A Hole in the Ground
Pekudei "accountings of"
1 Ki 7:41-8:21
This is the number of the things
tabernacle [ha-mishkan], the tabernacle [mishkan-ha-edut] of the testimony, as they were numbered according to the commandof Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, the son of Aaron the priest. (Ex 38:21)
פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן מִשְׁכַּן
עַל־פִּי מֹשֶׁה עֲבֹדַת
The Torah portion opens with two "doubles." The Tabernacle, or Mishkan is doubled, and the accounting of (pekudei) the precious things of its "service". Rashi
says that the doubled "
" prophesies of the two Temples that would develop from it, Temples that would fall according to a future reckoning of Israel's faithfulness or unfaithfulness. After all, the Mishkan represented the people themselves; it was not the physical structure that was emphasized, it was how it represented the hearts of the individuals who contributed to it and worshiped at the appointed times.
Perhaps the doubled
also alludes to two
, or reckonings. Yeshua frequently taught of accountings in his parables. A parable is a natural story that illustrates a spiritual principle. It reminds us that what we see is not the ultimate sum of our eternal experience. It may add up to much, much more, or much, much less than we see.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The kingdom of heaven. How far away is it? We studied Abraham's purchase of the field in
that contained the Cave of
Machpelah where Abraham desired to bury his beloved wife Sarah
paid an exorbitant price in silver for the field, but he was glad to do so. When he did, the literal text reads that the field and the trees "stood up." Why?
Abraham revealed the hidden treasure in the field and took a step of faith, not just for the resurrection of Sarah, but all of his descendants. In short, you and me. He was happy to pay the price for his physical descendants and those from among the nations who follow the Holy One of Israel in faith. Abraham believed in the resurrection of the dead, and he put his silver money where his faith was. In Jewish tradition, the Cave of Machpelah marks the entrance back to the Garden of Eden. Abraham wanted Sarah and himself to be buried there as collateral for us. Faith in the resurrection is a treasure that is hidden to the living, yet it is found right there in the field for the believer.
How do we know we believe in the resurrection? We sell everything and acquire that field. We develop it. Plant it. Grow fruit and share it with those who haven't yet found the treasure or who have grown weary in working the field. When we commit ourselves to the treasure of believing in the reckoning, the field and trees of righteousness will "stand up" as we pass into the Kingdom of Heaven. That field is only developed, however, by a life of service in the Mishkan, service for the Body of Messiah and those who are being added to it, those who will stretch its tent-pegs.
If we don't truly believe we've found the treasure, we keep the precious things in our own tents. Even though Adonai gave the silver, gold, wood, dyes, yarns, and incense to the Israelites when He delivered them from Egypt, He lets each person decide how much to give back to Him. When they give toward the Mishkan, He is allowing them to give to the proportion they desire to increase and beautify Israel. It was His, and he gave them stewardship; all He wants to know is whether they realize that those raw materials are theirs to invest for Him, not to hoard inside their own tents to make beautiful tapestries or upgrade their forks and spoons to silver and gold.
The act of paying that great price for such a treasure of hope and faith elevated the natural field for Abraham, revealing its relationship to the supernatural. The beauty of the eternal reward is just on the other side of the good deed. We may not see it, but we believe it.
Only when the great personal price is paid with joy for greater Israel does the resurrection life lived today elevate our mortal experience with the Divine.
Only when that great personal price is counted out with joy, as
it" does one share in the elevated beauty of the experience.
Where does the joy come from when the immediate,
concern is the great personal price? Here are some of the accountings we make within ourselves when we have no joy in Israel's building, and we'd rather invest that coin of our lives in service to something else. Serving the Mishkan today may mean:
It's not fun.
It won't make me more popular.
It won't make people respect me.
I don't want my kids to feel left out.
I'll miss out on something that will be fun right now.
We are free to make those accountings now and pay for them later, or rather, remain unpaid, unrewarded for good works we never gave to the Mishkan. Israel gave to the Mishkan as their hearts moved them, and their joy was in an intimacy with the Mishkan that even the High Priest couldn't duplicate. The giver of gold held that precious mineral in his or her own tent before investing it, handing it over to Moses, Betzalel, or Oholiav. They'd handled it, admired, enjoyed it, but now the gold could be transformed by a wise-hearted craftsman who would make the Ark of the Testimony that the High Priest would see only through a cloud of incense. In fact, the Israelite who donated the incense would have enjoyed the transaction of taking from his own tent and giving it to the holy service.
There was a doubled Mishkan in the opening verse, the Mishkan, and the Mishkan of Testimony. The Testimony was the commandments hidden in the Ark. The giver of shittim wood or gold to build that Ark was more intimate with the Testimony than the High Priest who visited there once per year. In this, we can be like Abraham, joyfully keeping commandments in faith that it is a Testimony that will make the field and the trees stand up at the resurrection. The High Priest's honor was revealed. The cheerful, joyful giver of the gold and wood will be revealed at the resurrection when those who sleep "stand up," no longer subject to the greedy, rebellious desire of the Serpent who can never stand up and accuse a cheerful giver at the second accounting.
There is an accounting you will do today. What has Adonai put in my hand?
There will be an accounting at the resurrection. What did you put back into His hand? The evidence will be found in the Mishkan of Testimony.
5 explains the linguistic connection of
, a construct describing the means of the indwelling
The Israelites' gifts to purchase the
represented their own hearts. Not perfect hearts, but their best behavior and sincere desire for holiness and relationship with Adonai and their brothers and sisters. The joy with which we keep the commandments and serve our brothers and sisters in Messiah is the collateral held until the final accounting.
The Kingdom is just on the other side of your joyful act of obedience.
the kingdom of heaven
will be comparable to
ten virgins, who took their lamps
and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish, and five were
. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but
took oil in flasks
along with their lamps
. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight
there was a shout
, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out
him.' Then all those virgins
and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the
, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out
The wise-hearted virgins were thinking ahead.
They were event-planning like the Israelites whose hearts moved them to contribute to the
by sacrificing, or purchasing the collateral of the immediate contribution. They could had a view toward the ultimate dwelling place of the
cloud in the gathering of the righteous under the tent.
They purchased supplies because they believed the bridegroom would come even though he delayed. Even though they fell asleep, or died, they lived lives of preparation.
The "shout" is a catchphrase describing the resurrection of the dead when the shofar sounds to gather the righteous from the four winds. All ten virgins were resurrected (rose), but not to the same "room" as the wise ones who paid the price of service in their faith.
The Torah is the light, and the commandment is the lamp. It is those who light up their world with the commandments joyfully who will light the wedding. Does Yeshua want believers with sour attitudes toward the Father's commandments and other believers at the wedding? Where's the light in that?
The time to do good was during the wait. They didn't know when the bridegroom would come, so the foolish virgins avoided the sacrifice now and became "later" virgins. The longer the wait, the more inclined their hearts toward bad deeds and avoiding good ones. These lights of the Torah render the full oil flasks for the second accounting:
wise of heart will receive commands
, but a
babbling fool will be
It was those whose wise hearts moved them who contributed toward the Mishkan, for ultimately it would benefit them even though they couldn't see the finished tent "stand up." It was faith in the joy of their gifts, the Spirit of Adonai in the wise craftsmen, and the One who planted those gifts within human beings. Their hearts RECEIVED commands.
The foolish virgins, however, would rather talk about things than do them. They hide their favor from the Body of Messiah and begin to twist the Word into error to avoid giving from their tents.
a fool speaks
practice ungodliness and to speak error against the
the hungry person
unsatisfied and to
withhold drink from the thirsty
This helps us to understand the fool's reasoning:
has said in his heart, 'There is no God
they have committed abominable
is no one who does good
The foolish virgins would never say aloud that there is no accounting for sinful acts or for not doing good. By their actions and inactions, however, they acknowledge that they've made no acquisitions to open the door to the wedding. A fool may have an empty flask for two reasons: he transgresses the Word or he does not do the good he knows to do. If he does give joyfully, it is not to the Body of Messiah, but to someone or something for which he will receive a personal benefit in the here and now.
fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God
are corrupt, and
have committed abominable
is no one who does good
. (Ps 53:1)
Don't mistake these verses for the thoughts of an atheist. That is not the context. The ellipsis is "...there is no God who will judge me." The fool may have a vague sense of death and resurrection, but he has no sense that how he manages his account today will make a difference at the second accounting of the Mishkan. It's bad enough if he merely ignores the Mishkan and rejoins the world with only a form of godliness, but the fool may also tear down the work of Mishkan speaking nonsense and slandering other believers as if there will be no accounting for those silly or vicious posts, phone calls, tweets, or blogs.
Yeshua gives another example:
For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five
, to another, two, and to another, one, each
according to his own ability
; and he went on his journey.
the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.
In the same manner
the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and
dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's
. (Mt 25:14-18)
Like a wise virgin, the five and two-talent workers worked now, "immediately." They didn't waste any time investing the talent and redeeming the time, for they didn't know when the Master might return. They "traded" their freedom to pursue their own hobbies and interests for the sake of the Master's kingdom. They could envision an accounting.
Did the lazy servant think the best that he could expect was to preserve the one talent, or was he really just lazy, as
says, a "later" servant who buries what he has received, intending to come back after he enjoys some free time, a time of convenience, a time when it will be easier?
Now after a long time the master of those slaves
accounts with them
. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.' His master said to him, 'Well done,
good and faithful
. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things;
enter into the joy of your master
The two faithful servants were called "good." They merited the joy of the reward with the Master, for they had worked with joy, yielding fruit from the treasure in the field, for the talents did not belong to them. They understood their roles as stewards, not owners. What they could not see was the REWARD for their joyful work for the Master. What they refused to see as personal property, but belonging to Adonai, He gave to them along with the yield...for eternity.
And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.
And I was afraid, and went away and
hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.' But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in
the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore
the talent from him, and
give it to the one who has the ten talents. (24-28)
See the analogy? The wicked, lazy slave buried the resource, just as he would be buried in a hole in the ground some day. His burial was not accompanied by joyful good deeds and obedience. Yeshua teaches that at the least, he could have taken his resource and put it in the hand of one who knew how to bring forth fruit in the field, a "banker" who can take a lazy believer's coins and invest them in feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and providing the food of the spiritual Word, teaching the righteous garments of the commandments.
The lazy worker would then at least have received the reward of the interest earned when he applied it in faith toward a wise worker's investment.
Ironically, he could have done what he accused the Master of doing, reaping where he did not sow directly, but entrusting the "start-up capital" in his work to others to perform. Instead, he hid that which had the power to yield increase for the resurrection and accounting. The potential to do good was beneath him.
The "one" dead soul will be cast into outer darkness, yet his Master-bestowed spiritual gift is not wasted. It is simply transferred to a living soul in the Kingdom who knows how to make it shine with joy; it is not lost. No commandment was the "least" to the joyful servant to radiated the joy of the Master.
Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me
This echoes Isaiah's statement about the fool who denies food, clothing, and water to the needy. The fool does not see anyone's needs but his own, but the commandments are to give light, not take it. To withhold the light of one's countenance from brothers and sisters in need of may be likened to removing one's self from the table of the Bread of Faces, a Table prepared in the very presence of one's enemies.
The Kingdom is just on the other side of the joyful commandments. The enemy who berates you for doing good or keeping a commandment doesn't understand that at that very moment, a Table is being prepared for you in Heavenly places, for he is a wicked, lazy fool, denying the accounting of the Mishkan.
Serving people who you think are beneath you may be your only opportunity to raise yourself to be their equal in the Kingdom.
The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you,
to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me
The wise-hearted craftsmen of the Mishkan were Betzalel from the Tribe of Judah and Oholiav
, son of
, who was from the Tribe of Dan, considered the "lowest" of the tribes (
to Ex 35:34). Oholiav was raised to be the equal of the royal, the noble tribe of Judah with
for the sake of the
= My Father's Tent, son of
= My Brother Supports
= In the shadow (protection) of God
The Master of the Kingdom of Heaven models the attitude that he wants us to have. When we find a wise heart, support that brother! Wisdom does not always dress in the nicest clothes, smell like the perfume counter at the mall, or have a pleasing voice. There is some treasure in that believer or person hungry to hear the Word. Find that treasure, for Yeshua traded everything to find and purchase you.
would have despaired
unless I had believed
that I would see the
goodness of the LORD in the land of the living
. (Ps 27:13)
Take joy in the commandments today, and you will be a good and faithful servant who has the extra flask of oil to light the wedding at the resurrection. When we enter the Garden, the land of the living with Yeshua at the resurrection, it will be because we've seen his goodness even when all we had to go on was faith. Where others see a hole in the ground, we must see the Kingdom. It's just on the other side of that joyful commandment. See it?
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MORE NEWS from
LaMalah Children's Centre
The LaMalah Children's Centre has now been registered with and certified by the Kenyan Department of Social Development. Thank you to all who have donated toward this good work. We received this latest email from Brother Peter concerning the successful registration and its new responsibilities:
Shalom Sis. Hollisa:
We are all delighted to hear from you. It's good news about additional funding as the registration process ate a chunk of our operating costs.
We are now working closely with the goverment as they are very concerned with all children below the age of 18. I was in a meeting today in the office of the children in Limuru and another will be on 5th out of town.
Among issues addressed today is
1) To assess the development of each child as compared to when he/she came to the CCI (The goverment calls Orphanages "Charitable Children's Institutions")
2) Assessment of the CCI in relation to Goverment of Kenya set standards, with focus on staff/child ration,access to services, safety and child safe guarding, case management processes and exit strategies.
3) To document day by day information on the type of services that the CCI provides.
4) Each CCI to document regularly the number and profile (age, sex,ethnicity,disability,orphan status, reason for placement,age at placement,length of time in care etc.
5) To document knowledge, attitude and practices related to managers and staff of the CCI as well as community members.
6) To document the challenges experienced by CCI, managers and staff and the opportunities that exist in providing care for the children.
The Children's officers will educate including desk review, guidance on engaging with children and other local actors, checklists, questioners, case file reviews, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions.
After attending a series of such meetings a few things crop up.
1) We need employ a person with basic computer skills to do all the documentation in a daily basis. This calls for an additional minimum of $150 salary per month.
2) We too need employ a qualified Social Worker trained in the field..
I need to work closely too with others who can attend to some of these meetings and issues in case am not in a position to do so.
Our next CCI's meeting is on 5th and hopefully we will have got funding for the next quater, father willing!
At one time we mentioned buying a separate portion of land for the orphanage. We have been praying a lot for this. It is our desire to operate the Assembly and the CCI as two different entities;-the assembly run by ordained elders and the CCI by a board of management who qualify and have passion for children.
If you would like to donate to the Children's Centre or other Torah-based orphanages through The Creation Gospel, click on the link below. The story of LaMalah may be found at