Bamidbar בְּמִדְבַּר - In the Wilderness
Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-22
Apostolic Scripture: Matthew 4:1-17
Reading #7 - Numbers 4:1–20
This reading is about “coverings”. When they get ready to move on and have to pack up the Tabernacle, Hashem has instructed them to use coverings over the holy items. He does not want the sons of Kohath touching anything holy. He wants everything to remain holy. He is a caring and merciful Elohim. He wants things taken care of properly with order. I think we forget how holy and special the Tabernacle and all the items contained are -- and of course the Holy of Holies. The presence of Hashem is so wonderful and glorious that much care must be given in the how and way this will occur. We have no idea how incredible the presence of Hashem is. We weren’t there. But, Hashem gives special instructions -- in case we forget. And when the Temple returns, and the glory of Adonai fills the Temple -- we must be ready for special procedures and careful preparation.
When you think of “coverings”, you may think of the Kippah -- the little hat that Jewish men wear. It is done to honor Elohim. And to not be like “gentiles”. I had heard that it is a covering that covers you from the presence of angels above. Whatever the reason, it is a symbol of being “covered” in order to maintain Elohim’s holiness, just like the articles of the Tabernacle. Today, think about your own life. What kind of “coverings” do you have that protect you? We use umbrellas in the rain, blankets at night, and hats in the sun (and sports games). But, what do we do spiritually? Do we cover ourselves with purity, righteousness, peace and love? This type of spiritual covering could certainly maintain holiness with Hashem in our lives. Anger, hate, lying, cheating -- any sin, will keep us “uncovered” and “naked”, not preparing us to be in the presence or holiness of Hashem. Try to prepare yourself for the holiness of Hashem. “Cover” yourself with holy things, not evil. All so you can enjoy His presence!
Reading #7 - Numbers 4:1–20
4:1 Hashem spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “Take a census of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, 3 from thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all who enter into the service to do the work in the Tent of Meeting.
4 “This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the Tent of Meeting, regarding the most holy things. 5 When the camp moves forward, Aaron shall go in with his sons; and they shall take down the veil of the screen, cover the ark of the Testimony with it, 6 put a covering of sealskin on it, spread a blue cloth over it, and put in its poles.
7 “On the table of show bread they shall spread a blue cloth, and put on it the dishes, the spoons, the bowls, and the cups with which to pour out; and the continual bread shall be on it. 8 They shall spread on them a scarlet cloth, and cover it with a covering of sealskin, and shall put in its poles.
9 “They shall take a blue cloth and cover the lamp stand of the light, its lamps, its snuffers, its snuff dishes, and all its oil vessels, with which they minister to it. 10 They shall put it and all its vessels within a covering of sealskin, and shall put it on the frame.
11 “On the golden altar they shall spread a blue cloth, and cover it with a covering of sealskin, and shall put in its poles.
12 “They shall take all the vessels of ministry with which they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a blue cloth, cover them with a covering of sealskin, and shall put them on the frame.
13 “They shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth on it. 14 They shall put on it all its vessels with which they minister about it, the fire pans, the meat hooks, the shovels, and the basins—all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread on it a covering of sealskin, and put in its poles.
15 “When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furniture of the sanctuary, as the camp moves forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to carry it; but they shall not touch the sanctuary, lest they die. The sons of Kohath shall carry these things belonging to the Tent of Meeting.
16 “The duty of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be the oil for the light, the sweet incense, the continual meal offering, and the anointing oil, the requirements of all the tabernacle, and of all that is in it, the sanctuary, and its furnishings.”
17 Hashem spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 18 “Don’t cut off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites; 19 but do this to them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in and appoint everyone to his service and to his burden; 20 but they shall not go in to see the sanctuary even for a moment, lest they die.”
Wonderful last verse in 18 “In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, and with the birds of the sky, and with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, and will make them lie down safely.” After all that mankind will do to Hashem, ignore Him, forget Him, disobey Him -- He will restore us. He has an unconditional love for us that exceeds anything we know on this planet. Imagine if we treated others like He treats us. There would be no war, no fighting, no starvation, abuse, etc. Because no matter what we do, He still loves us and will redeem us. Love Adonai with your whole heart, soul and strength. And try to do good.
In verse 13 we read that they “forgot Him”. They went after other gods, did their own thing, disobeyed and literally forgot about Adonai. We can read this and think, “How could they do this?”. And yet we do it too! Every time we disobey Torah we are “forgetting” Hashem! We are forgetting His unconditional love and forgiveness. His faithfulness to us every day. I notice the closer I try to get to Hashem, the more severe the littlest disobedience appears to become. I can hardly stand it anymore when I disobey. My challenge to you today is to think about how you “forget” Hashem in your life. Correct what you find and do it immediately. Disobedience separates us from Hashem. But, gratefully He will always bring us back.
Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-22
2:1 “Say to your brothers, ‘My people!’
and to your sisters, ‘My loved one!’
2 Contend with your mother!
Contend, for she is not my wife,
neither am I her husband;
and let her put away her prostitution from her face,
and her adulteries from between her breasts;
3 Lest I strip her naked,
and make her bare as in the day that she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and set her like a dry land,
and kill her with thirst.
4 Indeed, on her children I will have no mercy;
for they are children of unfaithfulness;
5 For their mother has played the prostitute.
She who conceived them has done shamefully;
for she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
who give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my flax,
my oil and my drink.’
6 Therefore behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns,
and I will build a wall against her,
that she can’t find her way.
7 She will follow after her lovers,
but she won’t overtake them;
and she will seek them,
but won’t find them.
Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband;
for then it was better with me than now.’
8 For she didn’t know that I gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil,
and multiplied to her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.
9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time,
and my new wine in its season,
and will pluck away my wool and my flax which should have covered her nakedness.
10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers,
and no one will deliver her out of my hand.
11 I will also cause all her celebrations to cease:
her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her solemn assemblies.
12 I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,
about which she has said, ‘These are my wages that my lovers have given me;
and I will make them a forest,’
and the animals of the field shall eat them.
13 I will visit on her the days of the Baals,
to which she burned incense,
when she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels,
and went after her lovers,
and forgot Me,” says Hashem.
14 “Therefore behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
15 I will give her vineyards from there,
and the valley of Achor for a door of hope;
and she will respond there,
as in the days of her youth,
and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
16 It will be in that day,” says Hashem,
“that you will call me ‘my husband,’
and no longer call me ‘my master.’
17 For I will take away the names of the Baals out of her mouth,
and they will no longer be mentioned by name.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field,
and with the birds of the sky,
and with the creeping things of the ground.
I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land,
and will make them lie down safely.
19 I will betroth you to me forever.
Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion.
20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness;
and you shall know Hashem..
21 It will happen in that day, I will respond,” says Hashem,
“I will respond to the heavens,
and they will respond to the earth;
22 and the earth will respond to the grain, and the new wine, and the oil;
and they will respond to Jezreel.
All three times that Yeshua is tempted He uses Scripture to refute the enemy. I suggest that we would do the same. Whenever I feel like I am under “attack” and things are going poorly I may pray, “Greater is He in me – than He who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4. It helps me to remember that Hashem will always be with me and that He is far greater than any pesky demon. Right? Also, the power of the spoken word of Adonai makes a powerful weapon. We know His word is holy and right – it gives life and protects. Use it.
In verse 17 we read, “...repent the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” I believe this is exactly why Hashem sent Yeshua, His emanation to the world. To have everyone repent and turn back towards Hashem. People were straying from Hashem and His Truth. They were following false idols and disobeying His anointed Torah instructions. Yeshua knew the Temple was going to be destroyed, the people persecuted and sent away. He came to usher in the Messianic Age – an age of peace and His presence. But, people did not believe Him, killed Him and punishment came. Here is the great news – He (the Mashiach) is coming back. And this time He will usher in the Messianic Age and the Olam Haba. My challenge is to you for conviction. To be convicted of your sins and to repent. To teshuvah and make retribution for what you have done. I believe the sooner we do this, the sooner He will come back. Let’s start today. Make things right with Hashem and your neighbor. Do not delay! Amen!
Apostolic Scripture: Matthew 4:1-17
4:1 Then Yeshua was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 When He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was hungry afterward. 3 The tempter came and said to Him, “If you are the Son of G-d, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of Adonai's mouth.’
5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city. He set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If you are the Son of G-d, throw yourself down, for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and,
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you don’t dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Yeshua said to him, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not test the Hashem your Elohim.’”
8 Again, the devil took Him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 He said to Him, “I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Yeshua said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship Hashem your Elohim, and you shall serve Him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and served Him.
12 Now when Yeshua heard that John was delivered up, He withdrew into Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, He came and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
toward the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
16 the people who sat in darkness saw a great light;
to those who sat in the region and shadow of death,
to them light has dawned.”
17 From that time, Yeshua began to preach, and to say, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”