8:1 through 12:16.  This parasha’s name refers to Adonai’s instructions on setting up the 7 lamps of the golden lampstand, and how to face them and light the area in front of the lampstand, which was made according to the pattern God had shown to Moses.

In chapter 8, we read about the purification of the Levites and the necessary offerings that were presented.  The Levites were given completely to Adonai for serving Him at the Tent of Meeting and making atonement for the Israelis.  Men from the Levites were to serve God full-time at the Tent of Meeting by age 25 or older but must retire at age 50 from full-time service; however, they could continue to provide part-time assistance to those serving full-time at the Tent of Meeting.

In chapter 9, Adonai gives instructions on celebrating Passover.  Those unable to celebrate Passover because of uncleanliness due to contact with a dead body, or who were away on a journey, could celebrate it in the following month.  However, anyone who was able to celebrate Passover but refused to do so would be cut off from the Israelis.  Foreigners who wanted to celebrate Passover could do so according to the same standards for the Israelis, which were given in Exodus 12. During their journey to the Promised Land, the Jewish people obeyed Adonai by going when the cloud covering the Tent of the Testimony lifted and stopping when it settled.

In chapter 10, Moses was instructed by God on constructing 2 silver trumpets for use in gathering the Israelis together and for having the camps move out – these trumpets were to be blown by the priests. When the Israelis set out for the Promised Land, Moses asked Hobab, the son of Moses’ father-in-law Reuel the Midianite, to accompany them.  But when Hobab refused, Moses persisted, telling Hobab that he would experience every blessing the Israelis received from Adonai along the way.

Chapter 11 describes the Israelis’ complaints, and God’s punishments for these complaints, during their journey.  When they complained of hardships, Adonai punished them with fire, which stopped only after they begged Moses for help, and he interceded for them.

Moses pleaded to God for help in providing for the people when they complained over their lack of meat, and of eating nothing but manna.  Adonai told him to choose 70 Israeli elders to come to the Tent of Meeting – they would receive the Spirit of the Lord that was on Moses and help him provide for them.  The Israelis were to consecrate themselves for the following day when they would receive meat. They would receive meat for a month and eventually be sick of it.

When Moses questioned this strategy, God responded by telling Moses to see if He would do as He said.  Moses obeyed Adonai’s instructions and when the 70 elders received the Spirit, they prophesied during that time, but not afterwards.  Eldad and Meded, 2 of the selected elders, received the Spirit and prophesied in the camp without going to the Tent of Meeting.

When Moses was told of Eldad’s and Meded’s actions, Joshua, who was Moses’ assistant since youth, protested; however, Moses responded by saying he wished all the Israelis were prophets and had received the Spirit from the Lord.  As with the manna, God mercifully provided for the Israelis here by sending them quail and they gathered about 60 bushels of quail apiece, but He became angry with them because they were being ruled by an ungodly craving for meat rather than Adonai Himself, and He struck them with a plague.

The parasha ends with Miriam and Aaron grumbling against Moses’ authority by attacking his wife’s Cushite heritage and claiming that Adonai also spoke through them just like Moses.  God responded by telling the 3 of them to come to the Tent of Meeting, and after appearing there in a cloud, reaffirmed to Miriam and Aaron that Moses was His faithful servant.

Adonai’s anger was against them, and when the cloud disappeared, Miriam was leprous.  After Aaron’s pleas for mercy, Moses interceded for them, but God told Moses to keep her outside the camp for 7 days.  The Israelis waited there until Miriam rejoined them.

Parasha Beha-alo-t’cha teaches us that obeying Adonai’s commandments is required of His people.  Since those who disobey God’s commandments will suffer the consequences, we would be wise to humble ourselves and obey Adonai’s commandments, for He will honor those who do so.

Although Moses was recognized for his humility and was declared to be a faithful servant in all Adonai’s house by Adonai Himself, the writer of the letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews) tells us in Hebrews 3 that Messiah Yeshua is worthy of greater honor than Moses. The faithful service that Moses gave in all Adonai’s house was pointing us to Yeshua’s greater ministry, because He is faithful as a son over Adonai’s house.  Just as a son is given greater honor than a servant, God gave Messiah Yeshua greater honor than He gave to Moses.

As the King of kings and Lord of lords, Yeshua is worthy of all our honor, loyalty, praise, and worship.  So, if you haven’t done so already, loyally serve and follow Yeshua as Lord and Savior, for God will honor those who serve Yeshua!