On Friday, I mistakenly posted a commentary for the wrong Parasha. Please find Baruch’s commentary for the correct one below. May you have a blessed week!
Parashat Va’eira (And I appeared) Exodus 6:2-9:35
Haftarah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
In this week’s Torah portion, worship plays a major role. In other words, the reader can learn many Biblical principles in this parashah concerning how one should worship the L-rd. HaShem had previously informed Moses that the primary purpose why Pharaoh was to send forth the people (Israel), was for them to worship G-d in the desert (Exodus 7:16). In one of the conversations between Moses and Pharaoh, Pharaoh seemingly agreed to send the people forth.
“Pharaoh said, ‘I will send you and you shall sacrifice to HaShem your G-d in the desert, only you shall not go too far…” Exodus 8:24
This verse actually relates only to Moses and not the Children of Israel, but the principle that this verse reveals can be applied to all people. The point is this: Pharaoh agreed for Moses to go into the desert and worship HaShem as long as he did not go too far, i.e. he could return quickly and things could return to normal. This is a “Pharaoistic” type of worship. This is the most common type of worship. Often times, people see worship as a type of obligation or something they feel is good to do, but they do not want to take worship too far away from their daily routine. For all the while they are “worshipping”, what is really on their minds is what they had left.
Biblical worship should bring about a change. It was never G-d’s intent that when the Children of Israel left Egypt to worship Him, that they would ever return to Pharaoh. Worship is inherently related to “New Life”. It is significant that even in Pharaoh’s words to Moses he understood that worship involves sacrifice (and you shall sacrifice to HaShem your G-d). New Covenant worship has the one who is worshipping as the primary sacrifice. This means we are to offer up ourselves to the purposes and plans of G-d. Paul teaches about living a worshipful life in his Epistle to the Philippians. There he writes about forgetting those things that are in the past and pressing on to the upward call of G-d in Messiah Yeshua (See Philippians 3:13-14). The message Paul wants to convey is that by means of Spirit-filled worship, things will be different. Therefore, one is not going back to those things he left when he went to worship, but by means of worship, G-d moves in us and in our situations in order to bring about changes: G-dly changes that reflect His character.
Pharaoh could tolerate Moses departing for a short while and doing his religious observance as long as he would promptly return and things were not interrupted. Realize that true worship will cause great interruption to your plans for your life. In fact, Spirit led worship will utterly destroy your life and replace it with Messiah’s life, which is to become your life.
Some of us (most of us) are attempting to worship G-d not too far away from what we have going on in our lives, so that we can return quickly and carry on with our programs for our lives. Stop this “Pharaoistic” worship and come alive in the worship that is characterized by the Spirit and the truth— then be prepared to be changed!