Monday 30 April 2012

Bible Book:

"And you shall speak to all who have ability, whom I have endowed with skill, that they make Aaron's vestments to consecrate him for my priesthood." (v. 3)

Exodus 28:1-5, 31-38 Monday 30 April 2012


Today's passage asks us to ponder the relationship betweenbeautiful objects and the glory of God. The passage is addressed toMoses and comes in the context of long and detailed instructionsfor the construction of the tabernacle, a sanctuary where God willdwell (Exodus 25:8). Already, at the beginning of chapter25, the Israelites have been asked to give freely of their mostprecious possessions. Now, we read that the Israelites are to makeclothing for their great priest out of the very best and mostextravagant materials they have available. The language of verse 3is not entirely clear but appears to imply that the creation ofproper clothing for Aaron contributes to his consecration inservice to the holy God. It is important that the one leading theIsraelites in worship is dressed as impressively and attractivelyas possible. The reference to the bell in verses 34-35 is a littledifficult to interpret, but apparently it was important that themovements of the priest be marked out. Perhaps this was at leastpartly so that the Israelites might hear him moving around when hewas the hidden away in the holy place. However the very end ofverse 35 hints at the danger of going into God's presence; it mustbe clear when the priest is going into and coming out of thepresence of God "so that he may not die".

It is important to remember the lives of the people who made theseclothes. We should imagine this image of loveliness andextravagance in contrast to the Israelites' life in the desert,which was presumably often dirty, difficult and less thaninspiring. Did the difficulty of their everyday lives make beautyin worship even more important for them? Clearly the priest'sclothing was meant to evoke a sense of the glory and splendour ofGod.


To Ponder

Think of your normal experience of worship. Whatis there which evokes a sense of God's beauty and glory? Do youwish there was more?

Do you find it helpful if those leading worshipwear special clothing? To what extent does this enhance worship ordeny 'the priesthood of all believers'?

What does help you to reflect on God'sbeauty?


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