It becomes the responsibility of Aaron and his sons to serve the LORD; to come between the people and YHWH; to bring the people, their requests, their need for cleansing to the LORD. As such Aaron and his sons needed to have one foot on the earth, and the other in the doorway to heaven. How do you balance the impurity and sin that is so prevalent in the world with the awesome purity and Holiness of God? Talk about a difficult task; yet that is what Aaron and his sons are charged with doing.
The first steps in fulfilling that role are described here. Before anything else, Aaron and his sons need to be separated from the group and cleansed both physically and spiritually. They are responsible for being representatives / ambassadors / spokesmen of men to God. Therefore in coming into God’s presence they must be as close to clean and pure as humanly possible. So in this process, Moses is responsible to follow YHWH’s instruction and purify Aaron and his sons.
Could you imagine having the responsibility of being the one that stands between man and YHWH? Every day you must perform your duties and bring the sacrifices and offerings of the people before Him. Thus the process of being set apart for God is extremely important.
One thing of interest that i did note, in these first 25 verses of Exodus 29, is that in verse 22 it talks about taking the fat from the ram and from all of these different parts, and then it says, “and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination)“. When i was looking at this, i thought it was kind of weird that it said to take the fat from the kidneys, and the fat from the entrails, and the fat tail, etc. and then randomly talked about the right thigh because it is a ram of ordination.
It does seem kind of strange, but not so much when you refer back to Genesis 32:24-32. This passage in Genesis is where Jacob, who had been blessed and set apart by God, wrestles with God. God touches his thigh socket and he has a limp from then on, and the sons of Jacob do not touch the sinew of the thigh of the meat that they eat. It is an interesting parallel. I don’t know beyond a doubt that this is what this is referring to, but it sure does give you pause to think.
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?
Well it’s official, my first pen (black) has bitten the dust. Long live the pen (purple)! At this rate, i will be all out of my Pilot Varsitys after about Genesis 36. I may have to make an investment into a good quality pen with lots of refills. What kinds of pens do you guys like?
Genesis 13 brings Abram back to the bigger picture. I was writing this out, and i love that after sojourning in Egypt for a short time (due to famine), Abram returns back to where he started in Canaan. Not just the same area, but the same place. He returned to the land between Bethel, meaning “house (beth) of God (el)”, and Ai. One is a tribute to God, and the other is to become a city of mighty warriors that are strong and brave enough to rout the people of Israel (Joshua 7) even with the terror of Israel is covering the land and Israel’s God had just destroyed the great city of Jericho by having Israel march circles around it.
So while there was a time of temporarily being off course, Abram (and God) pick up where they left off. Abram, being blessed by God while in Egypt, has grown bigger. No longer can he and his nephew Lot be in the same place. It’s just not big enough for the two of them. So Lot goes to the lush Jordan valley while Abram stays in the plains of Canaan (i always want to spell it Cannan).
It is there that God expounds on His promise:
“Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” (NASB)
Wow, things just keep getting better and better! The promise defogs a little more, Abram sees more of the bigger picture, and it becomes even more amazing. However, more than the promise is a command. Abram is given instruction; “Go and walk the land.” How many of us attempt to claim and embrace the promises of God, yet we never walk the land. We want the blessing that God has promised us, but we never lay claim to it by following His instructions. We never fully understand what it is that He is promising to us because we never take the time to discover what it is that He is giving to us. Laying claim to something before even knowing what it is often results in disappointment and disillusionment when it does not result in what we expect of it. Also, how can we really appreciate or find value in anything if we don’t have to work for it. In order to understand what it is, what it means, and what it is worth. We must DO so… (it’s an action)