Parashat Terumah (Donation)
Shemot (Exodus) 25:1-27:19
Haftarah: I Kings 5:26-6:13
The miracle of God desiring to dwell among humankind gets lost on us; it is one of the most incredible aspects of God's character that He, the Creator of the Universe, wants to dwell with us.
As I was reading the Scripture portions for this week, and reflecting on this amazing phenomenon, I once again was able to see the consistency of the Word of God. From the creation of the world, when the world was in chaos, God brought order, and as He brought His order into this world, He created us humans. God created us to be in relationship with us, and from the beginning, He gave us precepts to live by, with a free will to choose Him or not.
So when we read in this week's Parashah where God instructs Moses and the children of Israel to collect an offering to build Him a sanctuary, we should not be surprised, because He desires to dwell among us:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to take for Me an offering; from every man whose generous heart inspires him you shall take My offering. And this is the contribution which you are to take 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 breast piece. And they shall do 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 vessels, just so you shall construct it.”
As we can see from the verses above the giving was to be from a generous heart which I personally believe was a cheerful heart which understand that everything that we have is from God and for God. And not only that, but a heart that understand the amazing miracle that despite of the fact that we were separated from God, He still desire to dwell among us.
In the Haftarah, we read once again of God’s desire to dwell among us, only that this time, it was during the days of King Solomon:
Now the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, “As for this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will fulfill My word with you which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not abandon My people Israel.”
1 Kings 6:11-13
Again, I believe it is vital for us to recognize how incredible it is that our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Redeemer of Israel, desired to dwell among His children. The fact is, He still desires to dwell with us.
He created us not to be robots but rather, to be in true relationship with Him. We see this in the beautiful story of Creation, and the way He interacts with Adam & Chava (Eve). However, we also find that from the beginning, we humans failed to stand in accordance with His standards of holiness. In 1Kings 6:11-13, God sets a condition for His presence to dwell among Israel and not to abandon them: Israel would need to walk in His statutes, execute His ordinances, and keep all of His commandments. Yet, we failed to do so again and again.
Thankfully, unlike us, God is holy, and does not change. What that means for us is that, despite our sin, His plan of redemption from the beginning of time remains the same. I believe that, from the beginning, God knew we would reject Him and sin. However, since He does not change, and never abandoned His desire to dwell among us, He predestined His Son to dwell among us:
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.
Yeshua came to dwell among us so that the Father can reconcile us back to Himself. Yeshua has opened the way for us to have eternal fellowship with Him, where we will choose Him with a sincere and cheerful heart:
"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)
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