Outside my window, doves are cooing, and birds are singing as I write this. It brings a smile to my face. I am filled with joy due to creation, and creation is always out there calling us, and as spring burst forth with life, we too should be sipping on sunshine and singing praises as the earth awakens from sleep.
Isaiah, the prophet, wrote some of the most beautiful passages in our Bibles. The Sages proclaimed only Moses was greater than this prophet. One verse has whetted my appetite this week. It is Isaiah 60:8: “Who are these who fly like clouds, like doves to their shelters?”
We see these clouds of witnesses proclaiming Spirit and Truth. Flying like clouds, like doves. Can you see the children of Israel following the cloud in the wilderness and setting up the tabernacle? Can you see a new army doing the same?
Isaiah continues in verse 9,
“Surely the islands will wait for Me, with the ships of Tarshish in the lead, to bring your children from afar,
with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you.”
The passage starts out with a proclamation. And one we will need as the world grows darker outside. Read it aloud. Shout it through the roof tops. Sing it in the shower.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. For behold, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you, and His glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around: They all gather and come to you; your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, and your heart will tremble and swell with joy, because the riches of the sea will be brought to you, and the wealth of the nations will come to you” (Isaiah 60:1-5, BSB)
One of my most remarkable learning experiences happened by chance. I met a young Muslim girl visiting the states. I met her when ISIS was in full swing and making world news with decapitations and worse. Our meeting was at a lake house. I wondered if she would have a scarf on and be dressed in black apparel with eyes only to view, but she had on a bathing suit and a beautiful smile. She was homesick and directly discussed war, ISIS, the Taliban, and how her relationship with Allah and her people’s beliefs were nothing like these cruel men who had stollen her peace. “God is love,” she said. We discussed her faith a bit, and she discussed “Jesus” with me and how she believed Yeshua was a prophet. I listened and shared some of my experiences and my faith in Yeshua as the Messiah. What did this lovely woman teach me?
She told me that her community back home was nothing like what she had experienced in America. She said, “Every morning one of the women in our community makes homemade bread, pastries, and thick, rich coffee. All the women and children gather at a different home each morning and share, play with the children, or discuss family. It is so lovely to have a community.”
Her words painted pictures of something I had read about in my Bible. This was at a time when the Father was showing me what a passage from the book of Acts honestly looked like. There was no steeple. No pulpit. No one man. And if there was poor or sick among them, they acted, and they knew who they were. The young Muslim woman helped me see it more transparently. Sometimes we show up thinking we are going to minister to someone, change their minds, show them the truth, and so forth, but Abba loves the world, and He uses many people from many backgrounds to minister or enlightens us if we are teachable. And in our learning from them, they are more reciprocal to listen to what we share. The problem comes when we think no one can teach us anything. Has the Father ever sent the Good Samaritan to minister to you? Someone you had preconceived notions about or had stereotyped them and placed them in a box? Raising my hand.
Vayakhel discusses the gifts the people brought who had willing hearts. Gold, silver, brooches and earrings, rings and necklaces, and all kinds of gold jewelry. Blue, purple, scarlet yarn, fine linen, goat hair, ram skins dyed red and delicate leather articles. They gave all these things. And they had willing hearts to let go of the gold in order to receive another gold—gold that can’t be bought at the store. Sometimes the gifts are coffee, bread, a bit of money, a pot of soup, mowing a lawn, cleaning a sick person’s home, or prayers. Paul shares in the work and the fire that reveals the work.
“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (I Corinthians 3:13-15).
I want my readers to stop here and envision all the gifts as a representation of spiritual gifts. Our jewelry, our precious stones. Tapestry woven together with beauty. A community of believers in Messiah Yeshua coming together and having willing hearts to give. Vayakhel reminded me of Abraham’s trusted servant who went to find a wife (bride) for Isaac (Joy/laughter). Eliezer means, Yah is my helper. The Holy Ruach Spirit is our helper and comforter.
Yeshua said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16).
The Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) adorns the bride, just as Eliezer adorned Rebecca.
“And the servant brought out articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave precious things to her brother and her mother” (Genesis 24:53, NASB).
I was raised that the building we drove to every Sunday was “church.” The church was a place we went. A place we gave tithes to. A place where one man taught us Christianity. But ecclesia is not “church.” A body of believers is an assembly, a community that recognizes a Jewish Messiah. Each person brings their gifting and operates in their gifting. In “church” settings, one could sit on a pew for years with no interaction or using their gifts. Never doing what they were created to do in their community. When we are doing what we were called to do, it brings delight. Remember, the Sabbath was to be a delight. Things that bring great joy are demonstrated by our Messiah. He was opening eyes on Shabbat and ears and feeding people fish and bread. Can you picture a whole community making and designing by hand the articles of the tabernacle? And if we are living breathing tabernacles, are we not also living stones fitted together?
“Drawing near to Him, a living Stone – rejected indeed by men, but chosen by Elohim and precious –you also, as living stones, are being built up, a spiritual house, a set-apart priesthood, to offer up spiritual slaughter offerings acceptable to Elohim through יהושע Messiah” (I Peter 2:4-5, ISR).
Because through Him, we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the set-apart ones and members of the household of Elohim, a having been built upon the foundation of the emissaries and prophets, יהושע Messiah Himself being chief corner-stone, in whom all the building, being joined together, grows into a set-apart Dwelling Place in יהוה, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of Elohim in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18-20, ISR).
Dr. Skip Moen brings a humbling response to this thing called “church” and what we have made it.
There are approximately 450,000 churches in America. That’s nearly a half-million buildings that need to be paid for, maintained, and managed. What nation on the face of the earth at any time in human history could ever afford such expense? Apparently, only in America. Even with 450,000 churches, that is only one church for every 625 people in the country. What kind of impact would the Body (not the church) have on those 625 people if all that money, time, and effort were redirected toward righteous living? What would America be like if the Body spent its resources on being Good Samaritans rather than good ushers or singers in the choir? Perhaps we will live to find out. If affliction brings commitment to God rather than to a building, perhaps God will bless America with affliction as it has never known. He did the same for Israel. Click HERE–Dr. Skip Moen
A solemn word but one that needs meditating on. The buildings will fall. Just as the great temple the disciples pointed out to Yeshua. Look they said. Just look at this grandeur temple, but Yeshua said, not even one stone will be left upon another. How do we find the humble picture? The buildings have to fall. If we took all the money and time and spent it on being living breathing walking obedient people, we could impact our communities in ways we never have. The word assembly in our Bibles is actually the word synagogue but the translators did not want anything Jewish. Paul wasn’t a Christian, he was from the tribe of Benjamin, and he kept the Sabbath, the Feasts, not Christmas or Easter and he did not eat unclean.
Adonai chose a 13-year-old young man to be His architect and designer. His name was Bezalel and his helper was Oholiab.
Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of craftsmanship, 32to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, 33to cut gemstones for settings, and to carve wood, so that he may be a master of every artistic craft. And the LORD has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and as weavers—as artistic designers of every kind of craft.
Exodus 35:30-35, BSB
Bezalel’s name means “In The Shadow of God and Onion of God.” Oholiab means The Father’s Tent. (Abarim Publication).
Meditate on the beauty of the Father’s design and the gifts He has given you. Do you have a community? How intimate is it? Sometimes the smaller gatherings are more intimate than the large ones. Sometimes at large events or gatherings, we make friendships that last a lifetime. I did just that at a Women of Valor conference. How can we go outside the community and use our gifts to bring healing, prayer, relief, and love to those who do not gather? Those lost and in need. How can we be like the people in the book of Acts? Not the Christian picture, but the true believers in Yeshua who were caring for one another and loving one another to the point they sold their homes, land, and belongings to make sure no one in their community was in need or going without.
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
–Acts 4:34, ESV
May we shine like diamonds. May we fly like doves to the spiritual land of Israel. You can always go there without money or a tour guide. Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of Adonai rises upon you. Yes, YOU!