This weeks reading is from Parashat Yitro (Shemot / Exodus 13:17-17:16), the Scriptures tell us Yitro (Jethro) came to Moshe bringing Moshe’s wife Zipporah and his two sons (18:6-8). Moshe told Yitro everything the Lord had done and Yitro said 18:10 “… ‘Blessed be the Lord who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.” (NASB) The next day, Yitro saw all that Moshe was doing for the people and recommended that Moshe select leaders from the people as judges so that only the heavy matters Moshe would judge (18:13-26). Moshe says farewell to his father-in-law and on the third month after the exodus the people arrived at the wilderness of Sinai (18:26-19:1). Moshe brought the word of the people to the Lord and the Lord told Moshe have the people consecrate themselves for on the third day the Lord will come down on the Mountain of Sinai (19:7-16). The Lord warned Moshe to warn the people not to break through and gaze so they would not die (19:24-25) and God called Moshe and Aaron to come up on the mountain. The Lord gives the people His ten commandments (i) to have no other gods before Him (20:1-5), (ii) do not take the name of the Lord in vain (20:6-7), (iii) remember the Shabbat (20:8-11), (iv) honor your father and mother (20:12), (v) do not murder (20:13), (vi) do not commit adultery (20:14), (vii) do not steal (20:15), (viii) do not bear false witness against your neighbor (20:16), (ix) do not covet your neighbors house (20:19), and (x) do not covet your neighbors wife, male or female servants, his ox, donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor (20:19)
This week’s Parashah is particularly interesting for us to look at this week. In Shemot / Exodus 19:3-11 we read that Moshe went up to the Lord on the mountain, God says he bore them on eagles wings when bringing them out of Egypt. The Lord speaks of the covenant and obeying His voice, and the people being a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The people agree with the word of the Lord and Moshe instructs them to consecrate themselves because in three days the Lord will come to the mountain of Sinai.
ספר שמות פרק יט
ג וּמֹשֶׁה עָלָה אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָיו יְהוָֹה מִן-הָהָר לֵאמֹר כֹּה תֹאמַר לְבֵית יַעֲקֹב וְתַגֵּיד לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל: ד אַתֶּם רְאִיתֶם אֲשֶׁר עָשִֹיתִי לְמִצְרָיִם וָאֶשָּׂא אֶתְכֶם עַל-כַּנְפֵי נְשָׁרִים וָאָבִא אֶתְכֶם אֵלָי: ה וְעַתָּה אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ בְּקֹלִי וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת-בְּרִיתִי וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים כִּי-לִי כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: ו וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ-לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר תְּדַבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל: ז וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה וַיִּקְרָא לְזִקְנֵי הָעָם וַיָּשֶֹם לִפְנֵיהֶם אֵת כָּל-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּהוּ יְהוָֹה: ח וַיַּעֲנוּ כָל-הָעָם יַחְדָּו וַיֹּאמְרוּ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר יְהוָֹה נַעֲשֶֹה וַיָּשֶׁב מֹשֶׁה אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הָעָם אֶל-יְהוָֹה: ט וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי בָּא אֵלֶיךָ בְּעַב הֶעָנָן בַּעֲבוּר יִשְׁמַע הָעָם בְּדַבְּרִי עִמָּךְ וְגַם-בְּךָ יַאֲמִינוּ לְעוֹלָם וַיַּגֵּד מֹשֶׁה אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הָעָם אֶל-יְהוָֹה: י וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵךְ אֶל-הָעָם וְקִדַּשְׁתָּם הַיּוֹם וּמָחָר וְכִבְּסוּ שִֹמְלֹתָם: יא וְהָיוּ נְכֹנִים לַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי כִּי | בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִשִׁי יֵרֵד יְהוָֹה לְעֵינֵי כָל-הָעָם עַל-הַר סִינָי:
Shemot / Exodus 19:3-11
19:3 Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: 19:4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 19:5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 19:6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.’ 19:7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. 9:8 All the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do!’ And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. 19:9 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.’ Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. 19:10 The Lord also said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; 19:11 and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. (NASB)
What is interesting is in Shemot / Exodus 19:10-11 the Lord tells the people to sanctify themselves because He is going to visit in three days. What does it mean to consecrate ourselves and how did the people do this? Note that this is repeated through the Torah over and over again. For example, we read in Vayikra / Leviticus 20:7 ‘You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 20:8 ‘You shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you. (NASB) Note both the people and the Lord are involved in the sanctification process. Note also that the word used for “consecrate yourselves” is ְקִדַּשְׁתָּם derived from the root קדש meaning to make holy. Thus, the biblical use of the verb “consecrate” is a synonym for “sanctify,” meaning “to make holy.” This is an important point because in this world we need to be aware of how much unholiness is out there in this world. As believers, we should not choose to rub shoulders with what is unclean and be defiled. The company we keep can defile, as Paul’s citation from Isaiah 52:11 in 2 Corinthians 6:17. Paul says we are to separate ourselves from everything that defiles and then the Lord will accept us (read 2 Corinthians 6-7). God’s command to be holy is not only in the Torah, it is spoken of throughout all of Scripture (compare Vayikra / Leviticus 11:44, 19:2, 20:17 to 1 Peter 1:16). Revelation 19:7-8 tells us the bride of Christ sanctified herself for the coming of the Lord. Therefore, consecrated people are never lazy people, this is the lesson that is illustrated in Aaron and his sons from Shemot / Exodus 28:41 “… consecrate them … that they may minister unto Me in the priest’s office.” Take for example, hypothetically, “if you knew the exact day and time Yeshua would return on the clouds for His people, how would you behave? How would you consecrate yourself?” With that in mind, are you able to put yourself into the shoes of the Children of Israel in Shemot / Exodus 19:10-11 and understand what Moshe was telling them to Sanctify/Consecrate themselves? Should we not be living consecrated lives daily? How are you consecrating yourselves today? BTT_Parashat Yitro-2014