Bethel UMC and Woodlawn UMC are holding services on Zoom. Sunday School at Bethel UMC will be on Facebook Live and on Zoom.
Torah Reading for January 10 - 16, 2021
Welcome to the third week of the Presentation season! Last week you heard Jesus speaking to us, saying, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses [Torah] and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled…” (Luke 24:44). Jesus, then, did something extraordinary. He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high,” (Luke 24:45-49). With this in mind, let us look at this week’s Torah encoded reading, Exodus 25:1-27:19. In the Hebrew language (God’s sacred tongue) from which our English Bible translation was taken, this week’s Torah encoded reading is called, “Terumah,” translated, “offering,” see Exodus 25:1-2.
To understand this, one has to, first of all, identify the double references in the text. On a superficial linguistic level which is intended primarily for the Jewish audience, the reading focuses on the code “Terumah,” translated, “offering.” Thus, in the opening part of the reading, we hear God calling the people of Israel to take an offering for him by contributing thirteen (13) materials: gold, silver and copper; blue-, purple- and red-dyed wool; flax, goat hair, animal skins, wood, olive oil, spices and gems. The purpose of the offering is to build a dwelling for God. In the main part of the reading, Moses is, then, given detailed instructions on how to construct this dwelling for God so that it could be readily dismantled, transported and reassembled as the people journeyed in the desert. Please note that in the Sanctuary’s inner chamber, behind an artistically woven curtain, was the ark containing the tablets of testimony engraved with the Ten (10) Commandments; on the ark’s cover stood two (2) winged cherubim hammered out of pure gold. In the outer chamber stood the seven (7) branched menorah, and the table upon which the “showbread” was arranged. The Sanctuary’s three (3) walls were fitted together from forty-eight (48) upright wooden boards, each of which was overlaid with gold and held up by a pair of silver foundation sockets. The roof was formed of three (3) layers of coverings: (a) tapestries of multicolored wool and linen; (b) a covering made of goat hair; (c) a covering of ram and tachash skins.
Indeed, on a profound theological level, this week’s Torah reading, “offering” has an important message to us, the Church, the Body of Christ. This message is evident when the reading is interpreted in the context of this third Sunday of the Presentation season. And that is, in the beginning of our journey through this 2021 ministry year, God wants us to take for him an offering. From whom? From everyone whose heart makes him or her willing to give. And for what purpose? To make for God a home so that he may dwell in our midst. How do we know that? Listen, again, to our text for this week: The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel that they take for me an offering; from every man whose heart makes him willing you shall receive the offering for me,” (Exodus 25:1-2). Question. What are we to do with this offering? Answer: “And let them make me a Sanctuary that I may dwell in their midst,” (Exodus 25:8). In later years, when Israel’s sin resulted in the destruction of the Sanctuary, God remains faithful to them. Unfortunately, they neglected to rebuild the Sanctuary so that God would dwell in their midst. It is no wonder why God himself instructed the children of Israel, “Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it, and that I may appear in my glory…” (Haggai 1:8). Perhaps, it is for this reason that David said, “I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows.” (Psalm 66:13). John, then, put it this way, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people; and God himself will be with them,” (Revelation 21:3).
|Adult Sunday School||10:00 AM|
|Worhip Service||11:00 AM|
|Church Wide Bible Study||6:30 PM|
3180 Fort Campbell Blvd.
Clarksville, TN 37042