Lord God, I am grateful for today, the potential and privileges of it. Help me to make wise use of each hour.
Read EXODUS 28:1-30
The Priestly Garments
28 “Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. 2 Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. 3 Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. 4 These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. 5 Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.
6 “Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of skilled hands. 7 It is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be fastened. 8 Its skillfully woven waistband is to be like it—of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen.
9 “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel 10 in the order of their birth—six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. 11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings 12 and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord. 13 Make gold filigree settings 14 and two braided chains of pure gold, like a rope, and attach the chains to the settings.
15 “Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions—the work of skilled hands. Make it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. 16 It is to be square—a span[a] long and a span wide—and folded double. 17 Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl; 18 the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald; 19 the third row shall be jacinth, agate and amethyst; 20 the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper.[b] Mount them in gold filigree settings. 21 There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.
22 “For the breastpiece make braided chains of pure gold, like a rope. 23 Make two gold rings for it and fasten them to two corners of the breastpiece. 24 Fasten the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece, 25 and the other ends of the chains to the two settings, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front. 26 Make two gold rings and attach them to the other two corners of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod. 27 Make two more gold rings and attach them to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the seam just above the waistband of the ephod. 28 The rings of the breastpiece are to be tied to the rings of the ephod with blue cord, connecting it to the waistband, so that the breastpiece will not swing out from the ephod.
29 “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. 30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the Lord. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.
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 by closing your eyes, opening your hands, and praising God for who he is; thank God for what he’s done.
Have you ever been so late for church that you didn’t arrive until the middle of the sermon? Be honest! That’s a little like our first reading in Exodus; we arrive in the middle of perhaps the most extended Word from God in the entire Bible. So, let’s step back and review the context. The book of Exodus is built around two key events: the release of Israel from Egyptian captivity and the giving of the Ten Commandments. In the process, it describes how God wants his people to live and worship. Our reading today takes us to the foot of Mount Sinai, to hear God’s explanation of the kind of worship he wants.
As you read, did you find yourself wondering, ‘Why would God spend so much time on this?’ Couldn’t he have left some of these specifics to Aaron and his sons? The answer seems to be that worship matters to God. He cares about the details, just as he cared about the details of creation.1 If that’s true, so should we. Regardless of your preferred worship style, does it reflect the same intentionality God designed for the chosen people?
Two examples of this intentionality stand out. The ephod (vs 6–14) contained two stones inscribed with the names of the twelve sons of Israel, a reminder that worship is not just a personal experience; it’s also communal. The purpose of the breastpiece was ‘for making decisions’ (vs 15,30) and it therefore had the Urim and Thummim embedded in it.2 It reminds us that God intends worship both to inspire our praise and to direct our actions.
How could your worship be more intentional? How could you look for God’s guidance in your times of worship?
Gracious God, I thank you for the opportunity to work. As I toil, either outside the home or inside the home, may I serve to your glory.
1 Gen 1,2; Job 38–41 2 These were stones used by the high priest for gaining God’s guidance, probably similar to casting lots
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