“Your brother, Aaron, and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, will be set apart from the common people. They will be my priests and will minister to me. Make special clothing for Aaron to show his separation to God—beautiful garments that will lend dignity to his work.” — Exodus 28:1-2
“All dressed up and nowhere to go” was William Allen White’s sardonic comment on the demise of the Progressive Party when, in 1916, Theodore Roosevelt withdrew from the presidential campaign. Cinderella, of course, had the opposite problem—all ready to go and nothing to wear.
The high priest of Israel had neither problem, because he was given strict and detailed instructions about the clothing he was required to wear whenever he went about his priestly duties. The priests were “set apart from the common people” and their task was to minister to the Lord (Exodus 28:1). The “special clothing” made for Aaron, the high priest, was designed “to show his separation to God—beautiful garments that will lend dignity to his work” (28:2). There was to be no mistake about Aaron’s identity or the dignity of his office. He was God’s man, and his appearance and deportment were to reflect his unique status as the one who represented man to God and God to man. The common man, on seeing the resplendent high priest, would immediately recognize something of the grandeur of the Lord he served.
The ephod (28:6) and the chestpiece (28:15) both bore precious gemstones on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. As the high priest, specially dressed for the occasion, entered the presence of the Lord in the Most Holy Place, the Lord was “reminded” (28:29) of his people. Inside the chestpiece were placed two mysterious objects called Urim and Thummim that were “used to determine the Lord’s will for his people” (28:30).
In actuality, the Lord did not need to be reminded of the needs of His people. He was present among them as they traveled through the wilderness, but the ornamental stones served as a reminder to Aaron, as he dressed, that the Lord was not forgetful of His people. And as Aaron appeared before the Lord, symbolically bearing the weight of the people on his shoulders and over his heart, he was taking this burden to the Lord. As the Urim and Thummim were brought into play, there was a powerful statement of dependency upon the Lord and desire to know and do His will.
Aaron was all dressed up and he had somewhere to go—and something special to do! So do all modern people who profess the name of Christ. They represent Him by their deportment and behavior. They bring before the Lord the names of those in need and they constantly seek His guidance as they minister to others. Such activities will serve to “lend dignity to their work” (28:1).
For further study: Exodus 28:1-30
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.