Uniform Practicality

and impracticality.

Exodus 28:1-5 (ESV)

“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron's garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.”

These are uniforms!

They seem to be the earliest uniforms in human history. They predate by over a thousand years the terracotta army that was buried with the first emperor of China. The terracotta soldiers weren’t dressed exactly the same anyway. There is no evidence of any other uniforms near the time of the Exodus.

These uniforms have one purpose – holiness. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. These uniforms are not designed to be warm, or comfortable, or waterproof. They might be all of those things too, but that’s just a happy coincidence.

These uniforms are to separate the priests who serve in the tabernacle from everyone else. In a sense, these uniforms provide an extra layer of security. God doesn’t want just anyone wandering in to the tabernacle. These uniforms make it obvious who belongs and who doesn’t. That’s why they are made of the same material as the tabernacle.

We keep coming back to the same basic theme – God designs how He will be worshipped. That design is for His purposes, not ours. If He wants us to worship Him by standing on our heads, He would say so.

Fortunately, He doesn’t specify anything that impractical. Still, worship isn’t designed for practicality.

Many holy things are impractical. Turning the other cheek is impractical. Grace is impractical. Loving your enemies is impractical. Jesus dying for our sins is impractical.

If God was practical, we’d be in a whole lot of trouble.

Kingdom priorities aren’t always practical, but the other extreme can be worse. We’re not called to be stupid. How can we know when God wants us to be impractical?

Ask! If God wants you to do something unusual, He won’t just drop subtle hints. Ask the LORD to clearly show you what His will for you is.

If His reply scares you or confuses you, it’s OK to ask for a confirming sign. Gideon did.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.