Some things are appropriate to venerate.

Exodus 39:1-7 (ESV)

From the blue and purple and scarlet yarns they made finely woven garments, for ministering in the Holy Place. They made the holy garments for Aaron, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

He made the ephod of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. And they hammered out gold leaf, and he cut it into threads to work into the blue and purple and the scarlet yarns, and into the fine twined linen, in skilled design. They made for the ephod attaching shoulder pieces, joined to it at its two edges. And the skillfully woven band on it was of one piece with it and made like it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

They made the onyx stones, enclosed in settings of gold filigree, and engraved like the engravings of a signet, according to the names of the sons of Israel. And he set them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod to be stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

This adds one detail to the description in Exodus 28 – how they make the gold threads. They hammer out and slice up gold leaf. This is the same kind of gold leaf used to overlay the table in Exodus 37:11. It’s an incredibly fragile material that’s made by hammering sheets of gold between layers of animal hide.

Cutting and weaving these solid gold threads requires extraordinary skill. Making clothing this way is an immense challenge.

And that’s just the point. The ephod is totally impractical. Just putting it on is frightening – one fall or snag and it’s damaged. Repairs can’t be done by just anyone. Like everything else associated with the priesthood, honor is coupled with intimidation.

The ephod is almost as precious as its function.

Nowadays, we don’t have anything like that – something so holy we’re afraid to even touch it. Given the human tendency for idolatry, something like that would be a problem anyway. We already excessively venerate ancient objects, such as the tons of pieces of the cross on display around the world.

Conversely, we often treat the things of God as if they are common. The one truly holy thing we should venerate is the word of God – the Bible. I don’t mean the paper and binding that you hold in your hands; I mean the words.

As you consider today’s passage, ponder the long and winding road of how those words got to you. Praise God for creating, inspiring and protecting the many saints who wrote, copied and translated it.

Every Christian should read the whole Bible straight through at least once.

Imagine trying to copy the whole Bible straight through.

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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.