Torah – Exodus 30:11-34:35 Haftarah – 1 Kings 18:1-39 Brit Chadashah – 2 Corinthians 3:1-18
Ki Tisa (When you take) is a powerful parasha (portion) of Scripture with one of the more memorable “failures” recorded. I’m talking about the debacle of the golden calf. This is something we have looked at in depth in the past so it would be good in your study time to take another look at this important teaching as it is full of lessons for us here today.
This time around we will look at one simple truth contained in the opening verses of this portion. In some ways, it is obvious and yet profound with application for today. Let’s look at the verses before I go on.
Exodus 34:11-15, “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 12 “Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. 13 “But you shall destroy their altars, break their [sacred] pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 “(for you shall worship no other god, for the L-RD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous G-d), 15 “lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and [one of them] invites you and you eat of his sacrifice.’
This commanded offering which was intended for use in the Holy service at first glance may seem odd or, dare I say, even a bit unfair. The half shekel offering command of everyone 20 years of age and older. Specifically, what I am referring to is the fact that it is mentioned that the poor shall not give less and the rich shall not give more! (verse 15)
If we compare it to something like our modern day tax system, it certainly seems unfair. Some clamor that the rich do not pay their “fair share.” Some say that the poor are unfairly burdened and so on. Of course, in the case of the Scripture it is not referring to a tax.
I am not suggesting this is a “Thus Saith the L-RD” message, but certainly is a valid observation that I submit for you to consider. As always, there are many layers to the onion and we have explored this topic in the past, so I won’t rehash some of the other ideas I have presented, we will just look at this with a fresh idea.
Perhaps the L-RD was collecting that which was required to get the job done. Maybe He was interested in the people all participating in the project, if you will. Could it be that He wanted the people to be united and not divided in their endeavor? If everyone had equal skin in the game so-to-speak, then this certainly would avoid the sin of pride sneaking into the hearts of the people, would it not?
When I think of so many modern ministries, I can’t help think of building project after building project that is flawed from the very start. How many times have you heard a leader of the church call for all to give, and give sacrificially? They typically don’t stop there though! There are almost always different “levels” of giving that are recognized as special! Maybe you hear of enticements like if you give a gift of $500, your name will be engraved on a brick that will be on a special walkway of “thanks.” If you give $1,000, you and your family will have their names engraved on a beautiful plaque that will be prominently displayed in the grand foyer. And there always seems to be something equivalent to a special “President’s Circle” where if you give some extravagant amount to this ministry right now, you will have your name engraved on the most special way yet, perhaps on the very altar…oh, and you also get a list of special privileges too, reserved only for the most faithful (top givers.)!
Can you see a striking difference in the way G-d does things and the way fleshly man does things? G-d never, ever appeals to pride. Only a sense of love and obedience!