Friday, February 10, 2023

2023.02.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 30:17–21

Read Exodus 30:17–21

Questions from the Scripture text: How does Exodus 30:17 introduce a slight change in subject? What are they to make (Exodus 30:18)? Out of what? With what base? For what purpose? To put where? And to put what in it? Who will use it (Exodus 30:19)? What, specifically, they will wash? Before what two activities, especially must they wash (Exodus 30:20)? Lest what happen? What, specifically must they wash (Exodus 30:21)? Lest what happen? How long is this requirement in effect? 

What do we learn from a bronze basin on a pedestal outside the tabernacle? Exodus 30:17–21 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that even consecrated, veteran priests were still continually soiling themselves with sin, so that we need a sinless Priest, Whose cleansing is effective for us once and for all. 

Here we have another new piece of furniture, probably because it was neither needed for the ordination of the priesthood nor part of the regular priestly service. Rather, the bronze basin on a bronze base (Exodus 30:18) is necessary for washing before each time a priest came to engage in his priestly service—whether outside the tabernacle at the bronze altar, or inside the tabernacle at the lampstand, the table, or the altar of incense.

Sinful priests among a sinful people. There is a repetition of the washing of both hands and feet here in Exodus 30:19 and again in Exodus 30:21. Specifically, just as the feet are unclean with the dust of the earth, so they are also spiritually unclean because these priests ways are sinful before God, and they walk among an unclean people. But it’s not just their feet. Their hands must be washed because the dirt that they are always accumulating parallels the sin that they are constantly committing in the things that they do.

In a culture that has become obsessive about the need for regular hand-washing, the spiritual lesson should not be lost upon us. We inevitably accumulate much sin and guilt through our ways, our actions, and even any others among whom we walk, when we are responsible for them and representatives for them. We are in need of continual repentance from our sin, and continual faith in Jesus Christ, Who cleanses us of it.

Who are in constant danger of death. A second thing that is emphasized by repetition is the mercy of this instruction, and the necessity of it. “Lest they die” (Exodus 30:20). “Lest thy die” (Exodus 30:21). The burnt offering is not making them safe. The tabernacle is not making them safe. Their being from the correct lineage is not making them safe. All of their previous service unto God does not make them safe. Every time they go in, they need to wash again. And it must not be thought that the water is making them safe, or it would not have had to be repeated. How constant were the reminders that they deserved death and Hell! 

And we have those reminders as well. But, praise God, it comes as reminder by way of remembrance: every time we come to God through Christ, every time we say “in Jesus’s Name,” every time we ask for forgiveness, every time we come to the table, every time we remember that we are baptized or observe another’s baptism… we are remembering not only that we deserve death and Hell, but that death and Hell have been paid. We are safe in Jesus!

Until this priesthood ends. This was a “statute forever to them —to him and his descendants throughout their generations” (Exodus 30:21). But there would come a time when the forever-priesthood like Melchizedek’s would replace the Levitical priesthood by a Man from the tribe of Judah (cf. Hebrews 7:13–14). Our Lord Jesus is not like these priests, however. Even walking among sinners, He never took a sinful step or went in a sinful direction. His hands and head and heart were clean of sin His whole life long. 

Now that our resurrected High Priest has ascended into heaven itself, believers in Him have been washed and consecrated in Jesus, by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11). This consecration to enter the holy of holies (Hebrews 10:19–20, cf. 1 Peter 3:22) is signified in the sprinkling clean of our consciences (Hebrews 10:22b) that comes when the washing of baptism (Hebrews 6:19–20, Hebrews 10:22c, cf. 1 Peter 3:21) is an affirming seal upon faith (Hebrews 10:22a)

What are some of the reminders that you deserve death and Hell? What have you done recently that deserved this? How can you be safe before God? How has He sprinkled your heart clean? What sign of testimony does He place upon church members to affirm this reality to the whole church?

Sample prayer: Father, we thank You that You have given Your Son to wash us in His blood, and Your Spirit to apply Him and His cleansing blood to us by faith. Grant that we would hate sin, and that we would be confident of our forgiveness from You. We ask for this forgiveness through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

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