This weeks reading is from Parashat Naso (Bamidbar / Numbers 4:21-7:89), the Lord speaks to Moshe telling him to number the sons of Gershon and the fathers of their household by their families. Moshe obeys the Lord and numbers the Gershonites (הַגֵּרְשֻׁנִּי) and details the duties of the sons of Levi in their work to carry the Mishkhan (Tabernacle) in its construction and deconstruction (4:21-49). The Lord then tells Moshe to command the people to send away the person who is unclean, the one with Tzaraat (Leper) and every person having a discharge of the skin (5:1-4) this refers to everyone who is unclean so the camp is not defiled. The Lord commands when a person sins he is to make restitution by confessing their sin and then adding one-fifth to the wrong and giving it to the person that he has wronged. In Bamidbar / Numbers 5:6-8 it says that if a man sins against another man, the man has also sinned against God (מִכָּל-חַטֹּאת הָאָדָם לִמְעֹל מַעַל בַּיהוָֹה וְאָשְׁמָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא:).
כתבי הקודש / The Holy Scriptures
ספר במדבר פרק ה
ו דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל אִישׁ אוֹ-אִשָּׁה כִּי יַעֲשֹוּ מִכָּל-חַטֹּאת הָאָדָם לִמְעֹל מַעַל בַּיהוָֹה וְאָשְׁמָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא: ז וְהִתְוַדּוּ אֶת-חַטָּאתָם אֲשֶׁר עָשֹוּ וְהֵשִׁיב אֶת-אֲשָׁמוֹ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ וַחֲמִישִׁתוֹ יֹסֵף עָלָיו וְנָתַן לַאֲשֶׁר אָשַׁם לוֹ: ח וְאִם-אֵין לָאִישׁ גֹּאֵל לְהָשִׁיב הָאָשָׁם אֵלָיו הָאָשָׁם הַמּוּשָׁב לַיהוָֹה לַכֹּהֵן מִלְּבַד אֵיל הַכִּפֻּרִים אֲשֶׁר יְכַפֶּר-בּוֹ עָלָיו:
Bamidbar / Numbers 1:1-3
5:6 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, ‘When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind, acting unfaithfully against the Lord, and that person is guilty, 5:7 then he shall confess his sins which he has committed, and he shall make restitution in full for his wrong and add to it one-fifth of it, and give it to him whom he has wronged. 5:8 ‘But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution which is made for the wrong must go to the Lord for the priest, besides the ram of atonement, by which atonement is made for him. (NASB)
The reading from this weeks Torah portion reveals to us what God requires of us; one must turn from sin and confess his or her sin before the Lord. These verses speak of repentance, specifically that a person is to “repent from his sin” וְהֵשִׁיב אֶת-אֲשָׁמוֹ where the word וְהֵשִׁיב “Heshiv” means “to turn” indicating that repentance requires us to physically (taking action) turn from sin and not simply show remorse in the heart. Repentance begins in our hearts and goes from our head to our toes. If repentance remains in the heart and does not reach our feet then we will not turn from our evil ways which is the very nature of the word repentance (הֵשִׁיב) to turn from the paths of unrighteousness to the path of righteousness that God wants for us. In the Psalms 32, David says 32:3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 32:4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. 32:6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him. (NASB) David said that “when I kept silent about my sin my body wasted away.” Have you ever sinned and not made it right with the Lord and as a result has your body ever “groaned all day long” because of it? According to David, the hand of the Lord was tichbad (תִּכְבַּד) heavy upon him day and night (32:4). These verses suggest that the Lord was working in David leading him to repent from his sin. He says “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions (פְשָׁעַי) to the Lord’; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.” (32:5) even the smallest sin needs to be confessed before the Lord. The Scriptures from the Torah in sefer Bamidbar / Numbers 5:7 tell us that repentance (וְהֵשִׁיב) and confession work together. This is very similar to what the Apostle John said in 1 John 1:9 ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας. 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NASB) In the book of Samuel, Eli heard all of the wickedness that his sons committed before the Lord. On hearing this he said 1 Samuel 2:25 “If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” (NASB) The Scriptures say in Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (ESV) Today we do have one who will speak and intercede as an advocate before our Father in Heaven (1 John 2:1). Yeshua said John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (ESV) This is the Lords will, to save those who are lost. We have been given the promise that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Our Lord never fails. Trust in our great Saviour Yeshua the Messiah! BTT_Parashat Naso-2013