These last two parashah are read together, bringing us to the end of the book of Exodus, or you might say, this is an exodus from Exodus. Ouch!! 🙂
As an aside, there are often times when we will read two parashah together. The parashah schedule is designed so that we always end up with the last reading of D’Varim (Deuteronomy) on Simchat Torah, the 8th day after Sukkot (also called Sh’mini Atzeret) so there are times during the year that we need to read two portions instead of one to keep to the schedule.
These last chapters are all about the Tabernacle. We have the exact dimensions, size, weight, and every little detail of the Tabernacle, which Moses was told to erect on the first day of the first month. Aaron and his sons are anointed in their holy garments, and thus the place of worship and the means of worship are completed.
With everything done as required, God’s presence fills the Tabernacle. He has moved from the mountain to the Earth, and now resides with the people.
I see here the picture of how we, as a sort of Tabernacle, must prepare ourselves for the presence of the Holy Spirit by being “correct” in weight, size and construction. This doesn’t mean to get platform shoes, a haircut and go on a diet if you want to be saved, but it does show that once we are ready, in accordance to what God has designed, we can accept the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, and God will dwell with us.
In Ezekiel God says He will give us a heart of flesh, and in Jeremiah He promises
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,”
We need to prepare ourselves for the presence of the Lord, just as the Tabernacle was prepared. Once we are ready we can be filled with His Spirit.
So, what is “ready”? I know, absolutely, that the Ruach dwells inside me, but I am not perfect, I am still sinful. So if I am not perfectly built as the Tabernacle was, how can the Ruach enter me?
Because God is not interested in my body; He is interested in knowing what is in my heart. And in my heart is T’Shuvah, is repentance, is the desire not to do what I want to do, but to do what God wants me to do. And even though I am not able to be the perfectly erected Tabernacle that Moshe built, I am good enough because I am repentant, broken of the spirit of self-importance, desiring God’s forgiveness, and accepting of the Messiah Yeshua. Only because I accept Yeshua as my Messiah, and ask forgiveness in His name (and all the other stuff, too) am I able to be a properly prepared tabernacle of the Holy Spirit.
Here’s the part I don’t understand- I know that God cannot abide sin, and that I am a sinful sinner, yet His Ruach can live within me. I just don’t get it: it seems to be self-negating that the Holy Spirit, which cannot abide sin, can survive and even grow within this sinful body. Hallelujah, and thanks be to God, Almighty, that He is able to give me His spirit while I am still a sinner to help me become a more perfect tabernacle than I am now.
Like so many things about God and His plans, I do not understand how many of these things are possible, but that isn’t important. What is important is that it is being done.
The Tabernacle of God that Moshe built, once properly prepared, allowed the Lord to dwell with His people. The tabernacle of our heart, when properly prepared, will allow the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to dwell within us. The preparation is not nearly as complicated or expensive as the one for the Tabernacle Moshe built. All we need to do is go to the Lord with a broken spirit, a contrite heart acknowledging and owning up to our sinfulness and inability to overcome it alone, and a desire to do T’Shuvah, to turn from our sins and do what pleases God. Oh yes, the final ingredient for the recipe of salvation: we need to acknowledge Yeshua as our Messiah and ask, in His name, for forgiveness and for the Ruach to dwell within us. That is the final, and ultimate, preparation. That finalizes the construction of the tabernacle in our heart, in which the Ruach will dwell.
If you haven’t built your own tabernacle, you need to get to work. You have until your very last breath to do this; however, unless you know the exact moment you will die, you better not wait.