HOLY TO THE LORD
Dear God, I thank you today for your changelessness. You are steadfast, reliable, and the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Read EXODUS 28:31-43
Other Priestly Garments
31 “Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth, 32 with an opening for the head in its center. There shall be a woven edge like a collar[a] around this opening, so that it will not tear. 33 Make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet yarn around the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. 34 The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe. 35 Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the Lord and when he comes out, so that he will not die.
36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban. 38 It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate, whatever their gifts may be. It will be on Aaron’s forehead continually so that they will be acceptable to the Lord.
39 “Weave the tunic of fine linen and make the turban of fine linen. The sash is to be the work of an embroiderer. 40 Make tunics, sashes and caps for Aaron’s sons to give them dignity and honor. 41 After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests.
42 “Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh. 43 Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die.
“This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants.
- Exodus 28:32 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Begin your time with God by singing or humming, ‘Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty …’.1
I go to a church that has both a traditional service, where clergy wear collars, robes, and stoles, and a contemporary service, where there’s no dress code at all. Both congregations are united in their opinion of the other: ‘They just don’t do it right over there!’ Today we continue with God’s description of the priestly wardrobe for Aaron and his sons, and it’s fairly particular: a blue robe with a no-tear collar, decorated with pomegranates and gold bells. How would that go over in your church? But before we apply this passage to the worship style debate today, we must be careful to understand God’s main concern. It’s not clothing: it’s holiness.
The point of these priestly accoutrements was to remind everyone that this was a ‘Holy Place before the Lord’ (v 35). And lest anyone thought the bells were merely decoration, God says the sound of them would prevent Aaron from dying (v 35). Regardless of where and how we worship today, we must never forget that true worship is more serious and more wonderful than anything else we do in life because its focus is a holy God. Is that the attitude of your heart in church? Just to be sure everyone gets the point, God puts it in writing – on a gold plate attached to the turban Aaron wears (vs 36,37). Can’t miss that!
We might overlook one uncomfortable word in this passage, which is linked to holiness: guilt (v 38). Whenever we truly comprehend the holiness of God it reminds us of our own sin.2 Here at this early stage in the story of salvation, God is building a plan to reverse what happened in the Garden of Eden, a plan that would culminate in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When are you most aware of the holiness of God? During those times, how do you feel and how do you respond to him?
Holy One, at times I sense a distance between us. Forgive me if my sins have caused this. Enable me to learn lessons that will mature me in Christ.
1 Reginald Heber, 1783–1826 2 Isa 6:1–7
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.