The sin of the priest brings guilt onto the entire community. A special sacrificial offering is prescribed to heal the breach.
It’s perhaps a little strange to think that my relationship with God, or with any other person, could be affected by the actions of a third party. Yet, when it comes to persons, that is the way things work.
Rightly or wrongly, for good or for ill, my relationships with other people are affected by the behavior and reputation of my family – my father and mother, my siblings, my wife and my children and even my friends. They all serve as a kind of mirror or reflection of who I am.
“Known by the company I keep”, the saying goes. There is a presumed knowing by association. Human persons do this.
My sins – even my inconsequential, inadvertent, venial, sins of omission – impact my family and friends.
So think about reputation. This also is love.
“A good name is more desirable than great riches, and high esteem, than gold and silver.” Prov 22:1
Touching the head of the sacrifice as it is being slaughtered. It’s hard to touch something that’s alive without knowing that its alive. It’s an almost innate ability that we have, to recognize the difference between that which is alive and that which isn’t.
At the mortuary, no amount of makeup can overcome the symptoms of death. The spirit of life is clearly not there.
Life is just that manifest. We have the intuitive sense of it.
Life and Death.
It is written that the spirit of God animates us; that in Him we live and move and have our being.
Thomas Merton once visited Louisville and marveled that all of the people there were shining – yet none of them seemed to know it.
The difference between life and death is the spirit of God.
If you want to see God, then look closely and see Him in the living face of another.
The medium of all relationship is shared experience.
Perhaps it could be said that all of our experiences are, in a way, shared with the Lord. No argument.
But it seems safe to say that most of our experiences are not done for the exclusive purpose of relating to the Lord. There is too much earthly stuff in our days.
So a shared experience, a holy experience – that seems to be the issue.
Food. A meal. A shared, covenantal meal.
He said, “Do not come empty-handed”.
Is the shared experience real or a symbol? It’s kind of funny but from this perspective, the question seems to have lost merit.
I will praise you Lord, and share in the sacrifice of your covenant.
“…through the blood of Jesus we have the confidence of entrance into the sanctuary..” Heb 10:19
Provision and the giving back.
The priests receive the grain offerings and burn a token on the altar, the rest is for them to consume.
It is about community and provision. The other tribes have the land, but the sons of Aaron have the ministry of the Lord as their portion.
The authentic community provides for everyone.
The authentic community provides for everyone.
All who believed were together and had all things in common… Acts 2:44
The work of sacrifice is grisly. Flesh and blood, cut and torn, and blood spilled out on the ground, then burned in a fire. The lines of people from all over Israel, waiting to participate with their offering of sacrifice. Who are these people? It is so foreign to my experience.
A good and creative God. The utter destruction and sacrificial loss of life. “God hates sin this much…” I still can’t reconcile it in my mind.
I get my meat from a factory where, as far as I know, nothing grisly ever happens. Meat from the grocery store, pink and fresh and clean.
“Where does this meat come from dad?” Not wanting to wreck a three year old appetite, or deal with the reality of death leading to life I say, “Don’t worry about it – just enjoy it.”
Why can’t I just say – “death to life.” Because it wasn’t always meant to be this way?
Fortunate fall? Isn’t that a little too convenient?
And yet, He came. He was beaten and bruised and slaughtered. And somehow this saves me. And somehow love overcomes death. And somehow grisly death leads to life.
…By His wounds we are healed Isa 53:5
The cloud and the fire of God’s glory descend upon the tabernacle and tent of meeting.
What a strange moment. The children of Israel had these things made of gold, silver and other materials – which were valuable but ordinary, which they donate for the construction of the tabernacle. And now that very same material has become a part of the dwelling place of God.
That which once hung on the ears or wrists of a young woman, was now a part of the ark of the covenant. Ordinary material has become extraordinary. Holy.
Did she say to herself, “The thing I once touched every day and thought little of it, now is beyond my touch and is vested with glory. It has become part of the throne of God.”?
We rise. This ordinary day of yours has all this possibility.
Moses conducts the original setup of the tabernacle and tent of meeting personally.
The freedom to act is motivated by value. When Moses took initiative to personally setup the tabernacle and court, he was motivated to serve both the people and God.
The value was the assurance that God would receive the work of his hands – that He would be pleased. Another value was that the Israelite, and especially the priests, would have a living pattern to work from, an example to reference, as they subsequently began to participate in the priestly work.
Today, as you do what you do, execute as though what you are doing is unto the Lord.
Moses accepts the works of the tabernacle from Bezalel and prepares to begin the sacrificial system under Aaron the priest.
It’s a curious distinction how specific and detailed the commissioning of the tabernacle was compared to the sloppy way the children of Israel attempted to start their own religion with the golden calf.
The freedom to love another is dependent on my ability to recognize what things look like from the other person’s perspective. If it’s really good, then it’s probably specific – and likely not primarily about my convenience.
Deliberately, focused attention for the good of the other.
“How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life…”
The Breast piece is sometimes described as the Breast piece of Judgement or the Breast piece of Decision.
The idea of mediation combines representation and communication. An individual person might approach God in praise and devotion. Each might approach God making known individual petitions on their own, anywhere.
But the community was represented and communicated with God through the high priest.
The authentic community is built on this coalescing phenomena – the one from the many bound together in relationship with God and mediated by the high priest.
Scale, in the modern sense, and love in the eternal sense.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. Heb 4:14