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B'Midbar/Numbers 1:1 And Adonai spoke to Moshe in the Sinai desert, in the Tent of Meeting ...
As we move into the next major section of the Torah, we find Moshe talking with Adonai in the Tent of Meeting. You will recall that at the start of the last book, Vayikra, Adonai calls to Moshe from the Tent of Meeting - an open call which presumably others could have heard - and gives him instructions that the people are to obey regarding the different types of sacrifices. Here, as the text goes on to tell us, Moshe is given instructions that he is to obey: to take a count or census of the people. Tradition holds that the Tabernacle was erected on the first day of Aviv/Nisan, and this is now the first of Iyar. Just as it is tradition that the mezuzot are to be affixed to the doorpost within thirty days of a Jewish family taking up residence in a house, as it is then considered a permanent dwelling, so Adonai waited thirty days after taking up residence in the Tabernacle before counting the people so that everyone would know that He was there to stay: a permanent dwelling.
Now that things have settled down in the camp, the passage also tells us something about the relationship between Moshe and Adonai. No longer does Moshe go up a mountain or hear from G-d from the middle of a burning bush, but they meet in the privacy and quiet of the Tent of Meeting. In other words, Moshe starts having regular quiet times! The text tells us that not everything is designed to happen in public - there are some things that are not that are supposed to happen in private; one-on-one, just an individual and the L-rd. Many of the great pivotal moments of faith described in the pages of the Scriptures - Avraham, Elijah, Jeremiah and others - were profoundly personal moments, just G-d and the person concerned: one-on-one.
So it is no surprise to find Yeshua picking up the same theme. Teaching the disciples, He says, contrasting them with the very public acts of piety of some of the Jewish leaders, "But you, when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:6, CJB). Times of corporate prayer, when the body comes together to seek G-d's face, can be incredibly powerful; one will lead in song, another will bring a scripture, yet another a word of prophecy, and all pray together - and heaven is moved; mighty things are accomplished in the heavenlies when believers gather to pray together. But, astonishing as it may seem from a human point of view, just as much happens when each one of us prays, or spends time with G-d. It is almost as if G-d puts the whole of heaven and the rest of the world on hold in order to spend precious personal moments with us. It is when we are on our own with G-d that He confronts, challenges and comforts us in our relationship with Him; it is then that He heals the pieces of broken days and rejoices to share our triumphs and successes.
Further Study: 1 Kings 19:9-14; Luke 6:12-19
Application: How are you doing on personal time with G-d? When we get busy, our quiet times with Him often get squeezed. Why not make the time today to spend in quietness with G-d? Get a fresh cup of tea or coffee and sit down and talk things over with Him.
© Jonathan Allen, 2004
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