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. In both our Parashah and Haftarah this week, we see this amazing desire reflected in His commands to build a place in which He can dwell among us.
Parashat Terumah (Donation) refers to God’s instructions to Moses and the children of Israel to collect for him an offering in order to build Him a sanctuary:
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.”
I love this concept that the offerings were to be given only from the generosity and inspiration of each person's heart. It speaks to God's love of a "cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7) as well as the importance of a proper heart posture that we ought to have towards Him. God does not force anyone into relationship with Him, but instead, desires to dwell among those whose hearts are soft towards Him.
In the Haftarah, we read of the beginning of building the house of the LORD in the days of King Solomon:
Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, that is, the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
1 Kings 6:1
As we continue to read, we find that the purpose of building God’s house was for Him to dwell among the people of Israel.
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 among us.
From the beginning of creation, we see that He created us not to be robots but rather, to be in true relationship with Him. 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 in order for Him 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.
This, however, is not the end of the story… it was actually the beginning of a new chapter where God would demonstrate His amazing endless love and grace to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile (Romans 1:16). In spite of our failure to comply with all that He called us to, and our sinful nature that separates us from Him, His desire to dwell among us has always remained. One of the greatest proofs of His desire is found in the image of His Son, whom the Father sent to dwell among us:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Yeshua came not only to dwell among us, but also to pay the price for our sin, our un-holiness, which separated us from the Father. In doing so, Yeshua opened the door for reconciliation between the Father and us, where we can be at one with Him, fulfilling God's ultimate desire to dwell among us.
My dear brothers and sisters, if we truly understand this, our hearts will be inspired to give ourselves to a unified purpose to proclaim and prepare His Kingdom for the day He will come and dwell among us once again:
“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)
Check out previous blogs on this parashah!
Dwelling Among UsFebruary 3, 2022
Preparing His Kingdom!February 18, 2021
The MenorahFebruary 26, 2020
Did you know? — Lone Soldier
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