Count the cost.

Exodus 39:22-31 (ESV)

He also made the robe of the ephod woven all of blue, and the opening of the robe in it was like the opening in a garment, with a binding around the opening, so that it might not tear. On the hem of the robe they made pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. They also made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates all around the hem of the robe, between the pomegranates—a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate around the hem of the robe for ministering, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

They also made the coats, woven of fine linen, for Aaron and his sons, and the turban of fine linen, and the caps of fine linen, and the linen undergarments of fine twined linen, and the sash of fine twined linen and of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, embroidered with needlework, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, “Holy to the LORD.” And they tied to it a cord of blue to fasten it on the turban above, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

The priest’s crown is unlike a king’s crown. It’s an engraved gold plate tied to a turban. The crown isn’t designed to impress people. In fact, it’s just the opposite. “Holy to the LORD” denotes servitude.

The key is the word “holy,” which is difficult to define briefly. Holy doesn’t so much mean “good” or “righteous” as it means “separate” or “set apart.” When referring to God or Angels, the closest synonym might be “other.” The holiness of things in the heavenly realm refers to their not being of this world. They are completely “other.”

But when something of this world is called holy, it means that it is set apart, dedicated, consecrated. Since it cannot be fully “other” the way things in the heavenly realm are, it’s pulled in that direction as much as possible by setting it apart for heavenly purposes. That’s what the crown says.

Don’t miss the dreadful cost of this. Setting something apart to the LORD means abandoning its value to this world. The worldly value of the Sabbath is lost; you get nothing “done.” When a sacrifice is given wholly to the LORD, it is burnt to a crisp. When a child is given to the LORD, that’s all the child will be.

And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” – 1 Samuel 1:11 (ESV)

Christians should take this as a cold, in your face, challenge. Christ died to make us holy, but we hesitate to fully embrace what that means. Sure, most of us are called locally – to minister to our neighbors – but if you claim to be willing to do anything, you should be ready to do anything. Count the cost.

Don’t pray for God to tell you what your assignment is; ask Him to make you ready.

The weekly study guides, which include all six devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

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.