Exodus – God’s Way Out
How did the Israelites come up with all they needed to create, sew, craft the The Dwelling place and now the beautiful priestly garments? They are in a wilderness setting! And then another thought occurs to me. Because God is God, I remember that He told His people before leaving Egypt! God said to ask for these materials, the valuables from all their Egyptian neighbors!
“…When he releases you, that will be the end of Egypt for you; he won’t be able to get rid of you fast enough. ‘So here’s what you do. Tell the people to ask, each man from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor, for things made of silver and gold.’ God saw to it that the Egyptians liked the people. (Exodus 11)
See, God knows what we need before we know we need it to do His work in His way for His glory! As we read, try to imagine what the priestly garments will look like! Note the meaning behind each jewel and seam in the production of these garments meant only for the priests will will take the sins of the people to God for atonement. The vestments are to symbolize the beauty and glory of God. The vestments will show who is set apart, standing in God’s place as priest. Hold these thoughts until the end.
Exodus 28, The Message
1-5 “Get your brother Aaron and his sons from among the Israelites to serve me as priests: Aaron and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar. Make sacred vestments for your brother Aaron to symbolize glory and beauty. Consult with the skilled craftsmen, those whom I have gifted in this work, and arrange for them to make Aaron’s vestments, to set him apart as holy, to act as priest for me. These are the articles of clothing they are to make: Breastpiece, Ephod, robe, woven tunic, turban, sash. They are making holy vestments for your brother Aaron and his sons as they work as priests for me. They will need gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine linen.
6-14 “Have the Ephod made from gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine twisted linen by a skilled craftsman. Give it two shoulder pieces at two of the corners so it can be fastened. The decorated band on it is to be just like it and of one piece with it: made of gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and of fine twisted linen. Next take two onyx stones and engrave the names of the sons of Israel on them in the order of their birth, six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a jeweler engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in settings of filigreed gold. Fasten the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the Ephod—they are memorial stones for the Israelites. Aaron will wear these names on his shoulders as a memorial before God. Make the settings of gold filigree. Make two chains of pure gold and braid them like cords, then attach the corded chains to the settings.
15-20 “Now make a Breastpiece of Judgment, using skilled craftsmen, the same as with the Ephod. Use gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine twisted linen. Make it nine inches square and folded double. Mount four rows of precious gemstones on it.
First row: carnelian, topaz, emerald.
Second row: ruby, sapphire, crystal.
Third row: jacinth, agate, amethyst.
Fourth row: beryl, onyx, jasper.
20-21 “Set them in gold filigree. The twelve stones correspond to the names of the Israelites, with twelve names engraved, one on each, as on a seal for the twelve tribes.
22-28 “Then make braided chains of pure gold for the Breastpiece, like cords. Make two rings of gold for the Breastpiece and fasten them to the two ends. Fasten the two golden cords to the rings at the ends of the Breastpiece. Then fasten the other ends of the two cords to the two settings of filigree, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the Ephod in front. Then make two rings of gold and fasten them to the two ends of the Breastpiece on its inside edge facing the Ephod. Then make two more rings of gold and fasten them in the front of the Ephod to the lower part of the two shoulder pieces, near the seam above the decorated band. Fasten the Breastpiece in place by running a cord of blue through its rings to the rings of the Ephod so that it rests secure on the decorated band of the Ephod and won’t come loose.
29-30 “Aaron will regularly carry the names of the sons of Israel on the Breastpiece of Judgment over his heart as he enters the Sanctuary into the presence of God for remembrance. Place the Urim and Thummim in the Breastpiece of Judgment. They will be over Aaron’s heart when he enters the presence of God. In this way Aaron will regularly carry the Breastpiece of Judgment into the presence of God.
31-35 “Make the robe for the Ephod entirely of blue, with an opening for the head at the center and a hem on the edge so that it won’t tear. For the edge of the skirts make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet material all around and alternate them with bells of gold—gold bell and pomegranate, gold bell and pomegranate—all around the hem of the robe. Aaron has to wear it when he does his priestly work. The bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place and comes into the presence of God, and again when he comes out so that he won’t die.
The Turban, Tunic, Underwear
36-38 “Make a plate of pure gold. Engrave on it as on a seal: ‘Holy to God.’ Tie it with a blue cord to the front of the turban. It is to rest there on Aaron’s forehead. He’ll take on any guilt involved in the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate, no matter what they bring. It will always be on Aaron’s forehead so that the offerings will be acceptable before God.
39-41 “Weave the tunic of fine linen. Make the turban of fine linen. The sash will be the work of an embroiderer. Make tunics, sashes, and hats for Aaron’s sons to express glory and beauty. Dress your brother Aaron and his sons in them. Anoint, ordain, and consecrate them to serve me as priests.
42-43 “Make linen underwear to cover their nakedness from waist to thigh. Aaron and his sons must wear it whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the Altar to minister in the Holy Place so that they won’t incur guilt and die. This is a permanent rule for Aaron and all his priest-descendants.”
Priests, representatives of God, were the only ones who could approach the throne of God as an advocate for the people. This was the plan of God until the plan deteriorated by the generational sins of greed, power seeking, selfishness, and corruption of God’s Law by human priests.
The farther the priests got from the original intent of God’s Law to protect and care for His people the more suffering and corruption His people endured. It was so bad that God went silent for 400 years. Something else, or Someone else had to restore and fulfill God’s original covenant with a New Covenant for the people of faith. He was in God’s Plan all along because God’s knows His created, but the timing had to be just right.
That Someone was Jesus, The Messiah, whom the prophets foretold in the dark times. Jesus, our High Priest, above ALL earthly priests, took all our sin once and for all and nailed to a cross. Jesus, God’s Son, the only perfect One, who knew no sin became sin for us. This perfect Lamb of God, sent and set apart to be holy and perfect, had a mission from God “to seek and to save the lost”. Because He was God in human form, He willingly laid Himself down on the “altar of sacrifice” called a Roman cross of cruelty.
The pain He suffered in our place was so horrible that there was not a word for it until much later…excruciating was the word invented…meaning “pain of being nailed to a cross”. In the process of taking our sin on His shoulders, the beauty and glory of God faded for God could not be where sin is. Then, it was finished. Jesus died a human painful death.
God’s glory was revealed in again in the resurrection, the final victory over death, in our Lord, Jesus Christ!
Now, as believers, we are the priests, all of us, set apart by God, to tell others of salvation through Jesus Christ. How will others know who we are? Because of Jesus, there are no priestly garments that we wear on the outside to let people know who we are. We don’t need them.
Jesus gave us a whole new wardrobe to wear from the inside out. Paul tells us, as the church deployed, what to wear;
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”
WHAT NOT TO WEAR…
“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.
WHAT TO WEAR…
“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free.”
“Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3, NLT
“So, what are you wearing?” (Susan, from State Farm….)
Dear Heavenly Father,
You gave the responsibility of priests, representatives of you, to all of us who believe. I do not take this responsibility lightly. It is with humbleness, reverence, and gratitude that we come to you for help in carrying out our priestly duties to tell others of your love, mercy and grace. Help us to clothes ourselves daily in You so others will know you, too.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
All His wondrous compassion and purity;
O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
‘Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
Let the fruit of the Spirit be seen in me
Grant me grace all sufficient that I may be,
True and faithful each day, every step of the way
Pointing souls to the Savior on Calvary.