Monday, December 28, 2015

God Wants To See The Bread at All Times & He Wants Us To Know It's There

The Table of Showbread


Exodus 25:23-30: “And you shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long and one cubit wide and one and a half cubits high. And you shall overlay it with pure gold and make a gold border around it. And you shall make for it a rim of a handbreadth around it; and you shall make a gold border for the rim around it. And you shall make four gold rings for it and put rings on the four corners which are on its four feet. The rings shall be close to the rim as holders for the poles to carry the table. And you shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, so that with them the table may be carried. And you shall make its dishes and its pans and its jars and its bowls, with which to pour libations; you shall make them of pure gold. And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me at all times.”
Moses is given more instructions for more furniture. This time, God wants the Children of Israel to build a table. And He gives them detailed instructions, not unlike the Ark. This time though he adds a request for a border around its rim. This is thought to have been like a molding or ornamental rim, raised above the level of the table, to prevent anything from falling off.  In addition, provision for carrying the table via poles through gold rings is required similar to the case of the Ark. It seems this table was also to travel with the Israelites, although, according to commentator Robert Jamieson, the poles could be removed to make it easier for the priests to carry out their duties at the table.
And for the table, God gave instructions for the production of gold dishes, pans, jars, and bowls. That’s the NASB list; other versions replace some of these with spoons, pitchers, cups, ladles, flagons, and goblets. You get the idea. Generally God wanted utensils to serve as broad platters to hold the bread, vessels for holding incense, and something to hold the libations, likely wine, made or offered to God according to the historian Josephus, and changed once a week when the bread was changed.
It is on this table, so furnished, that God instructs the people to “place the bread of the Presence”, and to keep it there, at all times, “before Him”.  So what is this “bread” or “bread of the Presence” as the NASB refers to it? David Guzik quotes Meyer in stating that the reference to “presence” is related to the idea that bread which is necessary for survival, should also remind us that God’s presence with us, in a relationship with Him, is just as necessary for us to survive. Literally, it may be translated as the “bread of faces” because it is associated with bread that is to be eaten before the “face of God”. Its presentation consists of twelve loaves.
Later on in Scripture (Leviticus 24:5-9), we will learn that twelve loaves were required – one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. They were made of fine flower (each of a specific quantity), set in a special arrangement on the table, and sprinkled with pure frankincense, and replaced weekly on the Sabbath.  But it is to remain in place all week long. Jamieson says, “This bread was designed to be a symbol of the full and never-failing provision which is made in the Church for the spiritual sustenance and refreshment of God's people.”

We need to keep in mind that this furniture – the Ark, the Table of Showbread, and Lampstand for which God gives instructions later, are all to be part of the Tabernacle, or as Matthew Henry puts I, “God’s house”.  It is here that God said He was pleased to dwell among the people. And He wanted to set a pattern for keeping a good house, in good order, clean, etc.  Oh that it were an example to us today.
Matthew Henry adds that this bread was an acknowledgement of God’s continued goodness to His people, in giving them their daily bread, manna in the wilderness, where He prepared a table for them, and, later in Canaan, the corn of the land. For this reason, Christ, in the New Testament, taught us to pray every day for the bread that we need. Henry takes the symbolism further by pointing out that this is a “token of their communion with God. This bread on God's table being made of the same corn with the bread on their own tables, God and Israel did, as it were, eat together, as a pledge of friendship and fellowship; he supped with them, and they with him.
Many of us do not have a “God designed” tabernacle at our place of corporate worship, let alone where we live. Even fewer of us have a “table of showbread”. However, we would do well to recognize the significance of God’s table of showbread weekly (the bread was replaced every Sabbath), better still daily (the bread symbolized God’s daily provision for us), and best continuously (God wanted the bread “before Me at all times”). He is the One Who dwells with us, for us, and in us. He is the One Who sustains us, protects us, and seeks a close relationship with us. We need Him and His Presence for our daily survival and our eternal salvation. I pray you will meet with our God at His Table of the Showbread today.



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