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Show them how to Find Me

Show them how to Find Me

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Published by Paul Ikonen

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Published by: Paul Ikonen on Feb 12, 2011
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Show Them How to Find Me

My Parshah Journal Paul Ikonen 11 February 2011 Portion: Tetzaveh Exodus 27:20-30:10 The name of this portion is tetzaveh, which shares the same root word with mitzvah. Their root word, tzavta, can mean togetherness, binding, or connection. When combined to form mitzvah, we define it as command, but there is much more than that, it is an action that connects to the values of the Most High God. When combined to form tetzaveh we translate into “you command”, but it can also be interpreted as “show how to connect”. Our portion begins with God telling the Priest to show the people how they can connect with God! One of the key concepts that you find over and over in this portion is God’s use of imagery when describing how He views His relationship (think tzavta) with His chosen people. The very first image we see is the image of pure olive oil and a continuous flame. The verse says “Show the children how to connect with me by bringing pure olive oil”. Pure olive oil means that the harvester removes all debris from the crop, no twigs, leafs, dirt in the crop to be pressed; the olives are set apart (holy) for a specific purpose. That purpose is also significant from the normal process of olive oil production, instead of crushing the olive they are beaten, it says, for the sake of the light. The text says that the beating is to cause the lamp to burn continually. This image brings the words of Yeshua to mind, “You will be hated by all because of my Name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Mt 10:22) and “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 5:16). In verse 21 we read that God made both the making of the oil and the preparation of the light a statute for ever (same word used at the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 17:7 &13)

throughout their generations on the behalf of (or you could say, for the benefit of) the children of Israel. In the first five verses of the following chapter we transition from the setting up of the Tent of Meeting to the installment and sanctification of the Cohen. Moses is called on to be the mediator of the covenant calling on Aaron and his sons to be separated from the people to hold their office as go-betweens on behalf of God and Israel. The Cohen are designated by their dress which Keil & Delitzsch comment was “necessary that their unholiness should be covered over with holy clothe”, they go on to expand that thought by saying “sanctification…not merely the removal of the uncleanness which flower from sin, but, as it were, the transformation of the natural into the glory of God” (Keil & Delizsch, Commentary on Exodus). Again we see that the mitzvoth are not only a command, in this instance they are a way for the Cohen to experience a connection with God. Another theme that we witness in this portion is that for all the work going into setting apart the Cohen so that they can be instruments of God in His plan for Israel, God is also calling on and using the general populace as well. In 28:3, Moses is asked to find “skilled persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest to Me.” God calls for skilled persons to become part of the process of Aaron’s consecration, and not only are people called on in this instance but if you read all through the Torah men and women are not spectators of God’s plan but participants. The portion goes on to read of the creation of the ephod, the ceremonial garments. Jumping down to verse twelve, we get a fantastic picture of how God views His people and what the role of the Priest was to be. We read: “You shall put two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for a memorial.” The names that were placed on the ephod were engraved on precious stones; precious to God are His children. And the Priest, when He is serving God, has on his shoulders, literally and figuratively, the nation he was installed to serve.

Also on the Breastpiece of Judgment, the names of the tribes of Israel appear, so that they are “carried over his heart when he enters the holy place, a memorial before the LORD continually.” Chapter twenty-nine begins the process of consecrating the Priests for service, explaining the sacrifices that were to be made. There are a lot of symbols and imagery and story in the remaining verses but there is one set of verses I would like to end with in my study. At the end of twenty-nine we read of God’s purpose in all of this. The ceremony, the priests, the lamp that continually burns, all of it is given meaning in verses 45 and 46. “I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God.” It’s all about connection with Adonai El Shaddai., the LORD God Almighty. God is showing through picture and through obedience, that the plan to reunite God and the nations of this fallen world is on and that Israel has been chosen to observe it first, and than they are allowed to be a part of God’s plan in reaching out to the nations. Later, through the work and sacrifice of Jesus, the nations will be brought into the family and also given the task that was (and still is) at hand. Our task, just as it was for the Priests to Israel, is to show them how to find God.

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