Life Skills from the Word of YHWH

KiTissa (When You Take (a Census))
(Sefer Shemot) Exodus 30:11-34:35

30:12- “When thou take the heads of the children of Yisrael after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto YHVH, when thou number them; that there be no plague among them, when thou number them.
32:1- And when the people saw that Moshe delayed to come down from the mount, the people assembled by Aharon, and said to him, Arise, make us gods, which shall go before us; for this Moshe, the man who lifted us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.
5- And when Aharon saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aharon made proclamation,
7- And YHVH said unto Moshe, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:
8- They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Yisrael, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
19- And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moshe's anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
20- And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it upon the water, and made the children of Yisrael drink of it.
25- And when Moshe saw that the people were naked; (for Aharon had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
26- Then Moshe stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on YHVH's side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
27- And he said unto them, Thus says YHVH the Elohim of Yisrael, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.
28- And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moshe: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
33- And YHVH said unto Moshe, Whosoever has sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book.
35- And YHVH plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aharon made.
34:12- Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goes, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
13- But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
14- For thou shall worship no other god: for YHVH, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous Elohim.”

“The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
(Proverbs 14:11-12)

“Thus says YHVH Tzivaot; I was jealous for Tzion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with
great fury. Thus says YHVH, I am returned unto Tzion and will dwell in the midst of Yerushalayim: and
Yerushalayim shall be called a city of truth and the mountain of YHVH Tzivaot, the holy mountain.”
(Zechariah 8:2-3)

“And Eliyahu came unto all the people, and said, How long will ye waver between two opinions? if YHVH be Elohim, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”
(1 Kings 18:21)

““Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, says YHVH, and do tell them, and cause my
people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them:
therefore they shall not profit this people at all, says YHVH.”
(Jeremiah 23:32)

“Therefore thus says Adonai YHVH, Now will I bring again the captivity of Yaakov and have mercy
upon the whole house of Yisrael, and will be jealous for my holy name; After that they have
borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they
dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.”
(Ezekiel 39:25-26)

KiTissa Summary:
1. Lending our Ears and Earrings to Erring Ways:

Before Moshe could return from the mount with those Commandments that Yisrael had heard forty days earlier, while still receiving instructions concerning the holy kohanim-led worship, the people had gone astray. Restless in their hearts, sobriety yielded to disobedience, and faithfulness to whoredom. Despite those clear demonstrations in which HaShem had unveiled Himself, the voice of dissent, impatient and proud with serpentine emulation, exchanged the glory of Elohim for an idol.
Though it sounds absurd that a people would place their hope in a recently defeated foe, a future, filled with folly and false gods, would follow. In Jeremiah 35:15, the prophet records Yisrael’s wanderings:
“I have sent also unto you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying,
Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods
to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye
have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto Me.”
Instead of using those slavery reparations to offer tribute to the True and Living One, history would tell a saga of another kind of spoilage, giving our strength in an adulterous way to strange gods. Personifying Yisrael in this manner, Hosea 4:11-12 exposes the cause of turning from serving the Holy One of Yisrael to bowing to vain idols; an intoxicated heart had lead to their lawless ways, i.e.:
“Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. My people ask counsel at their stocks,
and their staff declares unto them: for the spirit of whoredom has caused them to err, and they
have gone a whoring from under their Elohim.”
Like Hosea, Isaiah 28:7 attributes the snare of drunkenness to the people’s inability to discern the way:
“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the kohain
and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of
the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble.”
Yet, as insidious as alcoholic revelry might be, it is the intoxication of strange ideologies, which cause an inebriation of erring from the Covenant; Jeremiah 51:7 warns us, today, of Babylon’s libation:
“Babylon has been a golden cup in YHVH’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations
have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.”
The “Shema” is about hearing. May our gold wait for True Glory as it is written in Proverbs 25:12:
“As an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”

2. A Golden Opportunity to Have a Total Meltdown:
So passionate is HaShem for the hearts of His people that He will not condescend to our will. As jealous as He is for His betrothed, HaShem’s fury reveals an Elohim, who will get His beloved back on track. Deuteronomy 9:18-19 recalls the moment when Moshe pled our cause and obtained more favor:
“And I fell down before YHVH, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread,
nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of YHVH,
to provoke Him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith YHVH
was wroth against you to destroy you. But, YHVH hearkened unto me at that time also.”
Question: When was the last time you fell on your face before the King, beseeching the mercy for yourself or another? Remembering Elohim’s jealousy, let us be moved by the words of Joshua 24:14:
“Now therefore fear YHVH, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods
which your fathers served on the other side of the river, and in Egypt; and serve ye YHVH.”


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