The only way any of us are able to serve in the ministry, is through the grace of God made possible, by the blood of Jesus Christ. Aaron and his sons, who would be High Priests in Israel, are no exception to that, and all these sacrifices we read of here on their behalf, were linked and looking forward to the blood of the Lamb, which cleansed and qualified them for ministry.
God is holy and therefore any call to the ministry is a call to holiness. Ministers are to be washed in the water of the Word (Exodus 29:4; Ephesians 5:26) and washed in the blood of God’s sacrifice (Exodus 29:10-14; Revelation 1:5-6).
The blood applied to the right ear, the right hand, and the right foot, spoke of the forgiveness necessary for the things we’ve listened to, for the things we’ve done, and for the places we’ve gone, that were not right in God’s sight (Exodus 29:20). Later, the Lord would anoint those same parts of the leper’s body with oil, in order to symbolize how what we hear, what we do, and every step we take must be anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Leviticus 14).
When we study the book of Leviticus, God will cover more details on the various sacrifices and offerings that we read of here in Exodus…the sin offering, the wave offering, the heave offering, the grain offering, and the drink offering.
Living so far away from the times of the Tabernacle and Temple we might not be cognizant of the constant deaths that took place, when all these animals were slaughtered as shadows of Christ who would one day be slaughtered for us. Did you notice how Aaron and his sons put their hands on the head of the bull? (Exodus 29:10) This symbolized the transfer of sins to the animal which was then put to death for those sins, on their behalf (Romans 6:23). This is a picture of what Jesus has done for us, how He bore our sins (Isaiah 53:5, 10).
In Exodus 29:38 we read of the two lambs that were sacrificed each and every day, in the morning and at twilight…so much blood, as a constant reminder of God’s way for us to meet with Him. Notice what we read in:
Exodus 29:42 (NKJV) “This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet you to speak with you.”
I’m always amazed how God would be willing to meet with me, to speak to me, and even the WAY He made a way, by the slaughter of His Son. O what a Savior we have (we’ll never know how much it cost to see our sins upon that cross) He gave His life, His love, His Son, in order to dwell among us and be our God!
Exodus 29:45–46 (NKJV) “I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.”
This is where it’s all heading, for all God’s children. We read in:
Revelation 21:3 (NKJV) “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.’”
God next gave Moses the details for the Altar of Incense which would be symbolic of the perpetual prayers of the people before God’s throne.
How beautiful to think that our prayers rise as incense, as a sweet smelling aroma before the Lord (see Revelation 8:3).
The anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany was the last straw for Judas, for he was a thief; he used to steal from the money box, and he no doubt wanted some of that money (John 12:4-6). Judas therefore went out and agreed to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Jesus, however, didn’t give up on Judas, He reached out to him at the Passover meal, by saying, in essence, “I know you’re planning to betray Me, Judas, don’t do it, there will be the worst of all judgments if you do this” (Matthew 26:24). If only the world would heed the warnings of God – motivated by love.
Jesus goes on to institute communion. We as Christians have only two “institutions.” One is baptism, which we are to do once, when we’re old enough to understand what we’re doing. The other is communion, which we are to observe repeatedly and frequently. In doing so, we remember Christ, we remember His cross, we remember His body that was broken for us; what an amazing love and the life we have in Him!
After communion, Jesus informs His disciples of the prophecy in Zechariah 13:7, the sheep would be made to stumble, when the Shepherd is struck. He was informing them of this prophecy so they would regather later in Galilee, but Peter’s pride got the best of him and he had the audacity to say, “Jesus You’re wrong! These other guys might deny You, but I’ll never deny You!” So Jesus speaks to Him directly (I hear it like this) “Well Peter, I wasn’t going to say anything, but now that you bring it up, not only will you stumble and be scattered, but you will deny Me three times before the rooster is done crowing.”
What important lessons of warning for all of us. This Christian life is not a playground, it’s a battle-ground; it’s not a game to be taken lightly, it’s a war in which we fight on our knees. Jesus knew He had to pray, so He takes the guys and asks them to join Him. Jesus agonizes in prayer in this Garden (one of my favorite places to visit in Israel). Three times He asks His father to take this cup away. Why? The pain was the start of it, the sins He would bear were a part of it, but I believe the separation from His Father was the heart of it. This would be the first time in all eternity that the Father would be separated from His Son. Jesus made His request, but also yielded His will – a perfect pattern for us in prayer.
Unfortunately, the guys didn’t pray the way they should have – they slept instead, and sure enough, were stumbled by Satan. I sigh as I see those who sleep – not all, not most – but some, a handful. As Keith Green wrote, “The world is sleeping in the night, and the church just can’t fight, ‘cause it’s asleep in the light.” May God grant us that spiritual strength and attentiveness, to wake up and pray as we should.
All things work together for good, to those who love God (Psalm 31:19, 23).
David was one of those who loved the Lord, so God hid him in His pavilion, in the secret place, in the strong city, from the plots of men – even when he was surrounded.
May David’s story of triumphs through all the trials be an inspiration for all of us, as we go through the heartache we experience. God will keep you from the strife of life (Psalm 39:20).
Don’t be afraid. Don’t give up. God will show up.
Psalm 31:24 (NKJV) “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”
Proverbs 8:14-16 (NKJV) “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice.16 By me princes rule, and nobles, all the judges of the earth.“
“If men in authority need wisdom, it is for justice, not advantage.”
Kings need much more than family blood; and rulers need much more than rules; princes need much more than that education from Princeton university, it’s not the degree – God says…it’s Me.
You need My counsel, you need My wisdom, you need My understanding, you need My strength.
It even gets better:
Proverbs 8:17 (NKJV) “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.“
There are some fine lines between wisdom and the personification of wisdom, the Lord Himself.
It’s here and only here where you’ll experience love, but it won’t come if we live half-heartedly for Christ. If we seek Him casually; to experience the fullness of life we must seek Him diligently. And again, I know the context here is wisdom, but you can’t help but think of the beautiful promise, found in *Jeremiah 29:11-13
Not to put a burden too heavy to bear, but we can’t really say we’re seeking God diligently, if we’re not praying obediently.
Proverbs 8:19-21 (NKJV) “Riches and honor are with me, enduring riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit isbetter than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my revenue than choice silver. 20 I traverse the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice, 21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.“
Sometimes God blesses us financially here on earth – physically; but the true riches are spiritual riches, enduring riches.
“Are the benefits material or immaterial? Certainly both, but predominantly the latter.”
Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
There are many Christians who don’t have a whole lot financially on earth – but they are rich spiritually, because they live and give obediently.
There’s fruit (v. 19) in their lives…which is better than gold, even the best gold or silver.
Proverbs 8:22-26 (NKJV) “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. 23 I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth; 26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primal dust of the world.
Here we have the personification of wisdom; an abstraction made personal for the sake of poetic vividness. It makes excellent sense at the level of metaphor.
By wisdom God made THE world – therefore it’s by His wisdom we will make OUR world.
We can’t control everything, but the good life, the less-stressed life, the blessed life, doesn’t usually happen by accident, it requires wisdom.
We love it, and therefore learn it, in order to live it.
We make our decisions and then our decisions make us.
By this wisdom that was there before time.
If the LORD used wisdom in such a way, we should too. What can God do through us if only we would walk in wisdom every step of the way.
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.