Ki Tisa כִּי תִשָּׂא
“When You Elevate”
Torah: Exodus 30:11–34:35
PROPHETS: 1 Kings 18:1–39
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: 2 Corinthians 3:1–18
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Elevate All Donors
Today’s readings cover a lot of material. Let me offer a bit of structural analysis to spur your thinking. Consider the broader context of Tabernacle instructions that began back in 25:1. Notice how many times the words of 25:1, “The Lord said to Moses,” are repeated in today’s rishon. These demarcations of God’s instructions set apart the following:
a general offering to gather materials to build the Tabernacle and adorn the mediating priesthood (25:1ff, t’rumah),
the census and tax for military age adults (30:11–16; similar to a silver 50-cent piece, cf. 38:25–28 to see how this collected silver is used),
the bronze laver for priestly washing (vv. 17–21),
the anointing oil to consecrate as “most holy” (vv. 22–33),
the incense to burn before the presence of Adonai in the Tent (vv. 34–38),
a Spirit-enabled foreman, Bezalel, to head up Tabernacle construction (31:1–11) and finally,
Shabbat is set apart (vv. 12–17).
How many of these sets of demarcated instructions are there? What might God be saying regarding the way to find “rest for our souls” in Him alone (cf. Exodus 33:14, Jeremiah 6:16, and Matthew 11:28–29)? God knows what you need today and in the week ahead. What specifically can you do differently to appropriate His “rest” in your weekly routine? How about your daily routine?
Moses began his 40-day meeting with God during the first Shabbat on top of Mt. Sinai (Exodus 24:15–18). Why do you think God makes Moses wait six days before entering into His presence to receive God’s laws?
Now the 40-day period of fellowship and instruction is coming to an end. Who actually inscribes the two stone tablets (cf. 32:15–16)?
When the Israelites’ impatience and unbelief give rise to rebellion (vv. 1–6), God’s judgment seems unavoidable (vv. 7–10).
But mercy flows from the throne of grace when Moses’ intercession stands on the promises of God.
Joshua and Moses return to the camp and respond to the rebellion by smashing the stone tablets and destroying the golden calf.
Aaron’s blame shifting is reminiscent of Adam & Eve’s (cf. Genesis 3:11–13).
The Levites distinguish themselves by loving and obeying God even more than family and friends. This characteristic of exclusive devotion to God was what set apart Old Covenant priestly servants (cf. Exodus 32:29, Numbers 1:47–53) as well as “believer priests” following Messiah under the New Covenant (cf. Luke 14:26; Mark 10:29–30).
Moses intercedes again but there are still consequences for sin.
The most significant consequence is that God withdraws His presence from among His people. It is important to understand that this withdrawal is not primarily to punish but to protect! God’s holy presence among unholy people must have a “safety-valve” to deal with defilement from sin. Otherwise—death results! Thus, until the Tabernacle and priesthood can provide this “safety-valve” through making atonement, God protects His people through withdrawal of His holy presence (vv. 3,5; cf. Leviticus 15:31; Numbers 5:1–4).
God still meets with Moses outside the camp, however, in another “Tent of Meeting.” This tent outside the camp is a different tent than the one that will stand in the center of the Tabernacle courtyard. This reference comes while Israel is at Sinai whereas its references in Numbers 11:16, 24, 26, 12:4, and Deuteronomy 31:14 are when Israel is on the move between Sinai and Moab. God visibly spoke to Moses from outside this tent! This awesome sight most certainly aroused the people’s reverential awe for Moses as their leader. In a similar way, God audibly speaks to Yeshua at his immersion (Mark 1:10–11) which no doubt stirred the people to revere Him. In fact, the Holy Spirit’s job is to illuminate Yeshua’s glory so that everyone will revere Him (John 16:14)!
Are you falling deeper in love with Yeshua and following after Him with all your heart? How can you know for sure according to John 14:23–24?
Torah 3 & 4
Be Present Among Us
Moses despairs going up to the Land of Promise without Adonai because without His presence nothing will distinguish Israel from the rest of the nations.
The presence of God in your life distinguishes you from the rest of the peoples of the world all around you. In what specific ways does your life look different to others? God says to Moses in 33:14, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” The fullness of God’s Presence lives in Yeshua (cf. Colossians 2:9). Yeshua invites all people, “Come to Me!” for this rest (Matthew 11:28–30). Furthermore, He promises to never leave us (Matthew 28:20). Soul-rest does not come through inactivity but rather through faith in action. In what ways are you resting in God? In what ways do you seek soul-satisfaction in other places (i.e., entertainment, relationships, food, TV, movies, fantasy life, etc.)?
Behold, the Presence!
When God agrees to grant Moses’ request in v. 17, Moses makes another request, “Show me your glory!”
torah 5 & 6
God calls Him back up the mountain, this time schlepping up a replacement set of stone tablets, and does indeed show him His glory (34:6–7 fulfilled what God promised in 33:19–23). Moses remembers this revelation of God. Over a year later when Israel fails to go up and receive the Land of Promise, Moses uses God’s self-disclosure as the basis for intercession (Numbers 14:17–19). Because Moses knew God’s will for Israel, he prayed for Israel’s salvation by asking for God’s gracious forgiveness.
In His word, God tells us that His plans to save Israel will benefit all nations (cf. Romans 11:11–15). Furthermore, all God’s people, from every nation are instructed to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6) and “You who call on Adonai, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth” (Isaiah 62:6b–7). Spend a few minutes now seeking the Lord about this and interceding for Israel.
The Nation Elevated
Exodus 34:10 and 27 reaffirm God’s covenant relationship with Israel. The call to worship Adonai exclusively requires a total disengagement from the nations that surround. Otherwise, the world will rub off on God’s people and provide enticement to follow after other gods and other pleasures.
God has also called you to exclusive worship. Where do you look for pleasure and security apart from God? God’s instructions for worship in vv. 17–26 parallel His instructions in 23:13–19. The three pilgrimage feasts are God’s appointed times to help us keep Him in the center of our lives. This yearly “rhythm” is sustained by the steady “beat” of Shabbat each week.
We must cultivate holy habits to live holy lives. Moses shines from being in the presence of Adonai. Spend some time now in the presence of Yeshua in prayer. Then go out and shine for Him (Matthew 5:14–16)!
torah 7 &
Glowing for God
1 Kings 18:1–39
Quoted from Feinberg, J. Walk Exodus! 1999, p. 168:
“Eliyahu (Elijah) builds an altar in a place God chooses to make His name known. Eliyahu is called by the LORD to confront Yisra’el’s headlong plunge into idolatry. Ach’av (Ahab) is the eighth idolatrous king to follow in the footsteps of Yarov’am (Jeroboam), son of N’vat, who set up molten, golden calves in high places for worship (1 Kings 12:32–33) Now Ach’av accelerates evil by building a temple and altar to the Phoenician god, Ba’al (1 Kings 16:30–32). Eliyahu shuts up the sky for three years (1 Kings 17:1; 18:1; cf. Revelation 11:3–6). Then the LORD sends him to confront Ach’av. The nation thirsts for rain! Ba’al is the storm god, and fire is his domain of command. So Eliyahu calls for an altar, a sacrifice, and a contest to see Who can send fire to consume the sacrifice and rain to end the drought! Read Exodus 32:10; 1 Kings 18:19, 40. When God’s wrath is kindled against idolaters, God tells Moshe, ‘Now leave me alone, so that my anger can blaze…and I will put an end to them.’ What happens to the priests of Ba’al?”
Radiating God’s Glory
2 Corinthians 3:1–18
Quoted from Feinberg, J. Walk Exodus! 1999, p. 169:
“The New Covenant enables believers to be changed into the image of Messiah. What purpose in life is greater than this? Ultimately, God cares more about who you are than what you do for Him. Who you are is determined by your maturity, which advances ‘from one degree of glory to the next, by Adonaithe Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:18) In this reading, believers stand as did Moshe, when heaven descended on Sinai and he was called to the top. Moshe spoke to God face to face, and his face radiated the glory of God. Built on ‘newer and better promises’ (Hebrews 8:5–8), the B’rit Chadashah provides for transformation. Although the fault with people (such as weakness of the flesh) still persists, believers have direct access to God through Messiah, who has written His word on tablets of flesh (2 Corinthians 3:3). We who believe can behold the glory of God. By reflecting His light as we approach Him in prayer, our hearts are irradiated with the image of Messiah Himself! There’s a story about a man who died of thirst in a bathtub. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink! The man didn’t drink because he knew he had no glass! What blinds you from reflecting the light of God’s glory?”
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.