That’s one of the things that i like about YHWH. It’s not all just about rules and regulations. It’s about utilizing all kinds of aspects of life. It’s about creativity and connecting the past, to the present, to the future. Worship is not just about sacrifices and burnt offerings. It’s also about bringing something before God that you are to consume in his presence. It’s about festivals and rest as well.
There are a number of festivals that are to be celebrated throughout the year; the Passover, Pentacost, the feast of weeks, the feast of booths, etc. They all have meanings and important interpretations. For instance, passover is a celebration of freedom from bondage and slavery under the Egyptians. It is a celebration of new life and hope. It is a celebration of freedom. Meanwhile, the feast of booths is a week long celebration in which the first day is a day of rest and the only work that can be done is the building of small booths made of the branches, boughs, and fronds of trees. It is a celebration as a reminder of the Israelite’s time in the wilderness where they had to rely on God for protection and provision. It is a time of blessing. The feast of booths begins and ends with a day of rest to the LORD. I mean honestly, how many religions do you know that celebrate rest?
Are we taking seriously what YHWH has done for us? Do we make it a point to remember and celebrate together the ways that He has brought health and healing to our lives? Do we remind one another and celebrate together His work and purpose in and through us? How can we do this more?
Everything has finally settled down. The masses have found a semblance of peace and are ready to handle themselves while Moses goes up the mountain again. God calls Moses, and he responds. He returns to Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights again where he brings two new stone tablets for the LORD to write on.
This is the same type of incident as before, but things have changed. There are definitely some key and significant differences. One of the beautiful things that happens here is that Moses relationship and connection with YHWH appear to have made some definite improvements. He is there for the same role and the same purpose as he was before, but Moses seems to have more responsibility as well as more depth in relationship with YHWH. The connection is much more direct and face to face. So much so that when Moses comes down this time, his face is shining so brightly that the people can’t even look at him. Their response is to fear him, and it is only after covering his face with a veil that he is able to come before the people. This covering of God’s glory, outpouring through Moses, continues each time he meets with YHWH. The veil becomes a constant reminder of Moses connection and response to God.
During this time on the mountain, YHWH decides to make note of the people’s tendency towards idolatry, He makes it clear to them that they are to destroy ALL evidence of the nations that exist in the land of Canaan, and to tear down anything that represents their false gods. This is more than just a command. This is a mandate. This is the direction that the people must take, even though God already knows that they are not going to. It is a notice that must be made and a direction that must be followed.
As i began reading this chapter i began thinking about the purpose of the priestly garments and the relationship between man and God. The question popped into my mind, “Does God need the priest to be dressed in special visually attractive garments? Are these garments related to giving honor and glory to YHWH because He IS God, or are they aesthetically pleasing and more serve the purpose of giving the Israelites an identity of worship to YHWH? Is it that elegant clothing somehow draws YHWH to the priests and His people more than plain clothing would?… I know, to some extent that sounds silly… Is it about giving YHWH glory and honor by bringing only the best into His presence? …like somehow He NEEDS that? Or; is it like when God spoke aloud honored Christ before the disciples not for Christ’s sake, but for theirs? Does this relate to God’s need for honor or glory, or the people’s need to be able to honor and glorify him through beautiful worship and sacrifice?
I thought it was a really interesting question and i really liked the direction that the question was leading. It’s a question that was definitely worth pursuing even if i already had a good idea as to the answer. Then i hit the end of verse two, and in all honesty i felt a little gipped. There was the answer sitting right in front of me; “for glory AND for beauty”. My reaction was, “Awe come on! You’re just going to GIVE me the answer! That’s no fun!” I figured that the answer was probably going to somehow be both, but it’s just so much fun to process through. At least i got to do it here.
The other thing i wanted to note really quickly is that the robes; the priestly garments seem to be given the same attention to detail and significance as the temple building itself. It started to get me thinking about the parallels between the temple as the outward covering of the Glory of God, and the priestly garments as an outward covering bringing glory to the priest.
Well, that’s all for now!
Proof that i do make mistakes.
Take 2: The second time’s a charm (or more of a charm) in this case. I actually pulled out the page that my first version of Chapter 22 was on and just redid the entire page. Here’s a picture of the first version.
A very long time ago i stopped believing in coincidences. I kept seeing God’s hand at work in what seemed to be insignificant and random situations. I began to understand and see God’s work and has His hands even in the little things. Sometimes i would start to see the connections right away, other times it would be a while before it started to become clear. Other times i never saw any connection at all. As a result, i try to make it a point to keep an eye out for those kinds of situations.
So i have been trying to find the connection between the event (my messing up that chapter), the missing verses (7-8), and the content of the chapter. So far i haven’t made any connections. I find it interesting that the two verses that are missing are the dialogue between Abraham and Isaac about where the sacrifice is, and that Abraham tells him that God will provide (has provided?) it. It almost seems like the missing page is like the missing sacrifice… only they don’t really connect beyond that statement. I know, i’m pulling at straws here… but then sometimes when you pull at straws, you end up finding a horse that you would not have found if you had just let the straw go.
In this chapter, Abraham takes a risk. It’s not really a risk… at least not the kind he thinks, but it sure must seem that to him. On the one hand, he loves his son very much. This is the son that he has been wanting and waiting for for possibly over a hundred years. This is his promised son. Yet God, the LORD, YHWH turns around and tells him that he must give up / sacrifice his son. This is the same God who had promised and provided him with this son. This is the LORD that gave him this joy in his old age. This is the same YHWH who now asks him to do the impossible. So what does he do? He obeys.
What seems to Abraham to be a loss is, because of his obedience, an amazing blessing in disguise. God sees / helps Abraham to see that he loves and worships nothing more than YHWH. As a result, what could have been lost, became a symbol of love. So what does that mean for us? Do we have something that we are risking putting between us and God? Is there something that we make more important to us (lord over us) than the LORD Himself? That could be a relationship, a job, a self-centered attitude, a grudge / unforgiveness, a theology (belief about God), or something else entirely. God may be asking you or i to give that thing up on the alter to Him. Are you, am i willing to do what God calls us to? What could happen if we do? What will happen if we don’t?