Not only was the LORD establishing the Civil Law of Israel, He was also about to establish the Ceremonial Law. He begins with the Priesthood. We don’t read of Aaron by any means earning this position. God, by His grace, chose him and his sons to serve as the family of High Priests of Israel. He does the same for us when it comes to ministry, He chooses whom He uses, by grace (1 Corinthians 15:10).
The High Priests of Israel would wear holy garments, “…for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2, 40).
We read of the gifted artists who would make these garments (Exodus 28:3). Something I’ve noticed about the Lord, is that nothing is random, every thread, every fabric, every color, every stone, and the placement of it all has significance. I’ve also learned that God is an Artist, seen in the beauty of His creation and colors and the way they catch the eye and heart with their intricate textures and blends intended to go deep. We even read that these artists are not only gifted, but in one sense, Spirit-filled:
Exodus 28:3 (NKJV) “So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.”
Ultimately, Jesus is our High Priest (see Hebrews chapters 5-9) who entered the heavenly tabernacle with His own blood and made a way for His followers once and for all!
Hebrews 9:11–12 (NKJV) “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
I’ve always loved the way the High Priest bore the names of the children of Israel on his two shoulders (Exodus 28:12) and how he bore their names over his heart (Exodus 28:29). What a perfect picture of Jesus who carries us on His shoulders with such love – who has us in His heart!
At the end of the Tribulation Period, Jesus will return to judge the nations and separate the “sheep” from the “goats.” This judgment is for those who have survived the Tribulation Period. The righteous “sheep” on His right hand, will enter into the Millennial Kingdom. The cursed “goats” on His left hand, will be cast into the “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)
You may have noticed that woven within this judgement, Jesus gives some very practical reasons for rewards and punishment. Most Bible teachers believe it has to do with the treatment of the Jews during the Great Tribulation Period – how the Jews were treated by them when they were hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, or in prison – Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (v. 40)
How I need to be so careful not to forget the practicality of my faith! James also mentions the fact that we prove our faith, by our works (James 2:18).
Once again, Jesus predicts His horrible death, but due to the preconceived ideas of the disciples, they can’t hear Him. Jesus informs them that all this was only two days away, that it would be during the Passover, but it’s as if they’re deaf. Meanwhile the religious leaders were having their conversations behind closed doors on their plans to kill Jesus, they didn’t want to do it during the feast, but it was all part of God’s plan and He would have His way, Jesus was about to be our Passover Lamb.
Mary of Bethany is so beautiful, so different than the disciples; she seems to be the only one in their circle who was in tune with God, who understood Jesus’ words, and she therefore anoints Him with a flask of very costly oil (it was worth somewhere around $40,000 in today’s 2021 economy). It was an obedient and perfect sacrifice of the heart. When the worship is pure, the house will be filled with such fragrance. Of course, we know the enemy hates it when we do such things, and Judas was indignant – he was the one who led the charge against Mary (John 12:4) and the disciples followed his lead, but Jesus defended her. I’ve always loved what Mary of Bethany did for our Lord and aspire to learn from her example. As Warren Wiersbe said, “Other women came to anoint Him after His burial, but Mary did it when He could be encouraged by her love.”
David was in big trouble. His eyes were filled with grief, his strength was failing, his bones were wasting away.
To make matters worse, David had been forgotten, not just by his enemies, but also by his neighbors and acquaintances. Those who did remember him, only slandered him and took counsel together against him.
The enemy preyed.
But once again, David prayed:
Psalm 31:14–15 (NKJV) “But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ 15 My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.”
The NLT says, “My future is in Your hands…”
If we KNOW He is our God (go ahead and say it to Him, “You are My God”) then it makes perfect sense that we would trust God with our future. Even if the moment or season we’re in is troubling – let’s keep the faith, let’s keep praying, knowing that one day God will make sense of it all.
God help us to learn from David. We can do this at any time, even in the most trying times. It’s good to pour out our hearts to Him, to share with Him ALL our burdens and griefs, to ask Him for help, the whole time knowing this truth, “Our times are in Your hands…” God…they really are.
Proverbs 8:12-13 (NKJV) “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion. 13 The fear of the Lord is to HATE evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.”
If you consider this in context – it’s as if you have one voice, it’s the wisdom from above, and you have another voice, it’s the wisdom from below, and God says I hate that wisdom, the perverse mouth, I hate.
The Nazis and citizens of Germany would say “Heil Hitler.” They would say this in unison and do the hand signal…leading to the slaughter of 6 million Jews at that slogan.
The perverse mouth I hate.
They don’t call it adultery, they call it an affair.
They don’t call it sin, they call it a disease.
They don’t call it murder, or the taking of a life, or even abortion, they use their voice to call it “choice,” and in the US, since Roe vs. Wade over 62 million – and in the world since 1980 1.58 billion babes have been slaughtered.
All because of the unrighteous rhetoric that spews forth from the perversity of their mouths.
Proverbs 8:13 (NKJV) “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.”
Do I really hate sin? Do I hate the way sin is die-cast rebellion against God? Do I see the damage it does to the people God loves? Who I love? God help us to hate – not sinners – but sin; God help us to hate evil, even the evil within our own hearts.
Billy Sunday aptly said, “One reason sin flourishes is that it is treated like a cream puff instead of a rattlesnake.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.