DAY FIFTY-SEVEN : Exodus 39 v. 1 – 40 v. 38; Mark 9 v. 2 – 32; Psalm 26 v. 1 – 12
The Priestly Garments – the multicoloured garments for Aaron and the other ‘ministers’ are created just as God instructed.
The Ephod – the skilled craftsmen made the ephod of gold and multicoloured fabrics, with the engraved onyx stones carved with the names of the sons of Israel, just as God instructed.
The Breastpiece – the skilled craftsmen made the breastpiece of gold and multicoloured fabrics, with its rows of precious stones (twelve to signify the sons of Israel), and its golden chains, just as God instructed.
The Other Priestly Garments – a robe of blue (by the skilled weaver), with its pomegranates and golden bells fitted alternately around its hem, just as God instructed;
there were tunics, turbans, headbands and underclothes, and the gold plate engraved with “HOLY TO THE LORD“, for Aaron and his sons, all created just as God instructed.
Moses Inspects the Tabernacle – all the artifacts, and pieces of the Tabernacle are brought to Moses (quite a list, quite a collection), and Moses confirms that it has all been made just as God instructed, so he blesses all the work.
Setting up the Tabernacle – it’s all set up on the first day of the month, following God’s layout and instructions; then everything is anointed with the oil, to consecrate it (set it apart for its holy work); Aaron and his sons are brought to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, are washed, dressed and anointed, consecrated as priests – “their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue for all generations to come.” – all done just as God instructed.
Moses puts everything in place himself, blessing it as he does, no doubt.
The Glory of the Lord – the cloud covers the Tent of Meeting, God’s glory filled the Tabernacle, so much so that Moses could not enter it;
“In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out – until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels.”
The end of the book of Exodus sees the completion of the Tabernacle (Tent of Meeting), one year after the Israelites left Egypt, and nine months after arriving at Sinai (according to some); significantly the Holy Presence of God (the Glory) which initially covered Mt. Sinai moves to fill the tabernacle – ‘God’s glory moved from an unmoveable mountain to a moveable tent’.
“So every day, we’re on our way, for we’re a travelling, vagabond race – we’re the people of God.”
The Transfiguration – yesterday’s NT reading finished with the promise that some of the disciples would not face death before seeing the Kingdom of God come in power – here, Peter, James and John experience the powerful presence of God, and the Kingdom on the mountain top – Jesus shines with God’s glory, dazzling white (‘whiter than Daz / Persil / even Vanish all put together’), and also Moses and Elijah meet Jesus and talk with Him.
The disciples get their mountain-top experience, and, as God appeared to Moses and Elijah on mountain-tops, Jesus appears in divine glory before their eyes.
Peter wishes to make this encounter last longer, and offers to put up tents for each of them – God’s powerful, holy presence can no longer be merely ‘tented / tabernacled’. Though awestruck and scared, Peter knows it’s ‘good for them to be there’.
God’s voice is heard, again. “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” (similar to the words spoken over Jesus at His baptism).
Jesus tells the disciples not to say a word about that holy encounter, until after His resurrection.
Elijah – just as the scribes believed that Elijah would appear before the Messiah, so Jesus hints that John the Baptist was the Elijah to His own Messiah-ship (it’s Matthew who makes this explicit – 17 v. 13)
Healing the Boy with an evil spirit – Jesus drives the evil spirit out of the boy (who has had this spirit inflict him from a young age), “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” With a shriek and a violent shaking of the boy, the evil spirit flees. Though the boy looks dead, Jesus lifts him up.
The disciples struggle with the feeling that they had been unable to drive out the spirit. They have heard Jesus say to the boy’s father, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” The refrain throughout Holy Scripture is that ‘nothing is impossible with God’. The response of the boy’s father could be ours, today, too :
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
The disciples are taught that ‘prayer’ is the only way to drive out such spirits. Pray, pray, pray.
This time they pass through Galilee, keeping moving, as Jesus wanted quality time with His disciples alone, teaching them over and over again what is to happen to Him (death and resurrection). The disciples are slow to understand and afraid to ask questions.
“Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
for Your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in Your truth.”
“I wash my hands in innocence, and go about Your altar, O Lord….
I love the house where You live, O Lord, the place where Your glory dwells.”