Shalom, my friend.
This weekly chapter discusses how Israel received the law from God on Mount Sinai.
But before we read this story, how Moses’ father-in-law Jitro came to him, bringing his daughter with him, the wife of Moses and his sons. The next morning, people started coming to Moshe for advice, and Jitro watched it all day until evening. He then gave Moses counsel that can still be used as a guide in choosing servants for the ministry. In order not to warn out himself and the people, Jitro proposed to Moshe the creation of a government structure, according to which chiefs of every thousand, one hundred, fifty and ten were placed over the people of Israel. The main criteria for selecting candidates for these posts were:
2) Fear before God
3) Love for the truth
Not an easy task. But in the end, the word of these people had to bethe lat one in in solving the small and medium problems that arise among all people until they left all of Egypt!
Together with Moses, they were called to bear the burden of responsibility for the whole people of Israel (18:22)! Only those who can rule, fear God, and love the truth more than money can help their leader lead the people to freedom!
After the organization of Israel, God considered it possible to give one law to all.
Next we read an interesting description of how Moses climbed the mountain four times and then descended. It seems that the Almighty has once again decided to control the humility of the (by the way, already quite old) man to whom he gave colossal power over his chosen people.
Obviously, it wasn’t easy. When God decided to send Moses down for the fourth time, he objected (19:23), but in the end he humbled himself and obeyed God.
It is interesting for me to read about Moses and the people of Israel about all these exams of God. With these and other similar stories, the Almighty shows us that only one who rules himself can be the true ruler of His people.
And finally, at the end of this chapter, we read about how God gives law to His people. Today, few people are surprised by the short list of commands engraved on stone tables. But for the Jews of that time, who had grown up in Egypt’s understanding of life and justice, it was a real revolution. It turns out that the most important thing for a person is his relationship with God. Besides, this God is the only one and there are simply no others. He calls for His name to be respected and not abused in vain.
From that time on, the Sabbath becomes a day that must be fully dedicated to His service.
From the transmission of the Ten Commandments, every Jew is obliged to respect his parents. It was something new even then. Indeed, it was customary among many ancient Gentiles for children to kill elderly parents who had lost their ability to work simply in order not to feed them. A similar custom existed among many nations until the Middle Ages. There is no evidence that the Jews did so, but instead a norm of respect was established by law… Who knows what would have happened if the Almighty had not taken care of the older generation…
I would also like to dwell on the last command of this list.
The decision “do not covet” concerns the realm of the mind. It turns out that you can sin even if you haven’t done anything physically yet. And you did not steal, nor kill, nor commit adultery, nor lie. But if you do not fight your desires, you will surely sin before your Creator. In general, our ancestors had something to change in their lives to please God.
At the end of the chapter, there are certain directions for ritual service. The Almighty does not allow the altar to be made of carved stones. And it’s better if it is made from a simple ground. God did not want faith in Him to immediately become an outwardly majestic religion built to Egyptian standards. Lush on the outside and empty on the inside.
He wanted to draw Israel’s attention to the content, not the shell. Unfortunately, these fears were not in vain. The worship of the God of Israel became more and more pompous on the outside, and from the leather tent Israel gradually reached the majestic temple built by Herod. But why does Yeshua make such bitter reproaches to the most beautiful place from a ceremonial point of view?
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and the vessel, while they are full of robbery and iniquity.
26 Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the dish so that the outside is clean.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are as painted graves which look beautiful, but within are full of the bones of the dead, and of all uncleanness.
28 So on the outward appear ye are just unto men, but within there is hypocrisy and lawlessness. ”Mt. 23: 25-28
I conclude the description of the Yitro chapter with the words that God spoke to Moshe before he received the tablets of the covenant:
“Go to the house of Jacob, and proclaim to the children of Israel: And thou sawest what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare thee on the wings of the eagle, and brought thee unto me; Therefore if ye obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be my inheritance among all people: for all the earth is mine; But thou shalt be with me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. ”Exodus 19: 3-6
God’s offer to all of Israel is valid to this day. All the people of Israel are yet to come to the time when they become the royal priesthood of God. Through Yeshua the Messiah, people can enter into their higher calling and fulfill God’s purpose. Come on!
Together with Shema’s prayer, we pray for this great goal:
Listen Israel! The LORD thy God is one LORD. And blessed be His name, whose glorious kingdom is forever. Amen!
Yours sincerely, Mikhail, Rabbi of the Messianic Jewish Messianic Congregation