Thought for the week

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‘Parsha Terumah’ – Willingly from your heart

Exodus 25:1-8: “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats' hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.””

The ‘parsha’ (‘Torah’ portion) this week, ‘Parsha Terumah’ (Gift or Offering), is found in Exodus 25:1 – 27:19 and is the nineteenth weekly ‘Torah’ portion in the annual Jewish cycle of ‘Torah’ reading; the corresponding ‘haftorah’ (reading of the prophets) is found in 1 Kings 5:1 - 6:13.

‘Parsha Terumah’ tells us that at Mount Sinai, the people of Israel experienced an all-consuming revelation of G-d.
They were then instructed to build a ‘Mishkan’ (dwelling) - also called a ‘Mikdash’ (sanctuary), and commonly referred to as “the Tabernacle” - in which G-d would dwell among them as a perpetual presence in the Israelite camp.
G-d instructed Moses to tell all Israelites, whose hearts were willing, to bring gifts as a ‘terumah’ (offering) of gold, silver, copper, coloured yarns, fine linen, goat’s hair, tanned Ram skins, ‘Shittim’ (Acacia) wood, oil, spices, Lapis Lazuli, and other fine stones for the ‘Mishkan’ and its furnishings.

Moses was given detailed instructions by G-d on how to construct this dwelling so that it could be readily dismantled, transported and reassembled as the people journeyed in the desert.
In the Sanctuary’s inner chamber, behind an artistically woven curtain was the Ark containing the Tablets of Testimony engraved with the Ten Commandments. On the Ark’s cover stood two winged cherubim hammered out of pure gold. In the outer chamber stood the seven-branched ‘menorah’ (lamp stand), and the table upon which the showbread was arranged.

The Sanctuary’s three walls were fitted together from forty eight upright wooden boards, each of which was overlaid with gold and were held up by a pair of silver foundation sockets. The roof was formed of three layers of coverings: Tapestries of multi-coloured wool and linen; a covering made of goat hair and a covering of ram skins. Across the front of the Sanctuary was an embroidered screen held up by five posts.
Surrounding the Sanctuary and the copper-plated altar which fronted it was an enclosure of linen hangings supported by sixty wooden posts with silver hooks and trimmings and was reinforced by copper stakes.

‘Haftorah Terumah’ describes the construction of the Holy Temple under the direction of King Solomon, echoing this week's ‘Torah’ portion which discusses the construction of the Tabernacle.
The ‘haftorah’ discusses the manpower - both Jewish and non-Jewish - that Solomon recruited for the building of the Holy Temple. Also discussed are the hewing and transportation of the stone, the laying of the foundation, as well as the dimensions of the Holy Temple, its components and materials.

The ‘haftorah’ ends with G-d’s word to King Solomon: “Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you, which I spoke to your father David. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” (1 Kings 6:12-13)

In this week’s ‘parsha’, we read in Exodus 25:1-2: “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.””

I was struck by this sentence as I was reading the account of the L-rd telling Moses to speak to the children of Israel and to ask them for an offering to build the ‘Mishkan’. We see that the L-rd told Moses to take an offering “from everyone who gives it willingly with his heart”.
The L-rd did not force the people to give an offering; neither did He want an offering from anyone who would not give it ‘willingly with his heart’.
And this has not changed today. The L-rd still gives us the choice to give Him an offering ‘willingly with our heart’.

Even more important than our financial offerings, the offering that G-d wants is us!
G-d wants us to have a personal, intimate relationship with Him, and He wants us to offer our lives as a sacrifice to Him. In other words, our lives must be sold out to Almighty G-d; He wants nothing less.
However, He will never force us; it’s our choice.

Many times I hear people singing a beautiful song whose chorus says: “Your majesty, I can but bow; I lay my all before you now”. When people sing this song in a service that I conduct, I stop the song and tell the congregation not to sing this chorus if they don’t mean it.
You see, singing or saying “I lay my all before you now” means that you have to ‘willingly with your heart’ lay everything down before Almighty G-d.

One way of laying all before the L-rd is by obeying His instruction to call upon His name for salvation – Joel 2:32: “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved”… and the name of the L-rd is Yeshua!

In Matthew 19:17-29, we read the account of the rich young man who asked Yeshua what he should do to have eternal life. Yeshua answered by telling him to keep the commandments: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honour your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’.”
The young man replied that he had kept these commandments since a young boy. Yeshua then told him: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” However, we read that when the young man heard this, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Yeshua then told his disciples: “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
When Yeshua’s disciples heard this, they asked: “Who then can be saved?” Yeshua answered them, saying: “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”
You see, that is ‘giving willingly with your heart’.

It's not literally leaving your wife, your children, your house, etc. It's putting the Jewish ‘Mashiach’ (Messiah), Yeshua, before anyone or anything.

There is one more crucial thing that G-d desires from you: To ‘willingly with all your heart’ give your life to His Son, Yeshua – the Jewish Messiah – by making Him your L-rd and Saviour.
It’s in giving your life ‘willingly and with all your heart’ to Yeshua that you will receive the forgiveness of sin and inherit eternal life – and this is for both Jews and Gentiles.

Will you ‘willingly and with all your heart’ give your life to Yeshua, who lovingly and faithfully endured the cross for you and for me, accepting Him as your L-rd and Saviour? This is the only way to salvation, as only through Yeshua can one’s sins be forgiven and one’s soul be atoned for – or saved.
 
To accept G-d’s gift of the forgiveness of sin, salvation and everlasting life in heaven, all you need to do is confess your sins, repent of them and ask Yeshua to come into your life as your Messiah.
And you can do this by praying the Prayer of Salvation found at the end of this article.

As I conclude, are you ‘willingly with all your heart’ prepared to lay everything down for the L-rd; or do your possessions, career and self-gratification come before Him?
Allow me to encourage you; be prepared to, ‘willingly with all your heart’, lay everything down for the L-rd and, by doing that, build up for yourself treasures in heaven.

We love you.

Shalom.

Scriptures of the week: Romans 12:1-2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."


SALVATION PRAYER

Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.
Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.
I confess that I have sinned.
I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.
I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.
By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.