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Exodus 29

July 18, 2018

If you have ever attempted to read the Bible in a year, passages like this tend to bog one down. Most folks do not naturally favor sorting through more than forty verses on sacrifices to consecrate priests. To separate Aaron and his sons for the task, bulls and rams lose their lives becoming offerings to God. Wine becomes poured out on the ground and grain also given to God. 

 

Reading the text can become an exercise in endurance, and here, the one who endures till the end gets the prize.

 

The last two verses read thus:

 

I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They 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.

 

All of the sacrifices to consecrate Aaron and his sons to the priesthood and all of the sacrifices following throughout the generations served the purpose of bringing God to dwell with the people and be their God. The lives lost by these animals provided the people with the knowledge of God, the God who saved them out of Egypt. Through the work of these priests, God would bring his people knowledge of himself.

 

If you have attended an evangelical church for very long, you have probably heard people disparage or at least speak of the inadequacy of knowledge of God versus knowing him (as in relating to him).

 

Do not get hung up on the idea of knowledge of God being a bad thing here. 

 

Anyone who disparages having knowledge of God against knowing him sets up a false dichotomy. Usually one who does this means well, after all, in religion departments in colleges across the Western world, many men and women can explain the orthodox faith to anyone off the street. The problem for these folks is their lack of personal conviction to the truth of any of it and their submission to it. Knowledge of God proves much more than mental assent; however, it is not less than understanding of factual material either. 

 

In a world so flippant as our own, where nothing sacred remains, the bare fact of God’s unapproachability by sinful man stands as a fact one must understand to know God at all. Exodus 29 reveals such a truth to us. How did one of these children of Egypt relate to God? Not by plopping himself down in the Holy of Holies; instead, through the mediating work of the priests, accomplishing atonement for the people in the presence of God. They came to God on his own terms, not their own. 

 

Notice that coming to God on his terms does not mean one cannot come to God at all. Every one of the ordinances and instructions contained in the Pentateuch served to bring God’s people closer, not push them away. The sacrifices made by the priests serve to make atonement. The English word our translations use means to bring two things together in harmony. To make them “at-one” with each other.[1]

 

In the new covenant, we no longer perform these sacrifices. Instead, we rely on the sacrifice of Christ. Often, we allow ourselves to grow used to the idea of his blood poured out for us. We sacrifice no more due to the finality of Christ’s sacrifice. His own life given to bring God’s people near to him needs no repetition or supplement. Reflect on the shear number and precision of the sacrifices prescribed in Exodus 29 and recapture how great this chapter alone makes the sacrifice of Jesus’s life, that it could replace each and every one of these, bringing final atonement for the sin of God’s people, uniting him to them.

 

[1]"Atone." Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed July 17, 2018. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atone.

 

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