Casual, “Come as You Are” and the God They Serve

CasualTuesday, May 15, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Exodus 25-28

Having given the people His Law and Commandments, the LORD instructs Moses to collect the materials necessary to construct the instruments used in worship and sacrifices including gold, silver, bronze, and cloth for priestly robes, spices and oils.

In his Bible Exposition Commentary on the Pentateuch known as the “Be Series”, Warren Wiersbe makes the following observations.

“Several different kinds of materials were needed: precious metals (gold, silver), bronze, fabrics (yarn, fine linen, and goat’s hair), wood, skins, olive oil, spices, and precious stones. It’s been estimated that a ton of gold was used in the tabernacle as well as over three tons of silver. Where did all this wealth come from? For one thing, the Jews had “spoiled” the Egyptians before leaving the land (12:35-36), and no doubt there were also spoils from the victory over Amalek (17:8-16). God saw to it that they had everything they needed to build the tabernacle just as He had designed it.”   [Warren Wiersbe; The Bible Exposition Commentary – Pentateuch]

Exodus 25:1-7 list the materials Moses was to collect from the people for constructing the Tabernacle, its contents, and instruments used in worship and offering sacrifices. The importance of the Tabernacle was that it served as the outward visible symbol of God’s presence in the midst of Israel (Exodus 25:8).

The “Ark” served as the central place of worship within the Tabernacle and Exodus 25:10 records its precise dimensions. The “Ark” is designated with various names in the scriptures, among them The Ark of the Covenant, The Ark of the LORD, The Ark of God, and The Ark of the Testimony.

The construction of the Ark and its appearance is described in Exodus 25:10-22. It was overlaid with pure gold and rings and “staves” or rods (25:12-15) employed to transport the Ark and upon its lid, described as the Mercy Seat, were two cherubims facing one another and the space between them representative of the throne of God (25:17-22).

In addition to a table and implements of gold used in the Tabernacle (25:23-30), a golden lampstand with seven lamps was to be made (25:31-40).

Ten curtains were employed within the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:1-6) and eleven curtains of goats hair (26:7-14) used for an outward covering of the boards used in the construction of the Tabernacle (26:15-30).

Exodus 26:31 describes a beautiful veil that served as a means of dividing the interior of the Tabernacle, the innermost area behind the veil serving as the place where the Ark of the Covenant would be placed and described as “the holy place and the most holy” (26:33). The veil represented the separation between man and the Mercy Seat that symbolized the presence of the LORD (26:34).

Exodus 27 describes and gives the dimensions for the Altar of Burnt Offerings (27:1-8) and the outer court of the Tabernacle and its vessels (27:9-19). Pure olive oil was to burn in the lamp giving light in the Tabernacle “from evening to morning” (27:20-21).

Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his sons were to be sanctified and set apart for serving as priests (28:1).  Priestly garments are described and were to be worn by those ministering before the LORD (28:2-43).  Great attention was given to the robes of the priesthood and there was meaning and purpose in every detail from the breastplate over his heart that represented God’s judgment (28:15-30) to the bells about his robe whose sound gave witness to the movement of the priest within the Tabernacle and his acceptance in the LORD’s presence (28:31-26).  I will continue my study of the priesthood and the sanctification of the priests in our next study of Exodus (Exodus 29).

I close with an observation of a sad irony I see in the casual nature of pastors and preachers in today’s church.  While pastors most assuredly do not serve as priests for the New Testament Church, we do bear in our demeanor and appearance a reflection of the God we worship and His person.  Surely the LORD is no less holy today than He was in Israel’s day!  “Dressing down” has become the style of those who occupy the pulpit and its influence is not only reflected in the pew, but in the whole atmosphere of worship.

Friend, if your idea of acceptable dress and demeanor for worship is shorts, sandals and a t-shirt, I am left wondering what became of the God who demanded beautiful robes, holiness and sanctification of His priests!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith