Exodus 28 (Read Here)
Exodus 29 (Read Here)
Exodus 30:1-21 (Read Here)
Exodus 30:22-38 (Read Here)
Exodus 31 (Read Here)
The greatest invitation we have while reading the old testament is to discover how the story points to Jesus which shows us just how alive the bible actually is. Our greatest temptation is to get lost in obsolete details. This specific portion of Exodus seems especially redundant and outdated. God speaks to Moses and says “You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.” (vs 2-3) The intent of the scripture is not to have you memorize each color and tassel or what animals were sacrificed or what type of incense were used but instead to seek in the passage what they reveal about God. We won’t go through all of the specifics but let’s look at a few.
For the garments, let’s start with the ephod. The ephod was a vest that had two stones that acted as a nametag of sorts. This chapter describes this piece of clothing as beautiful, most likely speaking to the beauty of God’s presence among the priests.
Next the breastpiece, called the breastpiece of judgment. The breastpiece covered the heart of man which signified their sins being covered in the sight of God. The breastpiece also had 4 rows of 3 stones each symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel that the priest represented in the Holy Place. The priest bears the judgment and remembrance of the people. The robe covered everything that the ephod and the breastpiece did not.
Next Moses is given detailed instruction on what to consecrate through sacrifice and how. They were instructed to make unleavened bread and to sacrifice animals without blemish. Tera-Leigh Cobble makes note of something in her bible recap series that is so incredibly beneficial while reading this portion of Exodus. She says, “If the idea of animal sacrifice bothers you, here is something that might be helpful to remember: God isn’t the one causing it, man’s sin is. Hebrews 9:22 says [under the law almost everything is purified with blood and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.] This is his provision. We should never be angrier at God’s provision of our sin than at our sin itself.” These practices had to happen to show that these things were set apart or holy to be used by God. At the end of chapter 29, God makes a statement that points directly to his holiness and his desire and intent to be with His people. “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.” (vs 45-46)
The incense and anointing oil were not left out in being set apart. God tells Moses exactly what ingredients should be in the anointing oil and what it should be burned on. As well as instruction on what should be given in a census tax, a financial offering to the Lord. The Priests are even called to a certain standard of cleanliness in this ceremony. God highlights two men that are full of His spirit. They show both intelligence in craftsmanship and ability. This shows us if God desires for something to be done, He will make a way for it to be done. We end today’s reading with a reminder to Moses of the sabbath. How are we to remember God’s work in our life if we are too busy?
These clothes and incense and animals were so much more than just a royal uniform and ceremony. They all served as a foreshadowing of Christ! We don’t need these righteous ceremonies and practices because Jesus now serves as our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-5:5). He is our advocate and took the place of man in the sight of God. Because of His sacrifice, we can step into God’s presence freely and forever. Praise God!
We get to be in the presence of God without fear because of Jesus. Take a moment to reflect on these questions. Do we see creator God with the reverence He deserves? Do we live differently because of our relationship with Jesus? Do we take enough time to recognize His presence is all around us? God, thank you for pointing us to Jesus through these passages in Exodus. Thank you for being a God who would stop at nothing to be with His people. SO very amen.