Friday, January 06, 2023

2023.01.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 29:1–35

Read Exodus 29:1–35

Questions from the Scripture text: What are the first things Moses is to take for the consecrating of the priests (Exodus 29:1)? Of what quality? What three other things (Exodus 29:2) in what container (Exodus 29:3)? Now what (whom) is he to bring in Exodus 29:4? And do what to them there at the door? Then what is he to do specifically to Aaron there in Exodus 29:5-6? And what, once he is attired (Exodus 29:7)? Then what to whom in Exodus 29:8-9? Once they are consecrated, what are Aaron and his sons to do to what (Exodus 29:10)? Then what does Moses do to the same thing (Exodus 29:11)? Before Whom? Then what is he to do with what from the bull, and where (Exodus 29:12)? What else is he to take from the bull to do what with it where (Exodus 29:13)? And do what where with the rest of it (Exodus 29:14)? What are they to do with the first ram (Exodus 29:15)? And then what with the same ram (Exodus 29:16)? And do what with its blood? And then do what to the ram (Exodus 29:17)? In order to do what with how much of it (Exodus 29:18)? Unto Whom? As what to Him? What do they do with the other ram (Exodus 29:19)? And then what with the same ram (Exodus 29:20)? And do what with its blood to what parts of Aaron and his sons? And do what else with its blood where? Then what are they to gather and put it on whom and on what (Exodus 29:21)? With what effect to them and their garments? What are they to take from the second ram in Exodus 29:22? And what else are they to take in Exodus 29:23, for Aaron and his sons to do what (Exodus 29:24)? Then what with the waved bread, and the choice parts of the second ram (Exodus 29:25)? What part does Moses get to eat (Exodus 29:26)? Who will receive such portions in the future (Exodus 29:27-28)? To whom will Aaron’s garments go in the future (Exodus 29:29)? How long is that consecration to take pace (Exodus 29:30)? What will be done with the rest of the second ram’s meat (Exodus 29:31)? So that who can do what with it and with the bread (Exodus 29:32)? What had been done with these things, and who can eat them (Exodus 29:33)? Why? What should they do with leftovers in the morning (Exodus 29:34)? Why? For how many days is this to be done (Exodus 29:35)? According to what? 

How are the priests set apart for their service? Exodus 29:1–35 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirty-five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the priests are consecrated unto their service by substitutionary atonement.

It was not a flattering thing to be ordained as a priest. Three times in this passage (Exodus 29:10Exodus 29:15a, Exodus 29:19), Aaron and his sons put their hands on the head of an animal. The implication is that they are identified with the animal. What belongs to them passes to it. And as soon as an animal is identified with them, it is mercilessly butchered (Exodus 29:11Exodus 29:15b, Exodus 29:20b). Its blood is displayed in various ways (Exodus 29:12Exodus 29:16Exodus 29:20-21). And then its choice parts (or the whole animal) are burned with fiery fury (yes, those words are related; Exodus 29:13Exodus 29:14Exodus 29:18Exodus 29:1-25). 

It's a little too easy for us to read quickly through that. But for Aaron and his sons the message is clear: death and Hell is exactly what it would please God to do to them—apart from the love in which He has been pleased to do it to a substitute instead of them. How great is this love, such that we will eventually learn that the substitute is not bulls or rams but actually Christ (cf. Hebrews 9:13–14; Hebrews 10:4–10)! And how great, then, must be our guilt that even upon Christ Himself this death and Hell would be executed!

So Aaron’s sons, and especially Aaron himself, were set apart for ministry by the vivid, repeated display that they deserve for this to kill and damn them. The blood was sprinkled on all the apparatus (Exodus 29:12Exodus 29:16Exodus 29:20) signifying it as sufficiently atoned for in order to be fit for holy use. Then in Exodus 29:20, the blood was applied to every segment of Aaron and his sons’ bodies for the same purpose. They were fit to die and go to Hell. But the Lord had fit them instead for His priestly service.

Even after the prescribed fabrication, the garments and the altar still needed to be atoned for by blood. Even after being selected specifically by God, Aaron and his sons still needed to be atoned for by blood. Sin is so filthy that the worship items are “cleansed” not with detergent but with blood and oil (cf. Exodus 29:21)

The passage takes an interesting turn in Exodus 29:26. Moses gets a portion to eat. There won’t be one like he again, but in Exodus 29:27 Aaron and his sons are made the heirs of the same portion. It’s just for them. Indeed, it’s so holy that whatever they don’t eat is to be destroyed by fire (Exodus 29:34). So how great is their privilege that is initially reserved for them to enjoy (Exodus 29:32-33)!

God’s commandments (Exodus 29:35) take those who deserve Hell and instead bring them into a position of honorable service and near fellowship. And the Lord makes accommodation for their weakness by starting this afresh every day for seven days. Praise God Who shows such grace to sinners! And praise God, Who mercifully compensates for the weakness of our faith by repeatedly pressing upon us the truth and reality of that grace!

What do you deserve, in yourself, for even the best of your works? What blood had to be spilled for your induction into God’s service? What privilege have you gained by this? What fellowship? 

Sample prayer: Lord, thank You for atoning for us by the blood not of bulls and goats but of Your own Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Forgive us for how lightly we have taken our service to You and the access that You have given us to Yourself. Grant unto us nearness to You and holiness to You through Jesus, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH275 “Arise, My Soul, Arise”

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