The Parashah for this week, June 2-8, 2019 is called B’Midbar—“In the Desert”:
B’Midbar (“In the Desert/Wilderness”)
This is the Hebrew name for the book called “Numbers” in most English Bibles (after the “numbering” in the census lists of Chs. 1 & 26). The book describes key events taking place between Israel’s leaving Mount Sinai and her arrival at the borders of Canaan some 38 years later.
*Numbers 2:2-3: “The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard…On the east side, toward the rising of the sun, those of the standard of the forces with Judah shall camp according to their armies; and Nahshon the son of Amminadav shall be the leader of the children of Judah.”
The tribe of Yehuda (Judah), along with Issachar and Zebulun, was to camp facing the East. The Hebrew root for Yehuda is related to hands or arms raised in the giving of thanks or praise to God (cf. Gen 29:35). Judah was to camp on the side of the Tabernacle facing eastward—as though to “awaken the dawn” (Ps 57:8) with an offering of gratefulness. Psalm 63:1-4 bears a beautiful picture of this holy principal being demonstrated hundreds of years later by David (himself a descendant of Nahshon and Amminadav). He is also “in a desert” –and his Hebrew literally says, “Elohim, my God are you, I will ‘dawn’ you (i.e. seek You early)…my lips shall praise you…I will lift up the palms of my hands in Your name.” Hundreds of years after the death of David, , King Jehoshaphat, heading out to engage an overwhelming foe (II Chron. 20:21) would place singers and praisers in front of his army, singing “Hodu la’Adonai ki tov, ki le-olam hasdo!”—“Give thanks (with the raising of your hands) to the LORD for He is good, for to forever is his lovingkindness!”
In the reading two weeks from now, Numbers 10:14 will make clear that the tribe of Yehuda was also God’s choice to be in the lead when the camp broke up and moved forward. A tribe epitomizing thanksgiving and praise, Judah is also the “royal tribe” from whom a scepter would arise which would never depart. As such, it must always come first. From this tribe would come the King of Kings, Yeshua/Jesus—of whom Jacob had prophesied that his brothers would praise, and his father’s children bow down before Him (Genesis 49:8)! Zechariah 12:10 prophecies the repentance and renewal of “the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem”—yet 12:7 reveals that first must come salvation of the “tents of Judah.” We believe this will have a literal physical fulfillment. But we see also that the prophecy has a spiritual implication—that the rebirth of Jerusalem and eventually all of Israel must be ushered in by an outpouring of Praise and Worship in Spirit and in Truth. There are many signs that this is beginning to happen! In recent years at least four houses of prayer and worship, some of them 24/7, have opened in Jerusalem.
PLEASE PRAY: For praise, thanksgiving and worship to again rise to its place in the forefront of Israel (whose call includes being a praise in all the earth (Isaiah 62:7; Zephaniah 3:20). Pray for strength, inspiration and vision in houses of worship and prayer which God has raised up in Israel in recent years.
Pray for believers in the Israeli Defense Force and police to have grace in making praise and thanksgiving a priority. Since Nahshon was to be Judah’s leader—his name has come to be one of the synonyms in modern Hebrew for “pioneer” (Tradition says that he was the first to place his foot in the Red Sea after the command came to cross over). Pray for those called to pioneer worship in a resurrected Hebrew language in restored Israel today! There are many, both old and young, male and female, Jew and Gentile through whom praise and worship in the ancient language has, during the past 30 years, begun again to be awakened!
Numbers 4:4-6, 15. “This is the work of the descendants of Kohath in the tent of meeting, concerning the most holy things. When the camp sets out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and they shall take down the veil of the screen and cover the ark of the testimony with it; and they shall lay a covering of porpoise skin on it, and shall spread over it a cloth of pure blue (Hebrew: tekhelet—a sky-blue dye made from a special mollusk), and shall insert its poles…When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy objects and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is to set out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them, so that they will not touch the holy objects and dies. These are the things in the tent of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry.”
Given the clarity of these instructions, it is strange the pictures and figurines one may see in souvenir shop windows in Jerusalem depicting Levites carrying the golden Ark of the Covenant, with the Aron—“chest” and its Cherubim plainly visible. As is here and in other passages made clear, no one ever was allowed to look upon the holy Ark, except the High Priest on the Day of Atonement (and then only through clouds of incense). On the road, it was not paraded out for everyone to gaze upon. Before leaving, the Aaronic priests (not the other Levites) came in and took down the veil. It appears that they then moved forward holding it as a screen, until, upon reaching the Ark, they draped it over the holy object as a covering. Upon this, other coverings were then laid (upon this holy chest upon which kippur—another word for ‘covering’—was made in blood once a year on behalf of the people’s sin). But the Ark of the Presence was Holy…and touching it or even looking upon it was more than even the especially set-apart priests were allowed to do. Each person involved was expected to embrace the special responsibility of his office—and not seek another. The Levites cared for the outer courts; from among the Levites, the sons of Kohath would be the ‘carriers’ of the Ark; from among the Levites, only descendants of Aaron (kohenim—“priests”) could approach the holiest chamber to dismantle it—and from within the descendants of Aaron, only he and his successor could actually enter, once a year, within the veil.
*Hosea 1:10: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the Life-God.’”
PLEASE PRAY: For more and more of the millions of returned Children of Jacob to be awakened to their true identity—to recognize that they are not merely an ancient people related to certain Patriarchs; they are, in fact, beloved children of El Hai—the “Life-God” Himself, Who has sent forth His Son that they may “have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)!
*Hosea 2:16; 19-20: “‘And it shall be, in that day,’ says the LORD, ‘that you will call Me “My Husband,” and no longer call Me ‘My Master’…I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD.”
PLEASE PRAY: For awakening of a longing in Israeli hearts for these wonderful attributes – righteousness, justice, loving kindness, mercy, faithfulness – with which her God is wooing her. Pray that grace will be released on that longing which will result in the ‘knowledge’ of her Lord prophesied at the end of the verse! It is interesting that in verse 16, the substituted word “my husband” is “ishi”, which literally means ‘my man’. This knowledge can only come about in revelation of “the ‘man’—Yeshua the Messiah!”.
*Hosea 2:14-16 (NIV): “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”
Achor means ‘trouble’. “Door (or ‘Opening’) of Hope” is Petah Tiqva (There is a large city by that name in central Israel). PLEASE PRAY that Israel will find grace to lift her eyes from her troubles to the God of Hope (Romans 15:13), finding entrance into His life through the Door which He has provided (John 10:9).
May 20, 2018: (Shavuot/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost)
TORAH: Exodus 19-20, Numbers 28:26-31
HAFTARAH: Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12
MEGILAT (Scroll of) RUTH
[The Parashah for next week June 9-15, 2019 is called Naso—“Elevate!”: TORAH: Numbers 4:21—7:89; HAFTARAH: Judges 13:2-25 (Heb: 2:1—2:22) .]