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In Exodus chapters 37-39, we find the people of God finally carrying out the commands of God, down to every jot and tittle.  Herein we find the making of: the Ark of the Covenant, the table for showbread, the lampstand, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering, the bronze basin, the court, and the priestly garments.

Bezalel was one of the head craftsmen.  He literally made the Ark of the Covenant with his own two hands.  Consider that.  WOW!  This was the most sacred material item every known to man in the history of the entire world.  This item that no one other than the high priest could touch or even see was made by the hands of a skilled man of trade.  This guy touched the Ark – something no one was ever permitting to do save the high priest once a year.  He made it!  Kind of gives you a new perspective on the grand importance and respectability of blue collar men.  What a privilege to be gifted and called to work with your hands!

We have already heard all about these specifications in previous chapters.  Now, as Bezalel and the working men set their hearts and hands to make them, the people of God are told once again of all the specs.  Why this redundancy?

Perhaps this was to show them (and us) our need to carefully consider God’s instructions.  What Moses said, these men made…exactly.  Anything less would have been disobedience.  Much detail is given likely so that we can see how faithfully they followed their Father’s instructions.

Furthermore, Israel did not get to see these items, for the most part.  The detail, namely of the Ark of the Covenant, is repeated doubtless so that they might look closer at that which had been revealed to them.  Likewise, we do not see God, but he has given us His very detailed Word to look at.  This is the means by which we commune with Him, learn of Him, know Him, and see Him.  God does not judge us based on what he has not revealed to us, but by the depth to which we’ve concerned ourselves with that which he has revealed.

In chapter 38:21-31, we have a record of the giving and the costs of this undertaking.  Matthew Henry says, “See how liberal the people were and how faithful the workmen were, in both which respects their good example ought to be followed.”  This was not cheap.  Neither is any effort of sacrificial giving for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.  Consider that carefully because we must always count the cost before making commitments.

I will be taking a closer look at Exodus 38:8 tomorrow.  It concerns what certain women gave and why it is notable.

Chapter 39 is an account of the making of the priestly garments.  Matthew Henry again says it best saying, “The priests’ garments are called called here clothes of service. Those that wear robes of honor must look upon them as clothes of service; for from those upon whom honor is put service is expected…Holy garments were not made for men to sleep in or to strut in, but to do service in; and then they are indeed for glory and beauty.  The Son of man himself came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”

In these closing chapters, we find that God’s people repented and obeyed exactly that which the Lord commanded.  They did much excellent work in a short amount of time.  Henry rightly notes, “Church work is usually slow work, but they made quick work of this, and yet did it with the greatest exactness imaginable.” These people were blessed because of their diligence.  Consider Moses’ words at the end of Exodus 39:

“According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work.  And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it.  Then Moses blessed them.” ~Exodus 39:42-43

Amen and amen!  Let the same be said of us!

 

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skills

Still on Mt. Sinai, once God was finished giving instructions to Moses on how to build and furnish the tabernacle, he proceeded to instruct Moses on the people who would be attending it – the priests.

Exodus 28 is a record of what the priests were to wear and the significance of their garments.  From their heads to their undergarments, the priests were to be notably and specifically dressed.

 “Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. ~Exodus 28:1-5

In verses 1-5, we see the sovereign choosing of God highlighted as he informs Moses that his brother, Aaron, and all of his descendants were to be the priests serving in temple.

Notice that Moses did not argue with God or sulk because he himself had not been chosen for this particular job.  Moses was a prophet.  He had much to do for God and for the people already.  Moses’ job was different than that of a priest.

In this time, priests were primarily responsible for attending the ever-burning fire and the sacrifices given.  Heads of families were responsible for the teaching of their own people on the ways of God.  Once synagogues became commonplace after the Jews’ captivity, the priests and leaders in the temple then became teachers and preachers of the law and the Word of God.

Today, it is still true that prophets hear words from the Lord, see visions, direct God’s people in His ways, warn, intercede, correct, and admonish all.  Priests and pastors attend to House of God, shepherd the people, and help them do what God has called them to.  These are very different callings .  Prophets can preach and preachers can prophesy, but these are not the primary responsibilities each has.  Both are equally important, but, a priest has a much more tender relationship with the people while a prophet generally is held at a distance because the people fear, avoid, and even hate him for his truth-telling.

Nevertheless, Moses isn’t complaining.  He is happy to give his younger brother this honor.  Aaron had served under him up until this point and God honored him for it.

As we see in verse 2, Moses was instructed to have holy garments made for Aaron.  He was told to call all those who were skillful to this task.  That tells us that these garments were not only mandatory, but they were greatly important to God.  He wanted them to be exactly as he instructed that his own glory and beauty might be seen through these men.

Each item that the priests wore had a meaning and a purpose.  We will be examining those in the coming days, but notice today especially what God’s Word says of those Moses was to call to the task of making these clothing items for the priests.

You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. ~Exodus 28:3

The lesson here is that God gives people their skills and talents.  He gives them a “spirit of skill” and he expects it to be used for his glory and according to his very specific instructions.

God chooses who will be the prophet.
God chooses who will be the priest.
God chooses who will make the garments.
God chooses who will have trade skills.
God chooses who will be given a spirit of skill.
Good chooses what those who have been given a spirit of sill and excellence will make and do.
Good gives the skilled workers the materials needed to produce what will most glorify him.

Get this, Christians!  This is so very important.  Prophets are not better than priests.  Prophets are just people chosen by God to be prophets.  Priests are not better than the people they serve because they are called to teach, preach, and counsel others.  Priests are just people chosen by God to be priests.  And, finally, skilled workers who make and do jobs of trade with excellence are not unspiritual or unused of God simply because they are preaching, teaching, or prophesying like prophets and priests are doing.  Skilled workers who make and do jobs of trade are filled with a spirit of skill, according to Exodus 28:3, and are therefore just as spiritual and used of God when they act upon their calling as prophets and priests.

Did you get that?  It’s important.  There are no spiritual superheroes in God’s house.  Every person is greatly needed and equally important.  Therefore, there should be absolutely no attitudes of superiority or looking down on a man who works a trade vs. a man who preaches or vise versa within God’s house.  AMEN.

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