T’rumah / Offering
hafTorah Portion 1 Kings 5:12-6:13
Brit Chadasha Hebrews 9:1-10
This parsha begins with instructions for building of the Tabernacle. The children of Israel were to bring gold, silver, copper; blue, purple and red dyed wool. They were to bring flax, goat hair, animal skins, wood, olive oil, spices and precious gems. This was a communal cooperation and event for the first house of worship; the first physical dwelling place that the children of Israel made for God. But the very idea is strange in itself, for how can you build a house for God? He is the universe yet He is not contained in the universe.
King Solomon made this point when he dedicated The First Temple. He wrote in 1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” Isaiah made the same comparison in Isaiah 66:1-2 ‘Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? 2 For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist, says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
Not only does it seem impossible to build a home for God, but should it be necessary? The God of the universe is everywhere. He is omnipotent, omnipresence, and omniscience. He is with us and can be accessed anywhere, everywhere whether we are in the pit, or on the mountain. The paramount answer is that God does not live in buildings but He lives in builders. He lives not in structures but in those that serve Him - Malachi 3:18 ‘So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.’
Exodus 25:8 states: ‘And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” He does not say: “that I may dwell in it.”
Adonai dwells in the builders, but He desires that there is a place to worship Him. This is where worshipers come together in unity to worship God.
This command to build the Tabernacle came right after the incident of the golden calf. As Moshe was absent from the people for forty days and nights, the people grew weak and substituted their faith in God for faith in the golden calf. As long as Moses was with them the people knew that God was with them, for it was Moshe that communicated with God. This is the point that God instructed Moshe: “Let them build Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” The key word here is the verb sh-kh-n, to dwell. Never before had it been used in connection with God and it comes from the word Mishkan meaning a sanctuary, and Shekhinah, which is the Divine Presence.
God dwells within the people who choose Him and serve Him. This was the beginning of holiness for the people and was setting the stage for our holy offerings. The people brought physical items, yet the heart must be clean and pure. Our offerings today may be that of a physical entity, but as before, our heart and mind and meaning of the offering weighs heavily on our character. It must be pure, holy, made with love and obedience.
Is the place holy? Deuteronomy 23:14 ‘Since the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.’
The heart must move him: Deuteronomy 25:2 ‘Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution.’
Our offerings must be made in a clean place: Deuteronomy 12:13 ‘Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; 14 but in the place which the Lord chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.’
What is our offering: Psalm 50:14 ‘Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving. And pay your vows to the Most High…’
We must imitate Messiah: Ephesians 5:1-2 ‘Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Yeshua also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.’
We must be clean: Isaiah 66:20‘Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.’
Offered in righteousness: Malachi 3:3 ‘He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.’
Our offering must be that of obedience: 1Samuel 15:22 ‘Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.’
Our offerings must be our delight in doing His will: Psalm 40:6 ‘Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, "Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart."
Offerings must be that of loyalty. Hosea 6:6 ‘For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.’
Our hearts must be void of arrogance: Psalm 51:16-17 ‘For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.’
Are we pleasing? Hebrews 13:16 ‘And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.’
Are we joyful? Isaiah 56:7 ‘Even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
Are we acceptable? Romans 12:1 ‘Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.’
Hebrews 13:5 ‘Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.’