Today the Lord gives very specific instructions for the seven day process of consecrating the priests. As part of the ritual, the priests are to have the blood of a slaughtered animal placed on the right ear, right thumb, and right toe. Commentaries say that the blood on the ear covers the priest for the hearing of His word, the blood on the thumb covers the priest for the labor for the Lord, and the blood on the toe covers the priest for walking in His ways.
After the consecration of the priests, the priests are to continue offering daily sacrifices, morning and evening – “This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you… I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them.”
God also gives instructions for building the incense altar – “And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the Testimony, where I will meet with you.” The Lord says Aaron should burn incense every morning and evening as a “perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” The altar of incense also symbolizes the prayers from the children of God. When we enter the Kingdom Era, King David is going to cry out to the Lord – “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalms 141:2). At the end of the story, in the End Times/ New Beginnings Era, John will write about a vision of heaven he receives from the Lord where Jesus, the Lamb, is being worshiped – “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8, 8:3). The altar of incense is also where, once a year on the Day of Atonement, Aaron is to anoint the horns of the altar of incense with blood from the atoning sacrifice. We will read more about the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16. The Lord goes on to say that you shall not offer strange incense on the incense altar. Soon in the story, Aaron’s sons are going to disobey God by offering profane incense, resulting in a disastrous outcome.
After the Lord gives Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle, we read that the Lord has also gifted certain people to complete the task. The Lord says, “I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” So the Lord not only gives us works to complete, He also gives us all that we need to complete those works.
The last instruction He gives today regards the Sabbath – “Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” Soon in the story, someone is going to disobey this instruction as well, also resulting in a disastrous outcome. And later in the story, the Pharisees are going to turn this day of intended rest for the people into an overwhelming burden for the people with their extra laws. So Jesus will rebuke the Pharisees saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Jesus knows that God’s laws are intended to help His people and point them to their need for a Savior, not burden them.
The reading ends with the Lord giving the tablets of Testimony to Moses – “And when He has made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.” But what were the people doing while Moses was on the mountain? We will find out tomorrow, so keep reading. (Exodus 29:1-31:18)