The Lord's instructions for the Tabernacle continue, as He gives specifications for the priesthood - illuminating for us the glorious ways in which believers are the priesthood of God on the earth today.
In our study of the Book of Exodus, we're at Chapter 28, God is in the process of giving Moses instructions on how to set up the tabernacle, the portable temple, so to speak, that will accompany Israel as she journeys through the wilderness toward the promised land. And in the two chapters we're going to look at today, God is going to give instructions for the apparel of the high priest, setting aside the Sons of Aaron for the priesthood and the daily offerings as we did last week.
I'm going to highlight a few things from the text, but we're not going to read through the text itself, verse by verse, just to keep things moving. As we mentioned last week, there's great richness in everything in the scriptures, but we have to focus on the things that are most profitable to everyone if we're going to get through the Book of Exodus in less than five years.
Well, let me ask you this, too.
Are you expecting to hear from God today?
I hope you are, if you want to hear from the Lord today, then expect him to speak to you, have your Bible open, have a pen ready, have your outline printed off, have a notebook on hand. Prepare yourself to hear from the Lord. Those who do are going to be blessed today, those who don't are also going to be blessed, just not quite as much. And I want you to be blessed as much as possible by our study in the world today.
So make sure you have an expectation that God is going to speak to you through his word as we open it up together right now. Well, let's start by taking a look at verse 30 of Chapter 28, where we come across a pair of strange and mysterious items that require a little bit of explanation. Verse 8, 30, says, And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment, the room and the Therman, and they shall be over Erens heart when he goes in before the Lord.
So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the Lord continually.
So what in the world are the room and the thumma?
Well, if you look at all the places in scripture where they show up, you'll discover that the room and the room seemed to have been naturally occurring, objects like rocks or stones that were somehow used to reveal the will of God.
According to this verse, the high priests breastplate must have had a pocket of some sorts for storing the room and the thumb in basically in a little bag of some sort.
The expectation was that at critical moments in the life of the nation of Israel, the leader of the nation, the king of Israel, would seek God's will by coming to the high priest and requesting the groom anthem be used to discern the will of God.
How would that work? Well, scholars have a few different ideas. Some suggest that they could have been too flat and smooth stones that would have been cast as we might flip a pair of coins.
So you'd throw these two stones and how they landed would provide the answer to your question.
The words Jurymen Thomond literally mean lights and perfections, or together they mean the phrase perfect light and the word light is considered to refer to truth and or revelation in this context. And so there are some who suggest that they were semi-precious stones that glowed in some way to reveal God's answers to questions.
Or perhaps they were stones that reveal God's will based upon whichever one you pulled out after reaching into the little bag. Or it could have been something that that we haven't even considered. Now, I believe that the room and Thoman were not strictly mechanical. In other words, they were not automatic, like flipping a coin. And the reason I say that is because in First Samuel Chapter 28, we find King Saul unable to get an answer from the Lord, even after consulting the room and the thumb.
In other words, if it was just casting lots or flipping a coin, throwing stones, they would be no way for God to refuse to answer.
But the way that they worked apparently required something supernatural about the process because God refused to answer King Saul and first Samuel, 28.
And that leads me personally to suspect that they were probably too semi-precious stones that glowed in some way to reveal and answer from the Lord.
It's possible, too, that the high priest might have been involved in the process somehow. Perhaps he would prophesy in conjunction with the erm and the Thoman. We just don't know. We know that they were used for seeking God's will. We just don't know exactly how.
And if you want to see all the different research I pulled from all the different books I read about that this week, feel free to shoot me an email and I'll send that to you if you want to dig more into that yourself.
But perhaps like me, you find yourself wondering why God chose to speak through the room in the room, especially when he had the prophets.
Well, moving on, I mean, honestly, I'm really not sure, I'm just not sure I I wracked my brain. I did lots of research this week, but I couldn't find an answer that I felt was credible.
Perhaps the Lord didn't want the high priest, the king or the prophets to have too much power or for any one of them to be the single oracle of God. And so perhaps for that reason, God spoke through a combination of means.
Other than that, I'm kind of stumped.
So if you know the answer, send me an email and let me know, because for now, this one's been written down in my little notebook of things in the Bible that I don't understand yet. And by the way, that's something I would recommend that you do as well in some shape or form. Keep a notebook, a computer file or something like that where you write down questions about the Bible or Christianity that you don't have good answers for yet and write down the dates of your question or concern as well.
Pray about it.
Ask the Lord to give you an answer, share it with friends, research it, talk about it, and then you'll be able to write down the date in the future.
When God leads you to an answer, most of the time you'll be amazed at the way that the Lord will sometimes, even over years, give you answers to those questions as you bring them to him in prayer. And then when you go back and look at that computer file or that notebook and you see the date crossed off and there's a date written underneath it, when God gave you the answer, it's going to build your faith that there are good answers to most of the things that you don't understand yet in the word of God.
And that's just good for your faith.
What I do know is why we don't have another room or thulium today. It's because we don't need it. The spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit dwells in every man and woman who's given their life to Jesus, and he's available to us 24/7 as our counselor and the helper.
We have the promise from God that if we lack wisdom and we do, all we have to do is ask and he'll gladly and freely give it to us. We have the word of God available to us in black and white, and it is packed with God's truth and wisdom and guidance. We have our brothers and sisters in the church who also have the Holy Spirit inside of them, and they're available to pray with us, to pray for us, to seek the Lord with us and help us discern his will through his word.
We don't need the room and the room today, and I'm so thankful for that.
But if we're honest, if we're honest. Our flesch would love to have something like the human thumb, wouldn't we? I mean, because our flesh is just lazy, we're way rather roll the dice or flip some coins or use a magic eight ball, then seek the Lord through prayer, meditation, Bible study, fasting and fellowship with other believers.
So why doesn't God just give us something like the room and the thoman so that we can just simplify the whole process process?
What is it? Just give us something convenient that would help remove ambiguity when it comes to hearing from the Lord.
It's because soulless mechanics do not produce relationship. Let me say that again, soulless mechanics do not produce relationship. That's why religion cannot produce a relationship. That's why rituals cannot produce a relationship and our loving, good heavenly father cares deeply about his relationship with his children. If you don't know this or if you've never heard this before, you need to know that this is true. Your heavenly father cares deeply about his relationship with you specifically. As we study God's word, pray, wait on him and seek him, we grow in our relationship with him because that's what happens when you spend time with someone, especially time with someone who's wonderful and who you like and who you love.
And as we do those things with our brothers and sisters in the church, our human relationships grow as well. And God cares deeply about that, too.
I think this concept of relationship as the priority is generally so much easier for women to understand, because, again, generally God has made woman so much more relational than men, because generally men tend to prioritize efficiency over relationship.
I've shared this illustration before. If you ask most women if they'd rather get one rose per day from their significant other for 12 days in a row, or if they would rather get 12 roses at once.
All woman will almost unanimously say, well, I'd rather get one rose a day for 12 days in a row. Why? Because they tend to prioritize relationship and in their mind, they see it as 12 points of loving contact rather than one. It's more relationship, therefore it's better.
But most men would say what one rose a day for 12 days in a row.
That's that's so inefficient. That's so inefficient. Why wouldn't you just take care of the whole bouquet of 12 at once? Why do I need to pray, wait on the Lord and get into the word and ask other people to pray with me and fast? Why all of that when we could just flip a coin? It's so inefficient. Why? Because your heavenly father cares deeply about his relationship with you, and when these instructions were given to Moses, people couldn't have a close relationship with God because their sins separated them from God.
But there's a closeness that God can now share with you because your sins have been taken care of, they've been paid for by Jesus who died in your place because that's how much God cares about his relationship with you. That's how much of a big deal relationship is to our Lord. He paid the highest price simply to give us the option of having a relationship with him. In Exodus, twenty nine, forty six, God says, and they shall know that I am the Lord, their God who brought them up out of the land of Egypt and then get this, that I may dwell among them.
I am the lord, their God. Did you catch that? Why did God bring Israel out of Egypt? Because he could not dwell among them in Egypt. Why did God save you from your sins, because he could not dwell with you while you were in your sense. God saved you so that he could dwell with you and you could dwell with him. God saved you so that you could be in relationship with him. It's not about efficiency.
It's about relationship. Let's move a little further in Chapter 28 and we read this, In verses 36 through 38. You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it like the engraving of a signet holiness to the Lord, holiness to the Lord, and you shall put it on a blue cord that it may be on the turban, it shall be on the front of the turban.
So it shall be on Aaron's forehead that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts. And that shall always be on his forehead that they may be accepted before the Lord.
So the high priest, Aaron, at this time was to have a gold plate on the front of his turban that read Holiness to the Lord, because that was the issue. It was what all of the clothing and rituals pointed to this issue of holiness and opening the eyes of the people of Israel to the reality that their God is holy and he desires his people to be holy to.
And I want to use this opportunity to ask you what you think of when you hear the word holiness.
What's your perception of that concept? Perhaps like many, you associate the word with uptightness, with religion and ritual and strictness, rigidity and lots of other words that are very far away from the word fun.
In reality, the word wholeness truly refers to. Wholeness, wholeness. It's about being whole, it's about being complete, it's about lacking nothing. Holiness is holiness. And mom and dad, this is what we have to let our kids know about holiness, sin isn't bad because it's forbidden. Sin is forbidden because it's bad. Sin is the opposite of holiness because sin destroys sin, wound's sin steals and sin leaves you broken.
But God's ways always lead to wholeness. They lead to life. They lead to peace. They lead to joy. Holiness is not about abstaining from everything that's fun, it's about walking in holiness. And for most of us, sadly, it takes a long time. And sometimes a lot of wasted or misdirected years before we realize that holiness in reality is the only pathway to wholeness. And when we get into Chapter 29. We're going to find references to both sin offerings and burnt offerings, and you may wonder, well, well, what's the difference, Jeff?
A sin offering was required by the law.
You can read all about it. In Leviticus eight, a burnt offering was a voluntary offering to bless the Lord.
It was the highest of the hierarchy of offerings because it was above and beyond what was required.
For those of you who are students of the word, there's something interesting here that that I just can't resist pointing out. We know from all kinds of verse is and pictures in the word that that Jesus was our Passover lamb. He was our sin offering. In Genesis 22, we have the story of God coming to Abraham and asking him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God, and if that horrifies you, you need to know that God doesn't have him go through with it.
You also need to go to our website and listen to that message, because there's some amazing and important things and pictures being communicated through that whole event.
But what I want to point out to us is what Genesis 22 two says. Then he that's God said, take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mireia and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, of which I shall tell you now, isn't that interesting? We know that Jesus was our sin, offering our Passover lamb, but when God had Isaac serve as a type or a picture of Jesus.
He had him as a burnt offering. Why? To make the point that Jesus was not required to lay down his life, God was not required to save us from our sins, he could have simply left us to get what we deserve and started over again somewhere else.
But God chose to love us, he loved us voluntarily in John 10, Jesus said, therefore, my father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. Jesus is our sin offering, but he's also our burnt offering because he laid down his life for our sins voluntarily. Voluntarily is too good not to share.
As you make your way through the history of the nation of Israel in the Scriptures, you're going to find that God designed their social system to ensure that the monarchy and the priesthood remained separate. In other words, God made sure that a priest did not also serve as king. Priests would end up coming from the tribe of Levi, while kings would generally come from the tribe of Judah. Presumably, this was to ensure that the worship of Yahweh was not corrupted for political gain by a politician, but also so that the priests would not be defiled by the acts of war like killing.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule in scripture, a few examples of someone who was both a priest and a king, mega points for you right now.
If you can think of the first example in scripture, the first example of someone who was both a priest and a king.
It's Melchizedek in Genesis 14. He was the king of Salem, but also a priest who served Abraham Communion bread and wine, and we know he was in reality, Jesus. The second example is, again, Jesus, our great high priest, who is also the king of kings who will return to reign on the earth as king.
But lastly, and who could have seen this coming, right?
We are both priests and kings in Revelation one Verse is five through six, John the Apostle is praising God at the opening of his letter and he writes to him who loved us and watched us from our sins in his own blood and has made us kings and priests to his God and father to him be glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen. That is our destiny. We're going to rule and reign with Jesus and Minister to our God and Father for all eternity.
Kings, queens and priests to the most high God. Now, we're obviously going to have to wait a little bit on the Kings and Queens part, but we don't have to wait on the priests part. We don't have to wait to minister to God and minister to people. We can do that right now.
Our brother Peter tells us you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, who once were not a people, but are now the people of God and had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. I want to show you seven things, seven steps that the Sons of Aaron went through as they were consecrated for the priesthood, set aside for special service to the Lord.
And I want you to see in this process how the Lord has consecrated you for ministry to him and ministry to others.
Firstly, in Exodus 2081, we read now take Aaron, your brother and his sons with him from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to me as priest.
So firstly, Aaron and his sons were taken from among the people, just as we are chosen and elected by God from among the peoples of the Earth.
Romans eight twenty nine tells us whom he four knew. He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son.
God looked into the future and saw that you would accept his invitation of salvation if it were offered to you and therefore God chose you.
He elected you to be part of his kingdom. This refers to our election. Secondly, in Exodus twenty nine four, we read Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting. So Aaron and his sons were to be brought near to God first. Peter 318 tells us Christ also suffered once for sins the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.
This refers to our salvation being brought to God. Thirdly, the rest of Exodus twenty nine four reads and you shall wash them with water.
This refers to our baptism, the profession of our faith publicly.
Fourthly, in the exodus. Twenty nine verse is five and six we read. Then you shall take the garments, put the tunic on air and the robe of the effort, the effort on the breastplate and gird him with the intricately woven band of the effort. You shall put the turban on his head and put the Holy Crown on the turban and then in verses eight through nine we read.
Then you shall bring his sons and put tunics on them, and you shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons and put the hats on them in the step.
The priests were then to be clothed or robed in Galatians three twenty seven.
Our brother Paul writes for as many of us were baptized have put on Christ, we have put on Christ. We've been robed in the righteousness of Jesus. When we were saved, our sins were taken away.
Our filthy rags were exchanged for the righteousness of Jesus. And we now wear his righteousness.
We wear his sinless perfection on our spirits.
Second Corinthians five twenty one declares he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
We've been robbed in the righteousness of Jesus.
Fifthly, in Exodus 2097 we read and you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head and anoint him speaking of air.
And then in verse twenty one we read and you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him. And he and his garments shall be hallowed and his sons and his sons garments with him. The priests were to be anointed with oil in the scriptures. When someone is anointed with oil, what's it always a picture of?
It's a picture of the Holy Spirit. This is why John the Apostle wrote the anointing which you have received. From him. Abides in U. The anointing which you have received from him abides within you, the Lord has put his Holy Spirit in you and desires to put his spirit upon you, to anoint you and give you the power to minister as his priest.
And I know we're moving through these real fast. And and each of these really could be a sermon unto themselves. I pray that you'll think of these things more this week, that you'll study them more and just go through them again a little more slowly and see what else the Lord might want to show you, because there's so much to see here.
Sixthly, in Exodus 29, 22 through five, we read this also, you shall take the fat of the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, the two kidneys and the fat on them.
The right thigh for it is a ram of consecration, one loaf of bread, one cake made with oil and one wafer from the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the Lord. And you shall put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons.
And you shall waive them as a way of offering before the Lord.
You shall receive them back from their hands and burn them on the altar as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before the Lord. It is an offering made by fire to the Lord. I'm not going to get into detail on all of that right now, I just want you to notice that after being anointed, everything the priests needed in order to minister was put into their hands.
Everything that you need to minister to the Lord and the people has been and will continue to be given to you by the Lord, the personality he created you with your talents and abilities, your profession, your relationship, your past. Yeah. Even the broken parts, your wealth or lack thereof. God has filled your hands that you might use what he's given to you, as the priests did right here to minister to the Lord to give it back to the Lord in ministry.
God's given you everything you need to minister to him and to minister to others. And then lastly, Seventhly, Exodus. Twenty nine forty four. We find the Lord saying so I will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. I will also consecrate both Aaron and his sons to minister to me as priests.
So lastly, we've been and are being sanctified, sanctified.
We're being made more like Jesus. We're living for his glory. In Romans six, Paul writes, Do not present your members the parts of your body as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. But now, having been set free from sin and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness and the end ever lasting life. We've been set apart, we've been consecrated, we've been sanctified, and our being sanctified by the Lord for ministry to him and ministry to others.
That's how God set men aside to be his priests. And it's how God sets aside men and women today to minister to him and minister to people. And perhaps the most wonderful thing about this whole process, all seven steps, and you might have noticed this, is that in every step the priests did nothing. They did nothing, they were passive participants, they were ministered to, they simply stood there and received, they were robed, they were anointed, their hands were filled.
Moses, serving as a picture of Jesus, did all the work for them and did all the work to them. The only things they did, as you read through the text, you'll find is that they were to lay their hands on the offerings as a sign that the offerings were being given in their place and they ate of the show bread.
The pictures, the imagery is obvious.
All we do is reach out to Jesus and accept his offer to be the sacrifice for our sins. And we take in the bread of the word. What's our contribution to our salvation and our sanctification, what's our contribution to our anointing and equipping for ministry and service?
We say yes. That's it, that's our part. The Lord invites, the Lord offers, and we say yes. What is the Christian life it's saying, yes, Lord, in every situation and every circumstance, day in and day out, that's the whole Christian life.
It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done or where you've been. The Lord can, the Lord desires to, and the Lord will do great things through the man or woman who will simply say, yes, Lord, yes.
But, Jeff. I don't feel qualified for ministry, I don't feel qualified to be used by God, cool story, bro.
It's not relevant. It's not relevant because if you haven't connected the dots yet, it's not about you. It's not about how you feel. It's not about what you think. It's about what Jesus has done for you and what Jesus has done to you.
It's not about who you think you are. It's about who Jesus says you are. Listen to me. When a young David was about to take on the seemingly impossible task of battling the giant Goliath. Where did David find the five smooth stones for his Slint? He finds them in the brook where.
In the Valley of Elah, In the Valley of Elah, that was the valley that ran between the camp of the Israelites and the camp of the Philistines, it was the valley where Goliath was waiting for any challengers.
Here's my point. David had already committed he had already taken the step and made the journey down into the valley before he found the Stones, before he found the ammunition that he needed.
And this is one of the most important principles of faith that every Christian needs to learn. And far too many Christians never seem to learn.
If you want to be used by God, if you want to see God, minister to you. There's no getting around the fact that you are going to have to step out in faith believing that God will give you what you need when you do. When God calls you to do something for him, you're going to think, oh, but I need this and I need this and I need this and I need that and I need this thing to line up.
And I need this person to go here and change their mind about this, to blow up this.
If you know that God has called you. Then you need to step out in faith believing that as you do, he'll give you what you need. If you spend DOMAs this, DOMAs this, if you spend your whole life waiting until you have everything you think you need before you step out in faith and trust the Lord, you will spend your whole life on the side of the valley.
While those who are willing to step out in faith are slaying giants down in the valley. There's no way around the step of faith, you'll never be ready, you'll never be prepared enough. It will always require faith. I still feel unqualified all the time, all the time. Do you know how many times that I've thought, man, people would be so disappointed if they knew that I don't know the whole Bible as well as I know whatever I taught on last week, people will ask me questions about the Bible that reveal that they think I know the whole Bible like this.
I don't. I've read the whole Bible multiple times, but I'm learning it in depth one week at a time as I study through it, just like you are, hopefully.
But listen. If I waited till I knew the whole Bible as well as I know these two chapters of the Bible. I probably never get there at a minimum, I would waste decades of ministry that the Lord has so graciously decided to do through me. Because I said, yes, Lord, even though I don't feel qualified, even though I don't feel like I know enough. You have to step out and make yourself available in faith to be used by the Lord, there's no way around the step of faith.
Don't miss out. Don't miss out. Let's close with a few more words from our brother Paul, who wrote this to his protege, Timothy. He said, I thank Christ, Jesus, our Lord, who has enabled me because he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor and an insolent, that means a violently arrogant man. But I obtained Mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief and the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
This is a faithful, sane and worthy of all acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief. However, for this reason, I obtained mercy that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long suffering as a pattern to those who are going to believe on him forever lasting life. Now to the King.
Eternal, immortal, invisible to God, alone to God.
Who alone is wise. The honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. Paul says, I was a blasphemer. I persecuted the people of God, I was a violently arrogant man. And you know what Jesus did with me, he put me in the ministry, why? To show just how merciful is and that he can use anybody. Who is God looking for? He's looking for the man or woman who will simply say, yes, Lord. And if you will do that.
He'll take it from there. You've been ordained. You're in the ministry. So let's minister together church, would you buy your hat and close your eyes? Let's pray. Father, thank you so much. That in your great grace. Through your son, Jesus, you've called us out of darkness, into your marvelous light. And not only saved us, Lord, but given us a place in your kingdom and given us a part to play. And you desire to minister to others through us.
And Lord, you desire us to minister to you, to bless you, to honor you. So we asked simply that you would help us to do it, that you would help us to be a people who say, yes, we know that you will provide everything we need and we know that you've provided already everything we need in order to take the steps of faith that you're asking us to take right now.
So, Lord, if there's any among us who is hesitating to step out in faith in an area where they know that you've called them.
Father, would you give that gift to faith, would you stir that heart right now that we might obey you, that we might be a people who love to say yes to you? That we might see you, Minister, to you and to others through us in ways that absolutely blow us away. We want to be down in the valley, Lord, in the place of faith, not on the sidelines.
We want to have our own testimonies, countless testimonies of the great things we've seen you do. We want to have our own stories, Lord. Of your faithfulness and goodness and Lord, we have them, but Lord, would you multiply them even more for your name sake and for your glory? We love you, Jesus, in your name we pray. Amen.