The priestly laws continue. It must be hard to be a priest in Biblical times. The rules and regulations you had to keep track of. Some of them are obvious of course… like if you touch something unclean you will remain unclean until evening. No leaper of the sons of Aaron may eat of the holy sacrifices, and while the family may eat, the married daughters may not eat unless she is divorced or widowed with no children and returns home to her father’s house. It just seems like the laws and rules never end, but they are there for a reason. An important reason. Because someone needed to represent the people to YHWH, and YHWH to the people.
So the priests were responsible for the sins of the people and their relationship with YHWH. They are the ones who placed their lives on the line day after day to make sure that the people’s sins were covered. They are the ones who had to do everything perfectly every day and every time. They had to teach the people the precepts of YHWH. It is their responsibility and their honor. YHWH is a holy and a jealous God. To serve Him day by day is an honor and a responsibility of a lifetime.
Do we take YHWH seriously, or do we just use Him as a rescue raft. Do we worship the Holy God, or do we demand assistance from a galactic servant. Do we pursue a relationship with Him in awe and wonder, or do we attempt to flippantly use Him for our advantage and advancement? We are the servants of the Most High. Maybe we need to start acting that way… if that’s alright with you.
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!
The tabernacle of the LORD was a beautiful thing. I would have so loved to have seen it. Exodus 26 is all about God describing to Moses the plans and process for building this traveling tent of His. It describes the pillars overlaid with gold, the fine linen walls, the scarlet draperies, the goat skin tent covering the tabernacle, and the curtain that separates the holy place from the Holy of Holies. I can only imagine what it would be like come to the tabernacle. To come to the alter. To enter the holy place. To look into the Holy of Holies.
Of course i know that even if i were somehow transported to that time and place, i could never go there. I am not a jew, i am a gentile. So the closest i would be able to come would be to see it taken down and put up from a distance, or to see its splendor and beauty from the outside. Even as an Israelite, you still wouldn’t be able to look into the Holy of Holies. If you could see inside the tabernacle there was a great curtain between the holy place and the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could enter and only 1x per year. That great curtain was both a blockade and a protection. It prevented people from casually entering and being consumed due to their sin and lack of godliness.
The wonderful thing is though, that we don’t need to. When Christ died on the cross the curtain was torn from top to bottom. His sacrifice removed that barrier that prevented us from being able to relate directly to the God that created us. Through Christ’s blood we are redeemed and cleansed. We can have a relationship directly with God. There is no need for a high priest. There isn’t even a need for an ordinary every day priest. There is God and there is us. Through Christ’s cleansing blood we are able to speak with YHWH with no curtain in the way. Don’t you want that too?