There are many today who believe that what you wear should not make a difference in who you are or what you are capable of being and doing. Is that just wishful thinking? Can we humans truthfully say that what we wear is how we are still judged today. If I walk in to a room smiling, but with worn flip flops on my nasty unkept feet, wearing a t-shirt that has seen better days with jeans that need a good washing, what are your first thoughts about me? Nice smile? Or would you shy away from me because of the smell along with a prayer to God to help me? What if I came into a room with clean clothes, fresh from a good shower with that same smile on my face, what would be your reaction as a first impression of me?
“Dress for success” we have been told by our culture. “Clothes make a person”. Admit it, our thoughts about a person are based on first impressions of that person’s appearance. Unkept means lazy to our culture. Bathed with trendy clothing marks a person as a go getter. But what if God chose your clothing, as His representative to His people, vests and cloaks with built in significance as a remembrance of what He has done? What if His clothing reminded you that your work is to minister to everyone for it is everyone of His People that God loves and cherishes?
Mm, what to wear…Is what I’m wearing make me look fat—with arrogance? Or is what I’m wearing inviting people to see Jesus in me?
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 dedicate, 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 dedicate 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.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
God dresses Aaron and his sons with symbols of His love, mercy, rescue, judgement and grace. So what are we “wearing” today?
The variety of stones on the breastplate suggests the variety of people in the church, all of them precious to God. Each of the tribes had its own distinctive outlook and personality, and no two were alike. Some were quick to go to battle, while others stayed home (Judg. 5:13–18). Some were easy to work with, while others liked to argue and be important (Judg. 8). Yet the Lord loved them all and the high priest had to minister to them all.
Twice in this section the priests were warned that they might die if they didn’t fully obey the Lord’s instructions and wear the right garments. In other words, God’s servants must walk in the fear of the Lord and be careful to obey Him and give Him the glory. Jesus came to give life and teach truth. His disciples wrote down what is the most important to God based on what Jesus deemed the greatest commandments: Love God with all our hearts, minds and souls. Love each other like loves us.
John the Baptist was the first “priest”, called of God to preach the coming of the Lord, our Messiah, someone much greater than himself, who dressed counterculture in the world. John preached in simple clothing that most religious leaders repelled. John wore animal skins, ate locust and wild honey down by the river so he could immediately baptize those who repented to God! Impressive to the well-dressed? Hardly. The priests of Jesus day now dressed to represent their own pride and arrogance—to opposite of God’s intent. All meaning and significance was lost through centuries of generations of priests.
So, God called John who preached humility and repentance. John introduced a new way of thinking to a world that had forgotten God altogether. He preached about Someone who would change the world forever. This Someone was Jesus, Son of God, the One and Only sent to take away the sins of the world. With Jesus came the Good News of a new way of thinking, talking, loving and behaving—a new way to dress for “success” in God’s Kingdom. Paul explains to believers, who are ALL priests, all “ambassadors (representatives) for Christ”, exactly what this looks like:
“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 3:10-17
Dear Friends, this is how the smile on our faces form! Our smile represents the smile of God on us, living in us, being His chosen representatives to a world who needs a Savior. It is no longer what style of material clothing we wear, it’s how we dress our hearts, minds and souls. May the smile of God bless you today as you read and meditate on His word. Point the way to Jesus! And smile! Our smile opens the door to hearing about Jesus. My prayer for us…
In Jesus Name, For His glory, so others will know, Amen!
Make ’em wonder what you’ve got
Make ’em wish that they were not
On the outside lookin’ bored
Let it shine before all men
Let ’em see good works and then
Let ’em glorify the Lord
Shine, by Newboys