Saturday, January 02, 2016

Been to Any Effective Ministerial Ordainations Recently? Exodus 29 Sets the Pattern.


Exodus 29: Sacrifices for the Consecration of Priestly Garments; the Daily Offerings.

Exodus 29:1-46: In chapter 29 of Exodus, God gives detailed instructions for each of the items listed in our heading. Please read your preferred version of Scripture in parallel. Below we simply highlight some of the key features of the chapter for our study.
The first nine verses of this chapter instruct the children of Israel as to how they need to consecrate or ordain their priests.  This included a special sacrifice, dressing the candidates with their special priestly garments, and anointing their heads with oil.
Chuck Smith suggests that the first order of business was a sacrifice by Aaron, “because he is to be serving for the people before God, he had to have his sins taken care of. So the first thing was a sin offering to take care of the sins of Aaron, washing him with water, putting on these robes, anointing him with oil, and then the offering of this sin offering.” The message is simple we cannot really and effectively minister for God unless we ourselves have been ministered to by God.
Verses 10-18 give the details of a bull and a ram sacrifice.  Verse 18 talks about the burning animal being a burnt offering and “a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord.”
Verses 19-25 speak of the second ram being slaughtered and some of its blood being put on the right ear lobes, right thumbs, and right toes of the priests (Aaron and his sons). This was very important and symbolized a special “life” consecration.  Smith describes it as follows:
"I consecrate my ear to hear the voice of God. I consecrate my hands to do the work of God. I consecrate my feet to walk in the path of God." A life of consecration unto God. "That I may hear His voice, that I might do His work, that I might walk in His path." 
Their lives were indeed to be “set apart” – there’s no getting around that when we serve the Lord.  So many of us try to have our right foot in God’s service and our left foot on the golf course; our ears are listening to the Word of God while we’re enjoying rock music or a Hollywood movie in the background.
Verse 21 talks about consecrating their garments.  Some of the cakes of bread and other things were to be waved by the priests as a “wave offering before the Lord”.
Verses 26-28 give us instruction about the breast of one of the rams (Aaron’s to be precise) along with the thigh of the “heave offering” (which is not explained earlier in the chapter; although some believe it is so named because it was heaved up in the air in addition to it being waved). These become the priests’ portion thereafter. All these animals had to die because “sin brings about death” and their sacrifice is symbolic of that.
We are also told that the duty of the priests was for a week at a time – seven days and they had to wear their priestly garments each time they entered into the tent of meeting to minister in the holy place.
Verses 31-34 speak of Aaron and the priests eating the ram and bread (left at the doorway of the tent of meeting) by which atonement was made in their ordination and consecration. The layperson was warned not to eat them because they were holy. What is left over for the next day was also to be burned and not eaten, for the same reason. Smith suggests that once something has touched the altar, it is consecrated to God and you could not take it back. “It then belonged to God; whatever was laid on the altar it became God's. If you laid your life upon the altar, then it becomes God's; it isn't yours to take back again. It no longer belongs to you.” So many of us try, especially when things get tough, and while I believe you alone can ultimately make the decision to abandon your faith just as you were free to enter it, the outcome is not what you will want in the final analysis.
The next few verses give instructions for seven daily offerings that will make the altar itself purified and consecrated for its service.  Thereafter it would be holy and anything that touches it would be holy. I wonder if today there is something to be said for “consecrating” articles to be used in God’s service such as a building, a vehicle, a printing press, etc.
Verse 38 instructs the Israelites to, from that point forward, offer two one-year old lambs each day, continuously. One is to be offered in the morning and one at twilight. This is a pretty big order indeed even before we get to how the lambs are to be prepared. It requires much cooperation of the volunteers from among the people of Israel to be able to keep up with it.  Makes one wonder how well our volunteers are doing in diligently keeping up with the details of the ministry they are involved in.
And then in verses 42-45 God repeats His desire and intention to meet with and speak to His people at the tent of meeting. Verse 45 indicates that not only do we consecrate and ordain people and things to God’s service, but so does He. And it is thus that He “will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God” (verse 45).
And the result of all this is made clear in verse 46: The people, God says, “shall know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God.”
Matthew Henry takes this chapter to its next level by showing us how it foreshadows the good things that were, and are, to come for the believer with the following thoughts:
·      Our Lord Jesus is the great high-priest, called of God to be so, consecrated for evermore, anointed with the Spirit above his fellows (whence he is called Messiah, the Christ), clothed with the holy garments, even with glory and beauty, sanctified by his own blood, not that of bullocks and rams, made perfect, or consecrated, through sufferings.
·      All believers are spiritual priests, to offer spiritual sacrifices, washed in the blood of Christ, and so made to our God priests. They also are clothed with the beauty of holiness, and have received the anointing. Their hands are filled with work, to which they must continually attend; and it is through Christ, the great sacrifice, that they are dedicated to this service. His blood sprinkled upon the conscience purges it from dead works, that they may, as priests, serve the living God. The Spirit of God (as Ainsworth notes) is called the finger of God . . . and He effectually applies the merit of Christ to our souls, as here Moses with his finger was to put the blood upon Aaron. It is likewise intimated that gospel ministers are to be solemnly set apart to the work of the ministry with great deliberation and seriousness both in those who do the ordaining and in the ordained, as those that are to be employed in a great work and entrusted with a great charge.
·      The daily service appointed near the end of the chapter:
o   Typified the continual intercession that Christ ever lives to make . . . for the continual sanctification of his church: though he offered himself once for all, yet that one offering thus becomes a continual offering.
    • Teaches us to offer up to God the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise every day, morning and evening, in humble acknowledgement of our dependence upon him and our obligations to him. Our daily devotions must be looked upon as the most needful of our daily works and the most pleasant of our daily comforts. Whatever business we have, this must never be omitted, either morning or evening; prayer time must be kept up as duly as meat-time. The daily sacrifices were as the daily meals in God's house, and therefore they were always attended with bread and wine. Those starve their own souls that keep not up a constant attendance on the throne of grace.
After studying this chapter and reading the thoughts of some insightful commentators as we have, we need to stop and ask ourselves a very important question: "Just how faithful am I being to the consecration that God and others bestowed on me when I became a Christian?"

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

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