Our passage presents to us a series of contrasts. Things we’ve read of before in Exodus are now very different. And within our text, there is a contrast between the people of Israel, the object of God’s wrath, and Moses, the man of God’s friendship. So the passage shines a light on what sin does, and what it does to the humankind’s relationship with their Creator.
Our text today continues to look at the consequences of Israel’s sin. Sin is not pretty. It never is. Even for us believers, God may forgive our sin, but there often remain consequences for our sins in this life. Sin brings about a great deal of suffering, even for those of us who are Christians. We may make one mistake in haste or poor judgment, and that sin will cost us for years and years. This morning, the Scriptures continue to teach us about the ugliness of sin.
The scene for our text today moves back up to the top of the mountain, where Moses and God have been meeting over the past several days. Here the Lord informs Moses as to what’s happened. God speaks, and he reveals his own judgment about what Israel has done. Then Moses responds. At root, this passage is about God’s view of sin and the character and efficacy of Moses as intercessor.
There are two big ideas in Exodus 31. First, the gracious aid God gives his people to do his work. He helps them build his tabernacle. Second, Israel must be like Yahweh in resting after their work. But what Exodus 31 also shows is that Israel’s work in the sanctuary is much like God’s creation of Eden long ago.
The sermon is concerned with the rest of chapter 29. Its themes can divided up into three sections: God’s command about the length of the consecration ceremony; God’s command about the daily offerings; and a summary statement about God’s great purpose for the sanctuary. What we read here is God’s way of him graciously providing a way for him to dwell with Israel.
The purpose of the consecration is that Aaron and his sons may serve me as priests. If you are going to be in God’s tent, in the tent of the King of all the earth, in the Creator who dwelt in holy Eden, you must first be holy. This ceremony will consecrate these men for such a significant task in the symbolic and representative way that god reveals here in these verses. The intention this morning is first to explain the ordination of the priests so that we understand what is going on here, and then draw out the most significant parts of this revelation for our edification.
This is the third message of several sermons on the high priests of Yahweh, who served him in his sanctuary. These passages are vital to understanding of true religion, for our Lord Jesus himself is a priest. If we’re going to understand his ministry to us, we need to understand the priests. Part of the priestly ministry is revealed in the priests’ garments. Let’s continue considering the high priest and his ministry this morning together.