This week’s Torah portion is a double, Vayakhel, which means “And He Assembled”. And Pekudei, which means “Accounts”, it covers Exodus 35-40:38
Last week, Jerry explained how Moses had to cut out new tablets, to replace the ones he had smashed, and that the Lord would write on them and that Moses was given the Torah.
In Chapter 35, Moses assembled the whole Jewish Nation, and said to them, “These are the things the Lord has commanded you to do: For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be a holy day, a day of rest, and there shall be no work. If anyone does work, he shall be put to death. Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings”. This explains, in part, why many Jewish people light a fire/candle prior to the observance of the Sabbath.
We read earlier, in Exodus 25-26, God’s instructions for the building of the Tabernacle. God repeated these requirements. Moses invited the people to bring their free-will offerings for the construction of the Tabernacle. This was not a required offering but completely voluntary, and the people brought in abundance. Remember, just a short time earlier, the people had sinned greatly by making the golden calf from their offerings. This time, the people gave cloth, animal skins, gold, wood (God’s free-will offerings) in such abundance that the craftsmen told Moses that the people gave much more than needed. Moses commanded the people to cease because they had given enough. Here is a beautiful picture of a people forgiven by God, and giving generously out of the gratitude of their hearts. This is a reminder that we are invited to give, and we have a choice to be open-handed and generous or to be stingy and selfish. Do we give just enough to keep up appearances or are we giving freely and joyfully? The proportion of our giving is a true indicator of the value we place on the things of God.
Not only did the people bring their possessions to the Tabernacle, but they gave their time. Adonai gave them talents that they could use. He chose Batzalel, (whose name means “In the Shadow of the Lord”). The grandson of Ur (from the tribe of Judah), and filled him with the Spirit of God with skill, ability, and knowledge, to design and produce all the tools and ornamentation for the Tabernacle. The Three-In-One God told Betzalel what He wanted the Tabernacle to be constructed out of. Betzalel was to start with acacia wood.
I can tell, as a woodworker, that acacia wood is very hard, dense and strong. I can see why the Lord would choose acacia.
God also directed Betzalel to use gold and bronze – we know our Rabbi is fond of gold. The women, using the skills God gave them, made fabric with wool and goats’ hair. They spun cloth in purple, blue and scarlet to make the drapes, which were quite thick with many layers. God also chose Ahali-av to be Betzalel’s assistant. Note that God gave them these gift and abilities (as He give to us also) to use for His glory.
God was very specific in the details of the curtains and roof of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), which was made of goats’ hair and the frames of acacia wood, and in the details of Aron HaKodesh – the Holy Ark. If you ever stop by the office, you’ll notice that we have an Ark that houses our Torah scroll, and it is made of acacia wood.
God provided directions for constructing the mercy seat, the table, the menorah, the altar of incense, the altar of sacrifice, and the outer court.
I realize this is a quick overview, but when you read these chapters, God is exact and specific in His measurements, because this is where He would dwell with us. This tells us that it was extremely important to God that the people adhere precisely to His instructions. The Israelis, God’s chosen people, did exactly as God instructed.
We see from last week, how the people repented from making the golden calf, and now were giving freely of their time, talents and treasures. Their hearts were in serving Adonai for His Glory. Brothers and sisters, do you serve our King for His Glory or for your glory? Do you give Him the credit for the work He does in you or do you take the credit here and now? Often times when we have sinned and have seen the error of our ways, we then humble ourselves and repent and Elohim uses us for His great works. Praise El Elyon, the God Most High for His mercy and forgiveness?
This reminds me of the Parable of the Lost Sheet that Yeshua taught. The shepherd had lost one of his sheep, so he left the 99 to find his lost one. When he brought the one back, he told his friends and neighbors “rejoice with me for I have found my sheep that was lost. In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner, who repents, than over the 99 who need no repentance”. We can see in the people’s repentance from the golden calf what it means to be given a second chance, a fresh start, and their joy in carrying out God’s instructions that was celebrated in Heaven. When we make mistakes, the Lord brings us back to Him – back in His fold, and He uses us in mighty ways.
In the Brit Chadashah, in 2 Corinthians, we are reminded of the cheerful giver. Yeshua tells us that if we give much, we will receive much and that we should have joy in our heart when we give to help others and this brings glory to Adonai. When the Lord blesses you, how do you thank the Lord? Do you thank Him graciously or grudgingly, or does greed take over and you keep it for yourself? Always remember you either bring Glory to the Lord or Glory to Satan. Whose team are you on?
What we can glean most from this Parasha is repentance, coming back to the Father, and then giving – the Lord loves a cheerful giver. “Adonai is able to make all grace abound to us and He tells us that we may abound in every good work as it is written. He has distributed freely, given to the poor, and his righteousness endures forever”.
The gift we are given is so great, yet often times we find it difficult and awkward to share Yeshua’s gift of salvation with our neighbors.
If we found the cure for cancer, would we not tell those who suffer from it?
God has given us the cure for everything in Yeshua. We must proclaim who God is, do His will, and give freely as our brothers and sisters did in the construction of the Tabernacle – so that the world may know who He is.
Brother and Sisters, Will you do what He has commanded you to do?