To our 9:00 am Shabbat Ark of Prayer and the Mishpacha within,
This week’s parsha is Parsha B’midbar: Numbers 1:1-4:20, Hosea 2:1-2:22, 1 Corinthians 12:12-20
We see in Numbers that a census was taken about one year after the Israelites release from Egypt but before they refused to trust G-d to defend them as they took possession of the land He promised.
Although the census had a military purpose, it also was a powerful reminder that each individual had a common unity, family heritage and purpose within the wider family of Israel. That sense of unity and purpose was essential if they had any hope of being able to follow the L-rd’s commands as well as take control of the Promised Land while under attack from their enemies.
It disturbs me deeply to imagine Temple as a place where chaos and strong disagreement reign.
We also see that G-d arranged their encampments so that He was at the center with the Tabernacle and then surrounded the Tabernacle with all the family groups. This helped them, I believe, to remember to keep G-d in constant focus and the center of their thoughts and actions.
It is similar today when we use, for example, a tallit, mezuzah, or phylactery. During the day I tend to operate “head down” focused on the immediate tasks before me and do not look up much. So I need regular reminders to consider G-d’s priorities for all I do.
Although through prayer, study and quiet listening, G-d communicates with me, He uses the people around me as his hands and feet and sometimes mouth. So I can not face life’s challenges alone. Nor can I grow in spiritual fruitfulness in a cave. To grow and thrive, I need my blood family, my Temple family, my recovery family, and the friends I have picked up along the way.
We also see a couple of other things. First is that G-d sovereignly chose the leaders and roles they were to perform. Although a great privilege, especially for the Levites, He also made a point to include great responsibility and defined consequences.
Although I am never perfect, my word is my bond and those who know me understand that I never take my commitments lightly nor ignore the consequences, good or bad, of what I do. I call myself His Follower so I believe that I slander Him if I do not keep my commitments and be helpful and encouraging to those around me. We are known by our love said our Master. And what is love if not these things?
Second we see that it was a huge effort to move and supply the camp. It required an efficient operation underpinned with detailed organization and willing cooperation. Without these pillars, chaos, infighting, wasted effort and worse would have overtaken the camp.
This is a great example for Temple and for our own lives. Like G-d, we always need to be mindful of establishing clear lines of responsibility, authority, resources and deadlines to accomplish those tasks which our leaders have put before us through G-d’s agency.
But we can only be effective and efficient in the various groups in which we function if we remain united in vision, underpinned with a willingness to use the gifts He has given each of us and have a helpful humble spirit that seeks to help and comfort others first.
Through your prayers this week, I hope you’ll continue to work with me with your shoulder against our wheel.
Blessings to you and yours.
I hope to see you at our Shabbat prayer session this weekend.
Your brother in Yeshua in the TEVA TEFILAH,
Posted on Thu, May 22, 2014