A few hours ago I sat down to pen this post when instead a post about kidding and farm life in the snow rolled out of my head… So, ‘take 2!’
I have not made it a habit of commenting on the weekly Torah portions, but for some reason, I have several random thoughts this week to share… Nothing really connected. Just a few thoughts on what many may regard a minor pieces…
The portion, Ki Tisa, meaning ‘when you elevate,’ is Exodus 30:11-34:35, and covers a lot of territory. Sabbath as a perpetual covenant sign (31:16-17)! Idolatry/golden calf as syncretism (32:5)!
I just want to point out a few other items that I found interesting…
30:34-38. Incense on the altar. As we studied the furniture of the Holy Place in the last weeks, I’m not sure why it didn’t hit me, but as I read of the incense on the altar several important images came to mind. First, knowing our prayers are a fragrant incense, the locatio of the altar of incense should remind us that though we approach through the veil (a picture of Messiah, as we saw two weeks ago) we can’t get any closer to the throne than when in prayer! The light of the Ruach and the Bread of Life on our left and right as we pass through the body of the Holy Place to prostrate, as close to the throne as we can get, at the altar of incense.
An additional thought on the incense for this altar is the fact that there is a very specific ‘recipe’ and it is not to be used in any other way for any other reason. Our worship is to be as our Father commands and it is to be given/shared/lavished on NONE but Him. It is a seemingly simple lesson, yet the golden calf incident a short chapter later indicates the message was lost on the people…. Later, in Leviticus 10, we see Nadav and Avihu violating this same principle in a slightly different way. Bottom-line, who are we to tell Yahweh how we will worship Him? Christendom has many false practices that we know are wrong, but just because He hasn’t judged, we think it is okay… We forget, Judgment will come!
32:1. Moses was gone from the camp for a while. He was doing exactly what God called Him to do, but the people became impatient and doubted! As I read this, my mind drifted to the Elijah series I wrote a while back and the conclusions I shared about possible eschatology scenarios in the near future. Among those is the understanding that Scripture teaches that we will again go into the wilderness for a period of time. Reading this passage on Moses I pondered whether those called to be ‘Moses’ and ‘Elijahs’ in their camps will leave camp on ‘missions for the Father’ for extended periods of time. Honestly, the thought has crossed my mind more than a few times, but here I saw the warning to NOT lose faith in their absence. Let him who has ears, to hear.
‘Obstinate/stiffnecked people.’ There are really only a dozen or so places in Scripture where Israel is described as ‘stiffnecked’ or ‘obstinate.’ Other similar descriptors are used and often unfairly assumed to be a particular condition of Israel that we are exempt from. (I submit otherwise! Christendom is extremely stiffnecked, but I digress…) Four of the dozen or so uses of this phrase occur in this portion (32:9; 33:3,5; 34:9). While the phrase stuck out to me, another was equally obvious: ‘My angel/My presence shall go before you,’ or some variant (32:34; 33:2, 12, 14). What I found particularly interesting, and terrifying, was the intersection of the two: obstinate v. My angel! Notice Exodus 32:33-34,
33 Yahweh said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. 34 But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I [a]punish, I will [b]punish them for their sin.”
The Angel of the Presence, Yeshua, would be in their midst in spite of their sin, but Judgment Day would/will come. This is a picture of the wheat and tares.
How many thought, ‘Oh, the angel is leading, so we must be okay. He doesn’t really care if we grumble, rebel, act wickedly, etc…’ How many today stand in pulpits or sit in pews and have no real concern for obedience because, ‘God is in this place. We can feel it! So, we must be doing something right!’ And, He is tolerating them until the day of judgment! This picture is played out over and over in Scripture! It will be played out again.
32:20!! Ever wonder why Moses burned and ground the golden calf to powder, then scattered on the waters and made the people drink? The water was that brook which flowed from the throne of God. Holy water, as it were (Deu. 9:21). Throwing the powdered calf into the holy water and making the Bride drink it was the test for adultery! Read Numbers 5:11-30 and Revelation 8:10-11!! Maybe this is how the Levites knew who to strike down when they went through the camp…