A Journey into Exodus; Part 4: Draw Near, Holiness He Has Planned
Psalm 147;11 HASHEM desires those who fear Him. those who hope for His kindness. 12 Praise HASHEM, O Jerusalem, laud your God, O Zion, 13 for He has strengthened the bars of your gates, and blessed your children in your midst. 14 It is He Who makes your borders peaceful, and with the cream of wheat He sates you; 15 He Who dispatches His utterance earthward; His word runs swiftly; 16 He Who gives snow like fleece, He scatters frost like ashes. 17 He hurls His ice like crumbs- who can stand before His cold? 18 He issues His command and it melts them; He blows His wind, the waters flow. 19 He relates His word to Jacob, His statues and His judgments to Israel. 20 He did not do so for any other nation; such judgments- they knew them not. Halleluyah!
Parasha Yitro is perhaps the most crucial text of the Torah in that it is the point at which God makes covenant with an entire people. Some of the elements of ancient covenant- Verbal declaration of terms, blood usually in the form of an offering, a meal usually including bread and wine. We see that the people have arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai and camp as one. The text says “Israel encamped there”, the Hebrew is singular, ‘he-camped-there’. Here is the first moment of unity among an identifiably diverse and opinionated people. The place where they camped is translated as the “foot” of the mountain but this Hebrew word can mean opposite of as in the counterpart or mate! The very mountain where the glory will reside opposite the bride to be, the mate…the camp of Israel. The Lord speaks to Moses and before giving His ‘terms’, His Utterances, His Declarations, His Words (also known as the Ten Commandments), He explains Who He is, What He has ‘contributed’ so to speak to the ‘relationship’ and Why the people should follow His Words (the Hebrew texts highlights the LISTENING, ‘to listen, you shall listen’) . He is the One, I Shall Be as I Shall Be Moshe identified to them in Egypt, Who exhibited all His power in the wonders performed there, He is the One Who chose Israel from all the peoples of the earth, and He is their Deliverer. He Rescued them, and Ransomed them…He vindicated them and granted them justice. He brought them out to be a bride unto Him. The text expresses God’s original plan, intention, hope, design was that every single one of His chosen people would be holy, priests and royalty. He professes the potential He sees in His beloved and what He wanted for us all from the beginning. He puts before them His terms and the people express in the second display of unity, in agreement…”We shall do…”
NEGED (neh-ged)- a front; part opposite; a counterpart or mate (over, against, or before).
NASA (naw-saw)- to lift.
SHAMA (shaw-mah)- to hear intelligently (with attention, obedience.)
SHAMAR (shaw-mar)- to hedge about (as with thorns); guard, protect, attend to.
HAYAH (haw-yaw)-to exist; be or become, come to pass (always emphatic).
CGULLAH (seg-ool-law)- to shut up; wealth (as closely shut up.)
KOHEN (ko-hane)-one officiating; a priest; an acting priest (although a layman).
QADOSH (kaw-doshe)-sacred (ceremonially or morally); an angel, saint, a sanctuary.
TSAVAH (tsaw-vaw)-to constitute, enjoin.
KOL(kole)-the whole; all, any, every (singular ONLY).
Exodus 19;3 Moses ascended to God, and HASHEM called to him from the mountain, saying, “So shall you say to the House of Jacob and relate to the Children of Israel. 4 ‘You have seen what I did in Egypt, and that I have borne (NASA) you on the wings of eagles and brought you to Me. 5 And now, if you hearken (SHAMA, SHAMA) to Me and observe (SHAMAR) My covenant, you shall be (HAYAH)to Me the most beloved treasure (CGULLAH) of all (KOL) peoples, for mine is the entire (KOL) world. 6 You shall be (HAYAH) a kingdom of ministers (KOHEN) and a holy (QADOSH) nation.’ These are the words you shall speak to the Children of Israel.” 7 Moses summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all (KOL) these words that HASHEM had commanded (TSAVAH) him. 8 The entire (KOL) people responded together and said, “Everything (KOL) that HASHEM has spoken we shall do!” Moses brought back the words of the people to HASHEM.
KOL- the whole, call. ONLY. Let’s look at this word in the ancient picture language. The Hebrew Kaf, Lamed spelling KOL. Kaf was the arm or open hand, it meant to cover or to allow. The Lamed was a cattle goad or shepherd staff, it meant to prod or toward. Review the text and consider the message. Here we see one people united encamping as a singular counterpart to the mountain where God will reveal Himself. We see the emphasis on the entirety of God’s possession of the WHOLE earth and all the nations in it and His sovereign choice and appointment of all Israel as His protected treasure. They were to enjoin themselves to the perfect, absolute and total entirety of His word and as a cooperative they did so, answering as one. The Lord is asking us to be His corresponding part, at His feet…with an open hand a promise of shelter and shield, asking us to accept His instruction (Torah= instruction, teaching) and prodding, to say Yes to the Shepherd and His staff…which will allow us to live a life of morality, which will lead us into a path pursuing the Holiness He designed for each one of us and as a Qadosh unit. The Isaiah text relates the days to come, for the Remnant in Jerusalem…and the ones inscribed in the book of life will all be called Holy.
Isaiah 4;2 On that day HASHEM’s sprout will come forth for splendor and honor; and the fruit of the land will be for pride and glory for the survivors of Israel. 3 Of every remnant that will be in Zion and every remaining one in Jerusalem, ‘Holy’ will be said of him, everyone who is inscribed for life in Jerusalem. 4 When my Lord will have washed the filth of the daughters of Zion and rinsed the blood of Jerusalem from their midst, with a spirit of judgment and a spirit of purging. 5 And HASHEM will create over every structure of Mount Zion and over those who assemble in it a cloud by day, and smoke and a glow of flaming fire by night, for this will be a canopy over all the honor. 6 And there will be a tabernacle as a shade from the heat in the daytime and protection and refuge from storm and from rain.
Ezekiel 33:7-12 ESV
“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
EKKAKEO(ek-kak-eh-o)-to be (bad or)weak; to fail (in heart).
KALOPOIEO (kal-op-oy-eh-o)-to do well, live virtuously.
SEMEIOO (Say-mi-o’o)-to distinguish; mark (for avoidance).
SUNANAMIGNUMI (soon-an-am-ig-noo-mee)-to mix up together; associate with.
ENTREPO-to invert; in a good sense, to respect; or in a bad one, to confound.
HEGIOMAI (hayg-eh-om-ahee)- to lead i.e. command (with official authority); fig. to deem i.e. consider.
ECHTHROS- [from echtho-to hate] ; hateful (odious; hostile); an adversary.
NOUTHETEO (Noo-thet-eh’-o)-to put in mind; to caution or reprove gently.
II Thessalonians 3;13 And you brothers who are doing what is good (KALOPOIEO), don’t slack off (EKKAKEO)! 14 Furthermore, if anyone does not obey what we are saying in this letter, take note (KALOPOIEO) of him and have nothing to do with him (SUNANAMIGNUMI), so that he will be ashamed (ENTREPO). 15 But don’t consider(HEGEOMAI) him an enemy (ECHTHROS); on the contrary, confront (NOUTHETEO) him as a brother and try to help him change .
-We are responsible for our brother, if someone strays, wanders of track, deviates from our Lord, or drifts from a path with righteous desire to one of complacence or even (God forbid) rejection it is our appointed task to help them in any way we can. We can not turn a blind eye to it and we should not cut that person off from our lives. Who is a brother? What is a fellow? According to scripture this is not just any man. We are to live the Torah, with heart every day, displaying the light of Yeshua to everyone…for all the world to see and experience. We won’t be transgressing against any man, believer or not, if we are really walking by the Lord’s commands. Whom we consider a brother biblically was someone who is a believer. Today the term believer is hard to define. There are ‘believers’ who curse and dress inappropriately, who consider gay and lesbian members a contributive part of congregations, who boycott Israeli products and call Israel an outcast or even enemy, the list can go on and on. There one clear indication we can use and it involves the word covenant. Your brother is someone who is in covenant with God. This means one will have considered that they too were at the foot of Mount Sinai and have agreed to the terms of this Marriage. This means they will in faith, with trust, wholeheartedly obey ALL the words of the Lord and walk in them. The Children of Israel were given boundaries before the Lord ‘came down’ on the Mountain. They were to prepare. They were to do an immersion and clean their clothes, three days. (Ruth cleaned herself and her clothing before she went to Boaz on the threshing floor to present herself as a bride to him. Esther took three days of preparation before coming with the request for her people before the king. )
The event at Sinai was one of a kind and the entire people were to gather…this requires a great amount of ‘crowd control’. The boundaries for the people in the wilderness were for their own protection, as we know God is a consuming fire, not to be underestimated or ignored. Any one who was at that point willing to ignore His specific and direct instructions (especially with the penalty laid out) was inviting and even inciting punishment. But who was held responsible for carrying out the punishment? Perhaps it was the leaders, perhaps the ‘soldiers’, but the simple reading suggests that everyone was bound to administer the punishment for slighting these very clear boundaries. Anyone who was irresponsible enough to allow their animal to become loose would themselves loose that animal, likewise anyone who did not restrain their children would pay a costly price, anyone who deliberately disobeyed would be thrown down, or stoned.
The Hebrew text repeats the word YARAH (yaw-raw)-to flow as water; to lay or throw (especially an arrow; i.e. shoot); fig. to point out; TO TEACH. This is amazing to me. The Lord is always teaching us, what can we learn here? As an arrow is shot from a somewhat remote place, or likewise a stone thrown…we are to hold our brothers accountable so that they do not die (sin, transgression’s only outcome is death) but we are to do so without ourselves getting too close to the fire. As the Galatians text explains, we are to set our brother right but beware of ourselves as well.
Galatians 6;1 Brothers, suppose someone is caught doing something wrong. You who have the Spirit should set him right, but in a spirit of humility, keeping an eye on yourselves so that you won’t be tempted too. 2 Bear one another’s burdens- in this way you will be fulfilling the Torah’s true meaning, which the Messiah upholds.
Exodus 19;9 HASHEM said to Moses, “Behold! I come to you in the thickness of the cloud, so that the people will hear as I speak to you, and they will also believe in you forever.” Moses related the words of the people to HASHEM. 10 HASHEM said to Moses, “Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and they shall wash their clothing. 11 Let them be prepared for the third day, for on the third day HASHEM shall descend in the sight of the entire people on Mount Sinai. 12 You shall set boundaries for the people roundabout, saying, ‘Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely die. 13 A hand shall not touch it, for he shall surely be stoned or thrown down (YARAH, YARAH); whether animal or person he shall not live; upon an extended blast of the shofar, they may ascend the mountain.”
Hebrews 12;18 For you have not come to a tangible mountain, to an ignited fire, to darkness, to murk, to a whirlwind, 19 to the sound of a shofar, and to a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further message me given to them- 20 for they couldn’t bear what was being commanded them, “Even if an animal touches the mountain it is to be stoned to death”; 21 and so terrifying was the sight that Moshe said, “I am quaking with dread.”
RA’AH (raw-aw)- to see.
QOWL (kole)-to call aloud; a voice or sound.
LAPPIYD (lap-peed)-to shone; a lamp or flame.
NACAH(naw-saw)-to test; to attempt.
RACHOWQ (raw-khoke)-remote, of place or time.
NAGASH (naw-gash)- to be or come near; to lie with a woman; religious-to worship.
Exodus 20;15 The entire people saw (RA’AH) the thunder (QOWL) and the flames, the sound (QOWL) of the shofar and the smoking mountain; the people saw (RA’AH) and trembled and stood from afar. 16 They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we shall hear; let God not speak to us lest we die.” 17 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for in order to elevate (NACAH) you has God come; so that awe of Him shall be upon your faces, so that you shall not sin.” 18 The people stood from afar (RACHOWQ) and Moses approached (NAGASH) the thick cloud where God was.
Psalm 29;3 The voice (QOWL) f HASHEM is upon the waters, the God of Glory thunders; HASHEM is upon vast waters. 4 The voice (QOWL) of HASHEM [comes] in power! The voice(QOWL) of HASHEM [comes] in majesty! 5 The voice (QOWL) of HASHEM breaks the cedars, HASHEM shatters the cedars of Lebanon! 6 He makes them prance about like a calf; Lebanon and Siryon like young re’eimim. 7 The voice (QOWL) of HASHEM cleaves with shafts of fire. 8 The voice (QOWL) of HASHEM convulses the wilderness; HASHEM convulses the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice (QOWL) of HASHEM frightens the hinds, and strips the forests bare; while in His Temple all will proclaim, “Glory!” 10 HASHEM sat enthroned at the Flood; HASHEM sits enthroned as King forever. 11 HASHEM will give might to His nation, HASHEM will bless His nation with peace.
–God desires a personal and intimate experience with each and every person. The Lord is ‘speaking’ all the time, the question is are we listening? Do we want to hear? In the days we find ourselves the Lord will be convulsing us, this word from the psalm means to whirl around…to dance. It is not for confounding that the Lord tests us. He wants us to be an active partner in this dance. He has us by the hand and will not let us fall. It is our privilege to be called by the sound of the Shofar to the mountain and if we are listening we will know what it announces. Is it time to approach or time to observe the limits set by the Lord? The Book of Hebrews text could be translated to suggest that the people were not willing to bear the utterances, but the Greek words it as if they were unsure of their capability to “carry” or to bear the responsibility which came with being so intimately called, so Qadosh…set apart. Please do not doubt that the Lord desires this relationship with you. He wants you to approach and continually draw near. Doubt, self- abasement, shame and guilt are not tools that the Lord uses to test us…He does however use conviction, through our experiences in life and all the things we will see when we truly listen to the voice from the Word. Just as the people SAW the VOICE on the mountain let us look into the entire wealth of Scripture and listen to what He is telling us, even if it means we have to make some big changes to advance toward the Holiness that the Lord has designed for His Bride.
Joel 2;15 Blow the shofar in Zion; decree a fast; call an assembly; 16 gather the people; summon the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the young children and sucklings; let the bridegroom go forth from his chamber and the bride from her canopy.
Revelation 19;5 A voice went out from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you servants, you who fear him, small and great!” 6 Then I heard what sounded like the roar of a huge crowd, like the sound of rushing water, like peals of thunder, saying, “Halleluyah! ADONAI, God of heaven’s armies, has begun his reign! 7 Let us rejoice and be glad! Let us give him the glory! For the time has come for the wedding of the Lamb, and his Bride has prepared herself- fine linen, bright and clean has been given her to wear.”
–The Lord tells us that we are blessed because we trust even though we have not seen him. Have we seen him? Perhaps not his physical form with our physical vision…but he is inscribed on every page of the Torah and announced by each tongue of every prophet. We read and envision the account of his birth and life and death and resurrection in the Apostolic scriptures. The time is drawing near for darkness, thunder, cloud and fire and we will be able to experience it firsthand, as we await him let us prepare…immersing ourselves by the power of the holy spirit in to the divine word of God and engaging in it daily. If ever there were a time to change our clothes and adhere to the boundaries the Lord has set out, it is now.
John 20;29 Yeshua said to him, “Have you trusted because you have seen me? How blessed are those who do not see, but trust anyway!”
Baruch Attah ADONAI Eloheni Melech haOlam
Blessed are You Lord our God
Creator and King of the universe
You alone have planted among us life eternal
Blessed are You Lord, Gracious Giver of the Torah.
B’Shem Yeshua HaMashiac, amein.
–Lord with intensity and purpose I ask for mercy, mercy upon this nation and mercy upon your people. We are the ones You have called to be set apart unto holiness, to be the example, the light to the world. Teach us how to be good examples, teach us your boundaries and where we are to advance…where we are to step back. Teach us how to prepare ourselves for the return of our King. Teach us what it is we are to clean out of our lives in order to stand before you as a spotless bride. Please forgive us for our remoteness and our wavering, please convict us according to Your will alone and put in us a renewed desire to draw nearer to You. I praise You for Your grace and for Your involvement with us personally, please lead us and hold our hands as we whirl and spin in this dance. All this I ask in Yeshua’s name. Amein.