Welcome to this week’s study of the Parasha (Torah Portion). Today’s portion of Torah, Ki Tisa(When You Take).
Ki Tisa (When You Take)
· Exodus 30:11–34:35
· 1 Kings 18:1–39
· Matthew 17:1–13
“Then YAH said to Moses, ‘When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay YAH a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them.” (Exodus 30:11–12)
Our last two Torah studies, Terumah and Tetzaveh, have focused on the design of the wilderness Tabernacle, furnishings, and priestly garments. This Shabbat continues with YAH’s instructions to Moses on the mountain.
The Israelites are to create the Sanctuary’s water basin, anointing oil, and incense. YAH tells Moses that He has chosen a “wise-hearted” artisan named Bezalel, along with his associate Oholiav, to lead the sacred construction project.
"See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah." (Exodus 31:2)
In order to fund the building of the Sanctuary, YAH commands Moses to take a census of the people of Israel and to instruct them to give a half shekel of silver.
“This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel ... as a contribution to YAHUVEH.” (Exodus 30:13)
Although the construction of the Sanctuary is an important and sacred task, YAH makes it clear that His commandment to rest on the Sabbath takes priority over this worthy goal.
We also may be working toward worthwhile achievements and even those that are for the purpose of serving YAH, but we must remember that YAH prefers us to put them on hold for a day in order to keep the Shabbat holy.
Resting and being refreshed on the seventh day Sabbath is a special sign of our covenantal relationship with the Almighty GOD.
It is a testimony that He is the Creator. And just as He created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, so are we to work for six days and rest on the seventh.
“It will be a sign between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days YAHUVEH made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’” (Exodus 31:17)
Standing in the Gap
"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said to him: 'Come, make us a god who shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.'" (Exodus 32:1)
While Moses is on Mount Sinai receiving YAH’s instruction, the people become impatient for his return and demand that Aaron make them a god they can see.
Aaron gives in to the pressure and fashions a golden calf, proclaiming the idol as their god: “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:4)
When YAH sees the people worshiping a golden calf, He threatens to destroy the nation of Israel and to start all over again with Moses.
“‘I have seen these people,’ YAH said to Moses, ‘and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave Me alone so that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.’” (Exodus 32:9–10)
Instead of accepting YAH’s offer to make him the beginning of a great nation, Moses stands in the gap and intercedes on behalf of the people of Israel.
We see in this Parasha that even though Moses prays for the people, he is so angry when he comes down from the mountain and witnesses their idolatry that he smashes the tablets of testimony that YAH had engraved with His own hand.
Moses then destroys the Golden Calf, and the primary instigators to this idolatry are put to death.
Although YAH relents from destroying Israel entirely, their sin is not without consequences – 3,000 men fall under the sword of judgment that day.
Amazingly enough, on Shavuot (Pentecost), which commemorates the giving of the Torah, YAH poured out His RUACH HAKODESH in Jerusalem soon after the resurrection of YAHUSHUA and the exact same number were saved!
“So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41)
HIS pouring out of YAH’s RUACH underscores the fact that YAHUSHUA did not come to condemn us but to save us. There is hope for us yet.
We have been given the Spirit of YAH to bring us into life, not death, by leading and guiding us into all truth.
YAH Gives Second Chances
Like the Israelites, some of us might go through periods of our lives where we descend into sin or fall away from YAH, but YAH promises the hope of restoration and renewal if we will agree to come back into His presence in repentance to find forgiveness.
This, perhaps, is represented by YAH calling Moses to come back up the mountain to receive a second set of tablets, even though Moses destroyed the first set in a rage.
“Now YAH said to Moses, ‘Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered.’” (Exodus 34:1)
YAH is so good! He passed in front of Moses and proclaimed to him His Divine character:
“ELOHIM, the LORD GOD, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness [chesed (covenant loyalty)] and truth; who keeps lovingkindness [chesed] for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.” (Exodus 34:6–7)
The more we become conformed and transformed into the image and likeness of YAH, in whose image we have been created, the more we will demonstrate these wonderful qualities of His chesed love, mercy, grace, patience, long-suffering, goodness, and truth.
We will become less judgmental and more merciful; we will criticize less and intercede more.
Oh, how we long to be changed – to be more like Him. Coming into covenant with ELOHIM is not about just following the rules; it is about having a deep, abiding, intimate relationship with a loving GOD.
Battle for the Eternal Covenant with Israel
Today, there is a portion of the Christian Church that believes in the doctrine of replacement theology, a fallacious teaching that contends YAH is no longer in covenant with the Jewish People – that He has disowned them and has replaced them with the Church.
Those who believe they are now YAH’s new Israel display an arrogance that starkly contrasts Moses’ humility – a man who could have replaced Israel but, instead, prayed for their survival.
The apostle Paul warned the church against the conceit of non-Jews in the family tree of YAH: “Do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.” (Romans 11:18)
Rather than replacing the tree, Gentile Believers are grafted in as branches to an ancient tree whose root is still Jewish.
It is quite impossible that YAH has substituted another people for His Chosen because He has promised that He will never forsake or abandon His people Israel:
“For YAH will not abandon His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance.” (Psalm 94:14)