Friday, February 13, 2009

HOLY TO THE LORD

When people decide to read through the Bible they frequently run into trouble and abandon their effort when they get to the passages that talk about the law or the building of the tabernacle. There are just so many words there that don’t seem to have much application to our lives. I understand that. It’s no easier for me. But what we often fail to understand is that these passages are not there to give us something to do. They are about God!

For example, I read Exodus 28-30 tonight. I won’t quote much from those chapters. Exodus 28 gives direction for the sewing and preparation of the priestly garments Aaron and his sons were to wear. There are specific instructions for the garments, the ephod, and the breastplate; the turban, the tunic, and the sash. Chapter 29 gives instructions for the consecration and ordination of Aaron and his sons. They were to bake unleavened bread, cakes and wafers. They were to bring a bull and two rams. God was specific about what was to be done with sacrificial animals; how they were to be slaughtered, prepared, and burnt; what parts were to be washed, burned, or eaten. And then the first part of chapter 30 gives the instructions for the recipes anointing oil and the incense.

But here is what I noticed. All the garments for the priests were special because these men were consecrated to the Lord. They were separate, different, from everyone else. On the turban Aaron was to wear was a solid gold plate that was inscribed with the words, “HOLY TO THE LORD.” One of the rams was to be burnt as an offering to the LORD. Blood was applied to Aaron and his sons so they could be consecrated to the LORD. The altar and all its utensils were consecrated so they would be holy. The incense was holy. No one could make incense from the same recipe because it was holy to the LORD.

It is easy to see that all of these instructions were designed by God to show the Israelites that he was holy. It was all done very strictly. Nothing was to be done in a haphazard manner because God is holy. Those who were to represent the Israelites before God were ordained, consecrated, and holy before the Lord. Even the incense was holy because God is holy. It is all about God’s holiness!

Why don’t we have such instructions in the New Testament to govern our worship? Why don’t we have detailed lists of things we have to do in the church? The answer is humbling and powerful. Jesus Christ was the once-for-all sacrifice for the church. The sacrament of Holy Communion reminds us of this every time we celebrate it. “This is my body,” Jesus said. We eat the sacramental bread in the same way that the sacrifices were eaten under the Old Covenant. Under the New Covenant we are all consecrated and made holy unto the Lord by the sacrifice of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has come into us and made us new creatures, holy to the Lord. And even that is all about God and his holiness, not us! Thanks be to God for his marvelous grace!

9 Comments:

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous gregory said...

David, It is great to see to you writing again. The fresh wind in your sails is quite apparent. I have been reading through the one year "seasons of reflections" bible you used at SHB for mens leadership training fdor about 10 months. A daily old test, new test, and psalms or proverbs reading. Being a details guy I appreciate your insight into the exactness of these seemingly obscure commands. Hi Mia!

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Hi Gregory,

Good to have you back! Thanks for stopping by. That was a great study we had at Sawyer. I appreciate your comment.

By the way, Mia is also writing on her blog again if you are interested. Just use the link in the right margin at Shiloh Guy. Her blog is The Wooden House. She is much more interesting than I am!

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Sean Nemecek said...

I had a seminary professor who read the bible cover to cover several times each year. He would start the year by reading from Genesis to Revelation in 30 days. Then he would read the bible again each quarter. Five times every year! Of all my professors, he had the least formal education but knew the Bible the best.

 
At 11:57 PM, Blogger Anne of The House said...

Hi Dear Gregory!!!!
(Come back and cook more salmon!!!)
Miss ya!
Mia

 
At 6:26 PM, Anonymous reiman said...

When I think that we are "holy to the Lord" it frightens me. If you read those passages in Exodus, seeing how meticulous and exacting God made them, all the time thinking that we are now the representation of God on earth, it is humbling indeed. We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard lest we drift away from it (Hebrews 2: 1-2).
Sometimes I wonder if we have become a little too flippant in God's presence, a little to casual about how we treat ourselves and others. Nadab and Abihu treated their priesthood with a diregard for God's holiness and paid the price. Perhaps we should think more soberly about how we live our lives, and about how we treat His Word.
Following Christ is not easy. We are to be Holy because He is Holy. It really hasn't changed much has it.
When I read about the tabernacle, and the priestly garments, etc., that is what I think about. God is extremely jealous about His Name and His reputation and how we represent Him.
Reiman

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Thanks, Reiman! Thanks for reading and commenting! As usual, I think you bring something much better to my rudimental musings. Think of this: The Holy Spirit dwells within us and makes us holy in the sight of God even in the midst of our sin! How it must grieve him when we rebel and yet he covers our sin, forgives, and renews!

 
At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Reiman said...

Dave:
You are so right. That is one of the most awesome truths of God. He loves His people, even when we disobey Him. He can "overlook" our rebellion, because of Jesus sacrifice. The blood of the Savior covers our sins, having it poured out for us for forgiveness. We both know how much that means to me, having become such a skillful vile sinner in days gone by! Without the Holy Spirit's seal we would be beyond remedy.
Knowing that He forgives, knowing that He desires my fellowship, knowing that He wants me to follow Him, obey Him, rely on Him, love Him, and receive His love just makes me want to be all the more "set apart". It frightens me, but also encourages me to try, even when I fail. I can't explain it but the kindness and severity of
God are not mutually exclusive.
We CAN be holy, because His Spirit lives in us and enables us to do what we could never do on our own. I wonder if people really believe that?
I remember the verse that says that even when we are faithless to Him, He is faithful to us because He cannot deny Himself.
Reiman

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Reiman, thanks for the comment.

Isn't it striking that the scripture says that God is faithful us because he cannot deny himself? It DOESN'T say that he is faithful to us because we are worth being faithful for. Even his faithfulness to us depends entirely on protecting his own name, not ours!

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger RaggedyJane said...

There are things that are forever - faith is one of them. Aren't you glad that we don't have to wonder when we go into the presence of God, what kind of mood He'll be in that day? No catching us off guard. No mood swings. God is the same,every day, all the time.

 

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