Gopher wood, tahas skins & Burger King

What is gopher wood or tahas skin? I don’t know. Truth is, I don’t care. Do you?

Yet, long ago people did know. In fact, from these misty linguistic shadows of the past arises an opportunity for spiritual self-reflection.

We know the stories. God instructed Noah to build an ark out of gopher wood. While we do not know for sure what type of wood this was, Noah knew. Many contemporary translations speculate it might have been cypress.

Later God instructed Israel to donate tahas skins (Exodus 35:4-7) for the Tabernacle. Translation speculations range from badger, porpoise, sea cows, dugong and goatskins to fine leather. Yet, Israel knew what God wanted.

The Red Sea has porpoises. Since Bedouins do utilize their skins, let’s pretend tahas meant that God was requesting porpoise skins.

Just think about this. What if we were there along with some other Americans and our most valuable possessions were some lion skins. What if the hearts of some were moved to give their very best, but Moses rejected this heartfelt lion skin donation? How would we respond?

Would a typical American bristle, be offended and accuse Moses of being legalistic? After all, having grown up in our Burger King world where we can have it our way, what’s wrong with a lion skin? It could serve the same purpose and probably look better!

Such a theoretical scenario where someone insists upon what I think should be acceptable involves forgetting that Burger King is the American way. Jesus’ way involves the attitude, “Not my will, but your will be done.” We are following Jesus, right?

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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