Qodesh and Qadash
“You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.“ – Exodus 28:2 NASB
Reading through these chapters in Exodus I can get overwhelmed by all the details and descriptions of how the Tabernacle was to be constructed. The degree of detail is amazing. I can only imagine Moses pleading with God, “Could you slow down just a little bit!” as he attempted to write all of this down. There are so many different kinds of objects made, so many different kinds of materials used. Most of it was ordinary wood, clothe, and metal, but it was being transformed into something extremely unique and incredibly special – the Tabernacle – God’s dwelling place. And all of it was to be holy or set apart for God. The Hebrew word typically used for holy when describing the utensils, materials, and garments associated with the Tabernacle is qodesh and it means “apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness.” When God tells Moses to make “holy” garments for Aaron, He is not asking Moses to manufacture some special kind of robe that has unique qualities or properties. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins is given a special shirt of chain mail called Mithril. It was made by elf craftsmen for an elf prince and had special, magical qualities. That is NOT what God is asking Moses to make for Aaron. So what does it mean to make a holy garment? And what made these normal, everyday materials holy?
In making the Tabernacle, Moses is instructed to take ordinary, everyday materials, some expensive like gold and precious stones, and some inexpensive like wood and metal, and to construct a house for God. What made these materials holy or qodesh was NOT their inherent worth or value, but the fact that they were being set apart or consecrated for God’s use. They belonged to Him and Him alone. They were holy because of their new purpose and position. The garment that Moses was to make for Aaron had no special characteristics or qualities. It held no special powers. What made it unique was that it was set apart for one use and one use only – for the priest to use in his service to God. Had Aaron chosen to wear that garment home and use it around the house, he would have desecrated it. He would have been using it for something other than its intended use. To do so with something holy would be to profane it.
God had specific instructions regarding the profaning of what He had set aside as holy. Over in Leviticus He says in regard to the priests, “They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they present the offerings by fire to the LORD, the food of their God; so they shall be holy” (Leviticus 21:6 NASB). To profane something means to make it ordinary. It would be to use something that was intended for God and use it for ordinary, everyday use. Over in 1 Peter 1:16, we are told by God, “You must be holy because I am holy.” We have been set apart by God for His purpose. We belong to Him. There is nothing in us of any value that makes us holy. But God has chosen us and set us apart as His own. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, his very own possession.” We belong to God. So when we use our bodies, our minds, our hands, our feet – for any purpose other than what God has planned for us, we profane ourselves. We take what God has set apart and use it for things He never intended. We have been set apart by God for a purpose – ordinary men and women who God has chosen to use for His glory. Why would we want to do anything less?
Father, thank You for setting me apart – for choosing to use me. Forgive me for using myself the way I want to, instead of the way You want to use me. Help me to remember that You chose me for a purpose. I belong to You. I am to glorify You with my body. I am to honor You with all that I am. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men