Ordination was a bloody business. The first official priests went through a lot to become God’s holy middlemen. These were the only guys who could approach the altar beyond the curtain of the Tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. God spent an entire chapter giving instructions on their holy uniforms. He then spent a good part of this chapter describing how to dress the priests in those outfits. Then, as they get all gussied up and ready to step into the limelight, God splatters blood all over them! Can you imagine the looks on their faces??? Imagine if you were in their shoes – totally unsuspecting of anything that was coming – what would your reaction be? I’d probably just stand there dumbfounded, thinking, “Um, what just happened here?” It would be a moment of contemplation, for sure. To me, the splashing of blood on perfectly new priestly garments represents a choice moment for humility. The priests are being honored on the highest level, but a life was lost in order to celebrate it. This is how we should feel when we are soaring on eagles wings and dressed up like royalty: blood was spilled to make it all possible. It’s like when the Israelites were watching the Egyptians’ dead bodies roll onto the shore after they’d crossed the Red Sea. For every blessing the Israelites received, there was a grave price to be paid. We can be humbly thankful for the blood that was spattered once and for all for each of us. Of course, we should be joyful and thankful in our moments of glory, but we should remember the price that was paid – WILLINGLY paid – so that we can achieve and celebrate anything at all.
The second part of this chapter warms my heart as a mother who has a house full of teenagers right now. Some days I hate mealtimes because it means I have to figure out how to feed this herd, and it’s frustrating to spend half my paycheck on food. At the same time, though, it is my joy to cook and provide and to have all these teenagers in one place because I know it may never be this way again. We used to have huge family gatherings regularly when I was younger, but now they only happen every few years. I know as our teenagers sprout and move on I won’t get to see them in this setting as often. So, what the hey does that have to do with the sacrifices mentioned in the last part of this chapter? Well, first of all, thinking about all that roasted meat and warm bread made me super hungry for Middle Eastern food, and second, in drooling over the smellzzz, I realized that God was devising regular mealtimes not only for the priests but for HImself, too! We talked briefly in a past chapter about how the sacrifices God sets in place are more than just weird daily rituals meant to make God out as a control freak. They are actual means to feed those whom God puts in charge of His most holy operations. We see in verse 39 that two sacrifices were to be made each day – one at breakfast time and one at dinner time. It is during this time – meal time – that God will come to the Tabernacle door and meet with the priests, and even the people if they so choose to show up. I! LOVE! THIS! Isn’t it beautiful? We often read these passages and just see the slaughter and blood involved, and we should see those things, but it’s nice when God allows us to see the many layers below the sacrifices as well.
Writing prompt: food’s ready!
I’ve shouted, “Food’s ready!” about 9,000 times during this quarantine period. I cook. They eat. I clean. And then we start all over again. That’s how it seems anyway. I do love being the provider most of the time, and I do love sitting down to a meal together, and I also love how much emphasis God puts on meal times throughout the Bible. It would be an excellent book topic or Bible study, especially for foodies. Write about one of your favorite mealtimes, whether it was at a huge family reunion or a one-on-one lunch date. Try to realize a specialness about this time that you hadn’t thought about before.