Exodus 39

Holy to the Lord

“Finally, they made the sacred medallion of pure gold to be worn on the front of the turban. Using the techniques of an engraver, they inscribed it with these words: SET APART AS HOLY TO THE LORD. Exodus 39:30 NLT

In this chapter we have the detailed descriptions of the making of the priestly garments. They were made of the finest hand-woven fabrics and decorated with precious stones and gold. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia describes it this way: “A sacred vestment originally designed for the high priest (Exodus 28:4; Exodus 39:2), and made “of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen,” held together by two shoulder-pieces and a skillfully woven band which served as a girdle for the ephod. On the shoulderpieces were two onyx stones on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. It is not known whether the ephod extended below the hips or only to the waist. Attached to the ephod by chains of pure gold was a breastplate containing twelve precious stones in four rows. Underneath the ephod was the blue robe of the ephod extending to the feet of the priest. The robe of the ephod was thus a garment comprising, in addition to the long robe proper, the ephod with its shoulderpieces and the breastplate of judgment.”

This was a one-of-a-kind garment that was to be used by the high priest alone for service to God alone. This was clearly expressed on the golden plate that was permanently affixed to the turban which the high priest wore. On the gold plate were the words, “Holy to the Lord.” It could also be translated as “Set apart as holy to the Lord.” These words signified that the high priest and all the duties associated with his role were to be for the Lord alone. He was set apart for God. He belonged to God. His garments signified his new role and responsibilities. But while the Aaronic priesthood no longer exists, God is still setting apart men and women for himself. Just take a look at these verses:

“for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, his very own possession.” – 1 Peter 2:9 NLT

“And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 2:5 NLT

“He has made us his Kingdom and his priests who serve before God his Father.” – Revelation 1:6 NLT

We are His chosen people. Not only that, we are His royal and holy priests. We are to daily offer up spiritual sacrifices that please Him. That is our role. That is our duty. And like the high priest, we have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Galatians 3:27 tells us this: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” We have been set apart by God for His service. We are His. We belong to Him. And that fact should thrill us beyond belief. So much so, that we would exclaim as the prophet Isaiah did so long ago: “I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10 NLT).

Paul reminds us, “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:9-10 NLT). The High Priest had duties to perform. He had responsibilities to take care of on behalf of God the Father. So do we. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 that “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.”

The High Priest was responsible for reconciling the people to God. He made the sacrifices demanded by God in order that the people’s sins might be forgiven. Our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, has made that final sacrifice once and for all, but we have the responsibility of pointing people to God by introducing them to Christ. We can be agents of reconciliation, helping them understand that there is a sacrifice that has been made for their sins. They do not have to save themselves. They can be reconciled to God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. We have been set apart for that duty. It is why we are here. So how are we doing?

Father, I’ll be honest. I get off target very easily. I have not been doing my job like I should. I do not see myself as a priest. I do not remind myself daily that I have been set apart as holy to You. I am no longer mine, but I live as if I am. I do what I want to do more than I do what You have called me to do. Help me remember my role and responsibility. I want to live a life that is set apart unto You. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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