Parashat Terumah (Donation)
Shemot (Exodus) 25:1–27:19
In this week’s portion we read:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.”
God is the Creator of the world; everything belongs to Him and He can do with it as He desires. Yet, from the beginning we find that God created us for the specific purpose of relationship with Him. While He instructed Moses to tell Israel to take a donation for Him, it was not the riches that He desired, but the heart of each person who gave. He said that each person should give as His heart leads him.
God also instructed Israel to gather a “contribution” not just as a means to test the hearts of the people, but also to build a sanctuary:
And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.
The crucial part of this verse is that God desired to “dwell among” His people! As I wrote, God created us so that we could have relationship with Him; from the beginning, He desired to dwell among us. Yeshua Himself is the very embodiment of this principle. He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. He came to earth so that we could return to relationship with our Creator:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
But this is not just something of the past! The promise of uninhibited fellowship with God is a promise for the future, as the Prophet Zechariah prophesied!
“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD. “And many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. ”
Zechariah 2:10-11 (2:14-15 in the Hebrew Scriptures)
Zechariah prophesied that a day is coming when the Lord Himself will dwell in our midst! I personally love how clear it is in this scripture that God (the LORD of hosts) is sending Messiah, and that we (humankind, God’s creation) will know this.
My dear brothers and sisters, we have something great to look forward to! A day is coming where He will make everything new; a day is coming when the fulfillment of that written in Exodus will be accomplished, when the Tabernacle of God will dwell among us for eternity:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”