Parashah Tzav 2022 (Give an order) Leviticus 6 – 8

God continues to explain the sacrificial system rules to Moses. He gives the instructions for the burnt offering, the meal offering, the guilt offering, the peace and thanks offerings, and we end with the consecration of the priests being performed.

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The parashah has many details about these sacrifices: what to wear, how to be cleansed, the type of bread to use, and many other fine details. So many details that you would think this is one of the most important things to do in order to be obedient to the Lord.

But let’s look at the Haftorah portion, which starts with Jeremiah 7:21.

God states that his commandments weren’t just to sacrifice, but to walk in his ways so that things will go well with us.

We see this same message throughout the Prophets:

Going through the motions of sacrifice aren’t as important as living the
way God wants us to live in our daily activities.

In other words, it is obedience to all that God says regarding worship and interpersonal relationships that matters to God.

God isn’t interested in sacrifice if there is no heartfelt repentance behind it. Through the prophets, God constantly tells the people that their sacrifices, although being made in accordance with the rules, mean nothing to him because there is no real intention to repent behind them.

People who say they are good Christians (or Jews, for that matter) because they go to church/shul every Sabbath, tithe, and are active members of the Men’s or Woman’s Club think that they are fine with God, but every other day they do whatever their sinful desires tell them to do.

People go to confession, tell their dirty little secrets to the Priest, recite the “Ah Father’s” and “Hail Mary’s”, drop a few bucks in the Collection Box and then go home to do drugs, have sex out of wedlock, eat pork rinds while watching the game, or cheat on their taxes.

Sacrifice without repentance is useless.

Calling on the Name of the Lord without repentance is useless.

Asking for forgiveness in Yeshua’s (Jesus) name with repentance is useless.

And living your life unrepentant is never, ever going to get you to heaven.

And how do we show true repentance?

By the way you live your life outside of the church or synagogue.

And that way is to follow God’s instructions. And, if you want to know where those are, look into the first five books of the Bible.

And I ain’t talkin’ about the 4 Gospels and Acts, I am talking about the TORAH!

There is no other place anywhere between Genesis and Revelation where God gives direct dictation to anyone regarding how he wants things to be done, except in the Torah. What Shaul (Paul) says, what Kefa (Peter) says, what Yochanon (John) says, what Yacov (James) says, or what any human being says is not more important than, or can overrule what God says.

Shaul wrote to Gentiles who were learning how to live as God wants us to live, and since it was such a different lifestyle for them, he brought them along in stages, step by step, precept-by-precept, and James (Acts 15) suggested they start small and learn the rest of what they need to do as they continue to attend Shabbat services.

The bottom line is that God gave us instructions how to worship him and how to treat each other, and the sacrificial system is the means for us to be forgiven when we fail to do as God said (we call that “sin”).

But what this Haftorah portion says, as well as so many other places in the Books of the Prophets, is that sacrifice without repentance, which is demonstrated through how we live our daily lives, means nothing to God.

In fact, God says through Isaiah (Isaiah 1:11-14) that he gets no pleasure from the blood of bulls and goats and that the people should stop bringing their worthless grain offerings. He goes as far as to say they are like disgusting incense to him! He says he can’t stand evil together with their assemblies, and when they spread out their hands to him, he will hide his face and not listen to them.

Wait a minute! Something’s not right here…how could God, totally trustworthy to do as he says he will do and incapable of lying, refuse to do as he says he will, which is to forgive us when we sacrifice to him and save us when we call on his Name?

The answer is that it isn’t God who is lying and not doing as he said he would, it is US!

We are to come before God repentant and willing to do t’shuva (to turn, as in turning from sin), but when we are just going through the motions, God knows it and we are the ones who are not keeping our side of the covenant.

So be a good Christian and go to church on Sunday, then steal paper products and pens from your office on Monday; be a good Jew and go to Shul on Saturday, then eat pork sausages with Canadian bacon for breakfast on Sunday.

We are to do as God says ALL THE TIME, and when we do as he says ALL THE TIME, then we get blessed: it doesn’t work the other way around.

Yes, the parochet was torn from top to bottom, indicating that salvation comes from God to us, but not until after we send up repentance, heartfelt t’shuvah, and demonstrate it through our daily activities which are to be in accordance with how God said we should act.

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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

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