Summary: Eight new cadets join us this year. Six are currently resident in Fiji and at the Training college, two are learning online from Tonga with the hope that they will join us soon in Fiji. This message is a re-work on one that I had previously delivered as part of a series.
Reflectors of Holiness, welcome message.
There are times in our lives when we feel alone, other times when we know that we are part of community, family something bigger than ourselves. There are also if we are in step with him that we know we have a closeness to God that is undeniable. Those times when his Spirit is felt like an anointing or even such a sense of his presence that results in elation. I was once with some men who wanted to give their lives to Christ and after we prayed for them and had them confess their belief in the Romans 10:9-10 format, quoted, one of them went outside for a smoke. He came back up the stair’s ecstatic. This man had been a drug addict and had a few mental health issues left over from that time, he spoke, “Man this is the best high I’ve ever had, if the medical people knew I was feeling like this they would lock me up.” It took a bit of explaining what was happening to him, but he left with a sense of relief in knowing God’s presence with him and that he had gained salvation through God’s grace and now had the deposit of eternal life with him.
Knowing and being in God’s presence is the most wonderful and valuable thing.
After the tabernacles, Holy place and the Holy of Holies were made. Bezelel the man in charge of the whole project; who I will refer to as the Construction Manager who was filled with the Holy Spirit for the purpose of building the tabernacle. After this, two other things were built in the courtyard, reading from Exodus 38: 1-9.
So what were these things for?
Before the priests could go past the courtyard into the holy place they had to do two things they had to make a sacrifice for sins committed, this had to be made on the Altar of Burnt Offering. They didn’t just sacrifice any old huckery ewe or ram this had to be an animal in perfect condition.
Sacrifice means just that; to approach God cost something. Sin is abhorrent to God, and sin had to be dealt with, the sacrifice was for the sin of the person presenting the sacrifice. Sin had to be stripped of its power to condemn. Before Jesus died for all our sins this is how the Hebrew people dealt with their sins.
If however, you were a lamb or a dove the whole process could be extremely costly.
That aside though the people still had to pay for these sacrifices, the cost was out of pocket. People other than priests could also offer a sacrifice on the altar for personal sins.
In regards to the priests once they had made the sacrifice for their sins and the sins of the people they could then approach God; their Holy God, our Holy God. To enter into God’s presence required sacrifice.
There was however another thing that the priest had to do, he had to have a wash!
The symbolism of this is that the second condition of fellowship with God is a cleansed lifestyle.
A big brass washing bowl was made to be in the courtyard, this was called a laver.
An interesting thing about the washing place, this big bowl was that it was made of the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
The mirrors used by ladies back in those days were made of burnished metals, these were about the size of a modern hand mirror that’s that they were highly polished so that the lady using it could see her beauty, assuming that that was the case; reflected in the metal.
How much would it take for a lady to give up her mirror? That might be the million-dollar question. I thought about a show of hands here, but then I thought that there may be a personal danger.
I have asked a group of ladies earlier about this and the answer was that it would be a very hard thing to give up their mirror or in most cases, it would not happen. There was certainly a huge amount of sacrifice made on behalf of those women in the construction of the laver.
This was giving in an uncommon way.
The washing the cleansing then allowed the priest to go into the Holy place. You can imagine him looking into the laver, this big bowl and seeing his reflection, sins sacrificed for of the water, reflecting a face that shone through the light of the burnished metal of many mirrors.
To walk in God’s presence requires sacrifice and cleansing. (SBI) In this case the cleansing was tied to sacrifice.
The sacrifice for our sins is something that has been paid, John the Baptist said these words about Jesus as he saw him coming towards him as recorded in John’s gospel 1:29; “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”