SHABBAT READINGS & COMMENTARY

Friday, June 09, 2006 |  Michael Schneider
B’Halotekha (When you light): Numbers 8:1-12:16; Zechariah 2:14-47

On this Shabbat we learn about the seven-branch lampstand, the Menorah, which once stood in the Temple. We then read about the separation of the Levites “among the sons of Israel” who were to remain pure because they were ‘wholly given to Me’ (8:16).

Unlike the priests who served from age 30, the Levites were to begin their priestly service five years earlier and completing it no later than age 50 (8: 24-25).

Chapter 9 describes the first Passover celebration, which took place the second year after the exodus from Egypt – celebrated ‘according to all its statutes and according to all its ordinances.’

Yet, a problem arises as there are those men who were unclean ‘because of a dead person’ or ‘distant journey’, yet how were they able to celebrate Passover and present an offering before the Lord?

Moses, did not rush in with an answer, instead he asked God concerning all things. His attitude was, “Wait, I will listen to what the Lord will command.” As Chapter 12 verse 3 tells us, through his humility, Moses was able to submit and wait for an answer form the Lord.

God provided a solution, this is why during the second month of the Hebrew calendar, on the same day of the month, there is Pessah Sheni or second Passover for those who are “unclean” beyond their control.

Also, within these passages we see that foreigners in the Land are required to observe Passover. Today, more and more Gentiles are observing Passover in Israel.

In Chapter 10, we read about the Silver Trumpets, which symbolizes the gathering or assembling of the people; the break-up of the camp and continuing the journey; the sounding of an alarm and so much more. The call to war was also marked by the sound of the trumpet (10:9) as well as the days filled with joy during the feasts (10:10).

It is in chapter 11 that the Children of Israel begin complaining in spite of the great and mighty wonders the Lord had done for them. Let us reflect on our walk with the Lord. We too many times so easily forget the goodness of God and his working in our life.

There were also those in verse 4 who wanted to please their fleshly desires and eat meat. But, how different are their experiences from ours today? There is always a minority who attempt to drive the whole congregation to sin through their desires for earthly things. The daily Manna God provided was not satisfying enough.

In Chapter 12, Miriam and Aaron acted in rebellious ways and the Lord punished them for it. God defended his faithful servant saying, “He is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses" (12:7-8)? My admonishment to you: be careful not to raise your voice to spiritual leaders for God is their defender and then you will have to deal with Him.

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