Open Hands

I’m reading Exodus and came to Exodus 29 this morning. I love how digging into God’s word ALWAYS produces knowledge of something new but also a heart conviction. I was coming to a place in the Old Testament where I felt the reading was getting monotonous. I was reading with my hands closed, giving nothing to God, and expecting nothing from Him in this seemingly list-centered, descriptive text. I remembered last year when God revealed so much to me from a similar section in Leviticus so I knew He could do it again, I was just getting in the way. God gently reminded me His Word is rich and it is all used for teaching and correcting and training. 2 Timothy 3:16-17- All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. If I believe the “ALL Scripture”, in this verse then I need to act like it. So I started to STUDY, not just read. I began to look at the notes and the margin and used reference books so I could open my hands and offer God my time and energy and open heart and in turn He delivered a beautiful message.

Exodus 29 describes the ordination and consecration of the Levites to priesthood, starting with Aaron and his sons. It is a beautiful and impressive ceremony that they went through to prepare for meeting with God. We no longer have to do those rituals on the outside to go to Him and spend time with Him but it symbolizes the inward preparedness we must do that God desires of His people when we come to Him in prayer, meditation, worship, or reading His Word. EXCLAMATION POINT,  EXCLAMATION POINT!! The very reason I wasn’t getting anything out of the text earlier is because I wasn’t properly preparing, and the first thing God shows me when I saw I needed to get my heart right was HOW to get my heart right. Matthew 7:8 – For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 1 John 5:14-15 – This is the confidence that we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

This is what I learned, and the steps I must take to prepare myself.

1. They were cleansed. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. Exodus 29:4. They were a part of the Old Covenant and had to be washed clean before entering the presence of God. We also must draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22. This shows us the first step also in drawing near to Him, cleanse our hearts! I need to be sincere when I go to His Word, not just reading to get through Exodus. I need to have full assurance that His Word is good, all of it, and He WILL show me something each time if I go to Him prepared and clean.

2. They were clothed. And put on Aaron the tunic and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod; Exodus 29:4. What should I put on before I start my day with the Lord? But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Romans 13:14. Am I more worried about having my coffee and a comfortable chair and the perfect amount of sleep before I get up? Sometimes I am. Having a special place for that time is important, being awake and ready is important, but more than that is the time I NEED to spend with him. So if those things aren’t in place, I still must go. For me, I can use excuses, usually that involve my comfort being taken away, and I will put those before Him. I want to go to God fully dressed in what He says is important for my ultimate good and comfort, eternity with Him. This is a daily battle against the world and distractions and “stuff” in my home but if I can wake up each morning and put on the breastplate of righteousness as the Levite priests put on their breastpiece, then I know my time with God will be rich

3. They were anointed. Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. Exodus 29:7. They were anointed for God’s purposes; this symbolized the spiritual enduement needed for serving God. They were provided and endowed with the spirit. We are anointed with the Holy Spirit at salvation. But we are continually receiving the filling of the Spirit as a result of obedience and being open to God and His teaching given to us in the Bible. When I go to God each morning I need to be relying on the Holy Spirit to direct and show me and illuminate His Word by believing in Christ and the Word of God as truth. If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” John 7:37-39.

4. They brought a sacrifice. Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. Exodus 29:10. Later in verse 14 we are told this is the sin offering. To me this is the most beautiful part of the ceremony. Laying their hands on the head of the bull symbolized the animal becoming their substitute, transferring their sins to the sin bearer. What a beautiful picture of what Christ did and continues to do for us. When I go to God in the morning, I need to confess and lay my sin down. I need to let Christ do His work, put on the righteousness given to me by Christ, take the forgiveness given to me and with a clean heart go to His Word. I need to repent with God-centered sorrow, not worldly sorrow and guilt. I need to prepare myself by first letting go of anything in my heart that can get in the way of being led by the Spirit while I am reading God’s Word. He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13.

5. They put blood on their right ear. You shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aarons’ right ear and on the lobes’ of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toe of their right feet…” Exodus 29:20. Putting the blood on their ear was a symbol of their sensitivity to God and His Word. They were set apart to be used by God and know His Word. Just as we Christians are today. God’s Word doesn’t make sense to non believers. We have been given a sensitivity and understanding to it. What a gift! I want to use that, not waste it. My morning time with God in His Word should be full of thanksgiving and praise that I have been given this gift, by His grace, to study His Word. The Levite priest also then put blood on their hands and feet. This symbolized a life of service to others on God’s behalf. Whatever God shows me in scripture, whatever gift He has given me in the body of Christ, I then need to go out and use it. Use it to give an encouraging word to someone from scripture, use it to point someone to what the Bible says in regards to a trial, or use it like now, to share the wonderful and faithful way God will provide for us when we seek His knowledge and wisdom.

What an awesome God we serve, that He would once again open my eyes to understanding and open up a part of His Word to me that I wasn’t gleaning anything from, due to my heart not being right. Oh that I would remember this, and make sure every morning I go to him, cleansed, dressed in Christ’s righteousness, filled with the Holy Spirit, laying my sins down, ready to hear from Him, being sensitive to His teaching so that I can be used for one more day to serve my family, to serve my friends, to serve the body of Christ and to serve my King! Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than the choicest gold. Proverbs 8:10.

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