Parsha Tetzaveh - Shemoth/Exodus 27:20 - 30:10
Parshat Tetzaveh continues where Terumah left off with more instructions for the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The instructions this week focus on the menorah (oil and lighting), the priests' garments and inauguration ceremony, the daily offerings on the bronze altar, and the golden altar of incense.
One thing that stands out in the readings is the priests - not just their clothing and their dedication ceremony but also their duties. The priests served YAHUAH in the set-apart place daily - morning and evening.
Every morning and every evening, they offered the burnt (or ascending) offering on the bronze altar in the courtyard (Shem/Ex. 29:38-42).
Every morning and every evening, they tended and lit the lamp, the menorah, in the set-apart place. (Shem/Ex. 27:20-21).
Every morning and every evening, when they tended the lamps, they offered incense on the golden altar (Shem/Ex. 30:1-10).
This was the priests’ duty. Rain or shine, twice a day, they served YAHUAH.
With all the details given in these last two parshas (and still to come in future chapters), we see that everything in the mishkan was perfectly structured and organized. Nothing was done haphazard or willy-nilly.
The building and construction was done precisely, and so was the priests’ service. The priests’ did exactly as YAHUAH instructed them, at the right time and in the correct manner.
Their service was structured, and it was constant. The menorah burned continually, the bronze altar held a continual burnt offering, and the golden altar burned continual incense.
The priests in the mishkan did not cease in their duty. Regardless of how they felt, regardless of what was going on their personal lives, regardless of the surrounding circumstances - the priests did their duty.
They had an order, they had a structure, and they did it diligently twice a day.
At Sinai, YAHUAH said that if we obey His voice and guard His covenant, He would make us a “a reign of priests and a set-apart nation” (Shem/Ex. 19:5-6).
Anyone who dedicates himself to YAHUAH can be considered a priest.
And such is the duty of a priest: to serve YAHUAH everyday, twice a day, rain or shine.
We serve Him with:
offerings of prayer, praise, and thanksgivings (bronze altar)
Torah study (menorah)
and deep, sincere prayer (golden altar)
Our service is daily, continually.
Not just when we feel ‘on fire’ and enthusiastic, but even when we don’t ‘feel’ like it.
Not just when we have time on our hands, but even when we’re busy beyond belief.
Not just when things are going well in our lives, but even when - and especially when - we have problems and troubles.
Regardless of the circumstances of our lives, we serve Him everyday, twice a day, continually.
Creating a structure helps us stay consistent. For example:
Set a time and place.
Determine what you will read and study.
Consider things you will pray about.
The same way we tend to our body everyday - eating, bathing, exercising, etc. at certain times - so too (and even more so) we must tend to our spirit everyday.
Naturally, we don’t all start at the level of priesthood service to YAH, but that is the goal that we must work towards in our worship and service to YAHUAH.
If we create structure for ourselves and work to build consistency, always striving to do just a little better today than yesterday, then eventually, we will become the priest that YAHUAH has called us to be.