This week we begin a new book in the Torah, the book of Numbers. The Hebrew name is “In the wilderness”. This Shabbat is the Shabbat before the new month of Sivan, therefore we also ask HaShem to bless this new month. Although the primary issue in this week’s Torah portion is the census, I would like to talk about the command that one must redeem his firstborn male. We know that the tribe of Levite took the place of the first born male. The verse on which I would like to focus is Numbers 3:45b,
“…and the Levites shall be Mine- I am the L-rd.”
What can we learn from this verse? That although it was the firstborn males of all the other tribes who were redeemed, it was the Levites who because an unique possession of the L-rd G-d Almighty. This special relationship between the Levites and HaShem pictures the unique relationship between Messiah and G-d. In order to do the work of redemption one must belong to G-d. Why is this? Because G-d Himself is the Redeemer. The Levites only were the vessel that G-d used to accomplish this work.
It is clear from the Bible that Messiah is G-d in human form, but what about the verses which seem to show the Messiah in a status lower than the Father? There are two issues which one must not confuse. First is that Yeshua is both fully man and fully G-d. His body was no different than ours. His body was not G-d. So when the body of Yeshua died one should not think that G-d died. Scripture makes it clear that G-d entered into humanity in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth. How did He do this? When Yeshua was conceived by the Holy Spirit without male seed, in the womb of the virgin named Miryam. Although the identity of Yeshua is G-d and therefore worthy of worship; He is also fully man, a man who was chosen by G-d to be a vessel for the redemption of mankind. This is the second issue. Although Yeshua is G-d; as a vessel of G-d, Yeshua was in a subservient relationship to His Father and demonstrated this in many ways.
The point which one should glean and emphasize is this: the Living G-d humbled Himself and entered into humanity in order to redeem mankind. Although Yeshua is G-d, as fully man He demonstrated to us how man should relate with his Father in heaven. The Levites lived as normal human beings, but when they did the work which HaShem called them to do in the Temple, they stopped representing their fellow Israelites and became representatives of the Living G-d. It was for this reason that HaShem placed upon them special requirements.
Today, as believers we are also representatives of G-d and should embrace with joy and with a fervent commitment the restrictions that our faith places upon us. Too often we want to emphasize freedom and liberty rather than seeing the restrictions as blesses. Why are these restrictions a blessing? Because these restrictions enable us to do the work of G-d, and through this service one experiences G-d in a much more powerful way than those who neglect their calling.
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