Skip to main content

Dress for Success: Exodus 39

If you’ve got a fully mobile worship center with all of the implements of sacrifice, what else do you need? You need people to staff it. You need security, maintenance, helpers, teachers, fire-builders, and someone to be in charge of this whole thing. You need, if you’re in Ancient Israel, priests. And one High Priest who is in charge of the whole lot.

The High Priest, though, is not chosen simply for his looks. In fact, he’s going to come from the same family as most of the other priests. He’s not going to stand out based on looks alone. He needs something to identify him.

So, God commanded in Exodus 28 that the High Priest be clothed in a specific way, and I touched on this issue when we looked at that chapter (link to that post). Here in Exodus 39 (link) we see that those instructions were followed.

I do not, personally, have the artistic ability to render a drawing of what this completed outfit would have looked like, but I can tell you this from the description: the High Priest would have looked funny. Funny may not be the appropriate word. Odd would work, or strange, or different--

But if you saw someone walking the streets today in that garb, you’d call the nice folks at Chumley’s Rest Home to come and get him.

The point of the outfit, though, was to signify the priest and to remind both the priest and the people just exactly who the priest was there to serve: the Lord God Almighty. The goal was not to be fashionable or even comfortable, as I don’t think this would have been either cool or relaxing to wear. Aaron, and his sons after him, were there to serve God, not to garner the approval of Sinai Today readers or make the Mid-East Best Dressed List.

Looking down at the end of the chapter, a spot that’s often easy to miss when the first parts are so detail-oriented, we see how the construction narrative finishes up. Moses inspects the work, pronounces that it has been done correctly, and blesses the workers.

What do we take from this?

First: Just because you are trustworthy does not make you above inspection. Bezalel and Oholiab were named explicitly by God to handle the work. Moses double-checks them anyway. It was necessary to be obedient to God’s commands and so a verification was helpful. Being willing to be examined.

Second: Admit when other people have done well. This is a hard one for people in leadership, it seems. The people who report to you, they deserve the praise when they do the work properly. Do not withhold approval when the work meets the standards that have been set.

Second (Part B): Set high standards and expect them to be met. Do not set low standards and then express frustration when they are not met. That’s nonsense. Also, do not set high standards and then waffle them away. Hold it. Require it to be redone if necessary.

Third: Bless those who do good work. The idea here conveys that Moses publicly praised the work of the workmen. This was the appropriate response.

Finally: Do not expect to be blessed if you do not do things “just as the Lord had commanded.” That is where the success of the workers of God is: obedience to what has been commanded.

That is how we dress for success as God’s people: through full and total obedience.

Today’s Nerd Note: These items would make for a great archaeological find, but no one can find them. It appears that they are lost to us in the ravages of time and warfare. However, it leads to this question: Would it be appropriate to simply remake the robe, ephod, and other garments simply by following these directions? Or was there something specific about the sources used then that could not be copied now?

And what happened to these things? Was the breastpiece taken as spoils of war, the linen disposed of and the jewels reset? That is entirely possible. Who knows, one of those jewels could be in the Tower of London.

Comments

  1. LOVE this, Doug - it has so many applications! I find myself on both sides of the equation, but thinking like a parent - this works for kids :D

    Julie

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…