Parashah Pekudey (Accounts) Exodus 38:21 – 40

This last chapter and a half (or so) of the Book of Exodus tells us all the things that God instructed Moses to have the people make, with regards to the Tabernacle, were made exactly as God had commanded.

All I can say is, “About time they did something right!” Yes?

Actually, when you read 39:43 it reads less like an account of what they did and more like an exclamation that they did it right.

Traditionally, when we finish a book of the Torah we cry out:

Chazak! Chazak! V’nit’Chazek! (Be strong! Be strong! And let us be strengthened!)

If this is what we cry out, then it begs the question, “What are we strengthening?”

For me, when we read the word of God, what we strengthen is our faith. Faith is believing, and when we read the Torah we see God in all His majesty, in all His awesomeness, and in all His glory. We see that His judgment is inescapable, as the Egyptians were powerless to stop Him from judging and punishing them for their cruel treatment of His people; we see His compassion and forgiveness when Moshe steps in to save the people from the destruction they earned by worshiping the Golden Calf at the very foot of God’s Holy mountain. And we see God’s faithfulness to us by continuing to keep His promise to the Patriarchs, leading the people through the desert, providing food and water for them and their animals, and protecting them from their enemies.

And we see God’s selfless love as he continues to forgive and provide for a stiff-necked, rebellious child who doesn’t really even appreciate Him.

And, as our faith is strengthened, so, too, is our appreciation, respect, trust, and love for God. But is it the right kind of love? Is it selfless, as He loves? Or, do we love God only when he is doing good things for us?

When people give us good things, should we love them? If we love for what we get, what happens when someone gives us more?

When the final days arrive, the Enemy will attack the people of God. However, for those who love the Lord only because of what God has given them, I don’t think the enemy will attack them with Tsouris. No- he will attack them with wonderful gifts, pleasures of the mind and body, power, riches; he will attack them by giving them every worldly pleasure they have ever wanted. In Matthew 4:9 and Luke 4:7, that is the temptation the enemy held before Yeshua when he tested Him in the desert. Yeshua refused, but when the world is falling apart and you are losing everything, and the enemy promises you everything you lost, and more, will you be strong enough (will you have been strengthened in the Lord enough?) to refuse?

In the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) God will not be blessing the world but cursing it. So everyone will be loosing things, and the enemy’s strategy, I believe, will be to give back the blessings of health, power, riches, etc., all the things of the flesh that are being destroyed, to those whose love is based selfishly, who love someone (or the Lord) only for what they get from them.

We need to strengthen our love by developing the same love that God has- selfless love. If someone slaps you in the face, turn to them the other cheek, as well. If they force you to carry their pack for a mile, carry it for two. If they ask to borrow something, give it to them without asking for it to be returned. Love not for what you get from others but love to give to others, without expectation of any return or reward.

Yeshua told us that when we do Tzedakah (charity)  we should do it in secret, so that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:1-4). That is the kind of selfless love that God has for us, and the kind we should return to Him by doing it unto others (Matthew 25:40), so that we strengthen our faith and our love.

When we have the kind of faith that comes from knowing God, and when we show the kind of love that God has for us to others, then the attacks of the enemy will fall off of us like nerf balls hitting a brick wall. And because we are strengthened by His word, we can protect and strengthen others by demonstrating our faith.

Faithfulness and love for God, His kind of love, will also lead to more fulfilling obedience. Obedience that comes from only respect or, worse, only from fear will not create love, or trust, or even any real joy. It often leads to resentment, animosity, anger and rebellion. But obedience that comes from love, from doing for someone what they want because we know it pleases them, well, that kind of obedience brings joy and satisfaction. Don’t you know that a “labor of love”, as we call it, creates feelings of immense satisfaction and joy when we see the one we labored for happily enjoying what we did for them? God wants us to obey Him because when we obey, we are blessed. He enjoys blessing us, and the way we can make God happy is to obey Him. It’s a Win-Win situation.

We hear often that God owns everything, and that He can create anything He needs or desires with only a thought, but there is one thing God cannot have unless we give it to Him- our love.

Do you love the Lord? Do you love Him for the right reasons? These are hard questions to ask, and they require a really long look in the mirror. So take a gander at yourself, at your intentions, at your true feelings. And don’t be afraid or ashamed if you are not happy with what you see- that’s OK. Remember, we’re not Messiah Yeshua, we know we have faults, and God knows it, too. That’s why He sent Yeshua…DUH!!

Again, when you see what you don’t like, don’t be upset or downtrodden- that’s what the enemy wants. When you see what you don’t like, do what God wants- strive to improve. Exercise your faith, exercise your godly love and exercise your obedience and you will be strengthened!

Chazak! Chazak! V’nit’Chazek!

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