Exodus 35:1-38:20, 38:21-40:38
Shabbat HaChodesh & Chazak
Maftir: Exodus 12:1-20
Haftarah: Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
This Shabbat is full of changes because of the uniqueness of it. It is Shabbat HaChodesh which is the Shabbat before the new month of Nissan. The month of Nissan is when Passover occurs which is the Festival of our Redemption: both the Exodus of Egypt and the Cross of our Messiah took place in this month on the same day. We replace the normal Maftir and Haftarah with special readings. This Shabbat is also Shabbat Chazak as we complete the book of Exodus. Finally it is important to note that we read two Torah portions this Shabbat. This often occurs in years which are not leap years on the Jewish calendar.
The eyes are important because they take in so much information. What one sees can impact them in many ways. It is wise to guard one’s eyes from those things that are in conflict with holiness. Looking at the wrong things can have a most negative effect on one’s spiritual condition. At the end of this week’s Torah readings, Moses receives the command to set up the Tabernacle— a portable place of worship. It was clear that the Children of Israel were on a journey into the Promised Land. These two things are closely related. In other words, one cannot arrive at the proper destination without worship. The worship of the G-d of Israel has a most positive effect on the individual and assists him in moving forward in the will of HaShem.
Earlier HaShem led the Children of Israel by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. Now there was a significant change. The pillar of fire and the cloud represented the very presence of G-d with His people. Now those same symbols are being used as one reads at the end of the Torah readings,
“For a cloud of HaShem was upon the Tabernacle daily and fire would be nightly upon it; before the eyes of the House of Israel in all their journeys.” Exodus 40:38
What one can learn from this change is that the presence of the L-rd is now experienced through worship and also through worship one receives revelation on how to move forward in His will. Although worship is offered to HaShem, it has many vital benefits for the believer. It is important to note that in the same way that the Children of Israel did not worship G-d in Egypt, i.e. in the bondage of their sin, today it is impossible for one to worship G-d without the Spirit of Truth that Yeshua spoke of in John chapter 4.
“…For the hour is coming when not on this mountain and not in Jerusalem you will worship the Father…the hour shall come and now is when true worshippers of G-d will worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. For worshippers as these the Father is seeking. G-d is Spirit and the ones who worship Him must worship in Spirit and in Truth.” John 4:21-24
It would have been impossible for the Children of Israel to ignore the Tabernacle worship and arrived in the Promised Land and similarly it is impossible for one to ignore Yeshua and the Spirit that faith in Him provides and arrive in the Kingdom.
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