Sunday, March 6, 2011

Exodus 29 - Consecration of the Priests and Observation Study Tool

LINK: Exodus 29

Every now and then, I will talk about study tools that will help you read your Bible for all it is worth! Today's tool is . . .


OBSERVATON


"The purpose of observation is to 
saturate yourself thoroughly 
with the content of a passage. 
Like a sponge you should absorb 
everything that is before you." 
Orletta Wald

Observation is the KEY to good interpretation and application of Scripture, but it is often the most neglected part of study. It is the act of seeing: taking notice of things as they really are. Accurate observations are the result of reading with diligence, purposefulness, thoughtfulness, and inquiry. Reading until the word jogs the mind and heart requires quality time. Setting that quality time aside in your schedule is worth it! Reading and rereading a passage is a great way to see things more clearly.

Observation Steps as you read and reread:

1) PRAY meditatively verse-by-verse -- listening to the Lord and asking for His insight throughout the observations. Ask God to "Establish His word to His servant (you) as that which produces reverence for Him" (Psalm 119:38). As you read and pray, it is helpful to journal too.

2) Look for KEY WORDS and PHRASES - What words or phrases cannot be removed from the text without leaving it devoid of meaning? These words or phrases are often repeated and will jump out at you. They will be obvious. It is helpful to make a list of key words in your journal or mark these words in your Bible with different colors or symbols.

In Exodus 29, key words and phrases were:


  • Consecrate
  • Blood
  • Soothing aroma
  • That I might dwell
  • They shall know the I am the LORD their God (this last phrase is repeated throughout Old Testament)


3) Ask "W" Questions of the text - Pretend you are a reporter "interviewing" the text by asking who, what, when, where, why, and how (the W is at the end in this one!) questions.

As I meditated on Exodus 29 this morning, I journaled this list of questions:

  • What does consecration really mean?
  • Why did the flesh of the bull go outside of the camp? What was the significance of this?
  • What is a sin offering, wave offering, heave offering, peace offering? 
  • How was it a "soothing aroma"?
  • Why is the flesh of the ram boiled and eaten and other parts not?
  • Where is the doorway of the tent of meeting?
  • What does "It shall be consecrated by my glory" mean?

Next, I will go and try to find the answer to these questions in the interpretation step of my study, but we will wait until next week to talk about that step!

Here is a downloadable document I created with all the tools.

BACKGROUND

This chapter includes God's instructions to Moses so that he could install the priests for service. Aaron was to be given the high-priestly garment described in the previous chapter and oil was to be anointed on his head, this would set him apart by God for special service. Sacrifices were to be made after this for all the priests. The hands were laid on the animals' heads (29:10, 15, 19) signifying identification. They identified with the animals that died in their places. They were acknowledging their own sinfulness and need for blood cleansing (Hebrews 9:22).

The flesh of the bull was burned outside the camp (Hebrews 13:11-13). We will talk more about all the different kinds of offerings when we get to Leviticus.

The ram's blood was to be placed on the right ears, right thumbs, and right big toe of the foot of the priests. This signified that they were cleansed and dedicated to God. The "why" behind the placement of the blood is varied. Some commentators believe that "Blood on the ear may have symbolized dedication to the hearing of God's Word, blood on the thumb may have pictured holiness in doing God's work, and blood on the toe may have spoken of walking carefully in the service of God" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary by Walvoord and Zuck, p. 153).

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

These daily offerings were to be "a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD" (29:18, 25, and 41). Christ "gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma" (Ephesians 5:2).

REFLECTION
The tabernacle represented God come to dwell among men and women, the beacon of God's presence among His people. In addition, the priest's role was to act as a go-between, a bridge-builder, someone who could stand on behalf of sinful mankind before a holy God.  
In the New Testament there is a beautiful blending of these two themes. Where does God dwell today? He continues to dwell among people. How has He seen fit to do this? By indwelling those who have turned their lives over to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19). And whom has He called to be priests today, bringing sinful people back to their holy God? The very ones He indwells (1 Peter 2:9). You are both the tabernacle God indwells and the priest God empowers to call men and women back to Himself.
If God were to give you the privilege of building a "gospel bridge" into someone's life today, would you be willing? 
(The Daily Walk: January 2008, p. 33)
APPLICATION


We are a fragrance of Christ to God 
among those who are being saved and 
among those who are perishing.
(2 Corinthians 2:15)

Are you willing to be that fragrance to those around you today? Pray for opportunities to "smell" for Jesus today!

PRAYER

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Sanctuary for You

It is you, Lord
Who came to save
The heart and soul
Of every man
It is you Lord
who knows my weakness
Who gives me strength,
With thine own hand.

Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and Holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving I'll be a living
Sanctuary for you

Lead Me on Lord
From temptation
Purify me
From within
Fill my heart with
Your Holy Spirit
Take away all my sin

Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Sanctuary for You 
(song by Jaci Valasquez)
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