Today’s Reading: Exodus 26-28
Today’s Reflection: Exodus 28:21
There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes.
Exodus chapters 25 to 31 describe in exhaustive detail all of the preparations God told Moses to share with Israel about making the sanctuary and all of the instruments to be used by the priests serving there. You may wonder: why all of the specific detail? The measurements of the Ark of the Covenant? The colours for the priests robes? The metalwork for the gold implements and instruments?
It’s because they all mean something.
God is a God of purpose, who does everything on purpose. When He created the world, everything had a place. We can see this in nature. There are no garbage cans or recycling bins in a rain forest, or a desert, or a marshy bog, or a mountainside, because nature has a built in harmony. What may be waste from one life form is essential to another, like animal waste becoming fertilizer to fuel the growth of trees and plants, who’s leaves and flowers those animals then eat. When God creates anything it’s with purpose.
Every detail God instructed Israel in concerning worshiping Him had purpose as well. Some of these purposes are clear, like the presence of the mercy seat on the Ark, between the cherubim, or the 12 stones and names of Jacob’s 12 sons on the breastplate. Others are less so. But everything has a purpose, a symbolism, a reflection of the journey God had led Israel on and the future He was leading them to.
This should also tell us that our worship to God should be driven by His purposes. We have many practices in Christian churches today. Programs, orders of worship, types and styles of music, houses of worship, ideas about appropriate dress, and so on. But do we know where these practices come from? Did they originate with God’s purposes, or are they man’s ideas? Even worse, may they have come from sources diametrically opposed to the purposes of God, and managed to infiltrate His church and corrupt the worship of His believers?
If we desire to be people of God we need to understand His instruction and ensure our practices are in alignment with His purposes. We must continually return to His word and instruction.
Because everything means something.