Instructions for the Priestly Garments

Open Your Bible

Exodus 28:1-43, Ezekiel 44:15-19, Ezekiel 44:23-29, Psalm 29:2, 1 Peter 2:4-5

To this day my grandmother still puts out the Christmas throw pillows that I made for her when I was a kid. When my mom taught me how to use the sewing machine, everyone got a pillow because it was the only thing I could make. Sew four straight lines; add batting; adorn with sparkly puff paint. Done. I was very proud. Alas, that’s about where my sewing prowess ended. 

I don’t think anything I produced was much in the way of either glory or beauty. But it was made with enthusiasm and enough nearly-straight seams to hold it together. 

The skilled artisans called on in Exodus 28 not only had skill, but a spirit of wisdom given by God. Needless to say, these weren’t any old clothes they were tasked to make.

But why did it even matter what the priests wore? After all, God doesn’t care what packaging we wrap ourselves in. He sees the heart, not the outer trappings. Here, God’s holy, set-apart people were represented with these holy, set-apart garments.

Every piece of the priests’ garments had a specific purpose. The ephod was made to carry the names of the tribes of Israel before the Lord. The breastpiece was designed to help the priest make decisions as he carried the twelve tribes symbolically over his heart. The robe would be lined with bells, so the priest could be heard at all times, and retrieved if he died in God’s presence. The turban, worn on the head, was to represent an offering “HOLY TO THE LORD” (Exodus 28:36) for the sins of all of Israel. Every thread and stitch was designed for a reason—for glory and for beauty. 

What a beautiful example of what it means to bring God our very best. Not because He needs it. Not because He wants to see us all dressed up. It’s because the priests putting on these garments was a physical act of “ascrib[ing] to the LORD the glory due his name” (Psalm 29:2). Theirs was a high and holy calling, and everything from their head down to their toes was supposed to reflect that. The splendor of these garments wasn’t to glorify the priests. They pointed to God’s glory and God’s beauty. 

The problem occurs when we take God-given gifts that are supposed to point us to Him and use them to shine a spotlight on ourselves. We’ve adorned ourselves with the gifts and glory that were never ours to begin with. We’ve longed to be beautiful to the world instead of reflecting back to God His own beauty that He put within us. 

Those homemade pillows don’t still have a place of prominence because of their intrinsic beauty. My grandmother loves the one who made them. They point to another. So too, did the beautiful and intricately crafted priestly garments lift the eyes of Israel to another—the most glorious and beautiful One Himself. 

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28 thoughts on "Instructions for the Priestly Garments"

  1. Angelica Baldwin says:

    “The problem comes when we take the God-given gifts that are suppose to point us to Him and use them tonshine a spotlight on ourselves” whew!!! That was a check, its a reminder that we need daily to deny our flesh and give all the glory and honor and praise to the one who created it all. The gifts we have arent possible without Jesus.

  2. Anita J says:


  3. J Lynn says:

    I love Lindsey’s devotional for this day! Just like her grandma displayed the pillows she made, I too display pillows that my children made in sewing class, along with their artwork from school framed on my walls, I wear every beaded bracelet that they made for me when they were younger, everyday I wear the heart necklace that my son bought for me all by himself for Mother’s Day when he was 15…. My kids are not Picasso, however, their artwork and gifts are priceless to me, because they remind me of my kids… my loves! So now I will look at priestly garments in the same way; they are fancy, not to make the priests look more prestigious, but to honor God!! ❤️

  4. Terri Baldwin says:

    All for the glory and beauty of God ! “Gods Holy set apart people were represented with these Holy set apart garnets”

  5. Erica Chiarelli says:

    It’s all for His glory and beauty, to make Him famous and give Him all He is due!

  6. Claire B says:

    This description of the care and grandeur of the priestly garments must be why parents were so meticulous about how were dressed to attend the Lord’s house.
    I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s in the Deep South. Every Saturday night for at least 10 years my hair was washed and put in pink spongy curlers or pin curls for Sunday morning. Then on Sunday we dressed in our “Sunday” clothes, white socks with lace and either white or black Mary Janes depending on the season. By the 70’s it was a bit more relaxed but not much. Still had Sunday clothes.

  7. Brittany Carbone says:

    What a lesson to read today! I’ve been struggling with body image issues, almost 9 months post partum. Wanting to look how I used to before my daughter. But God doesn’t care about that, he wants me to raise up my baby girl to know him and love him. And he wants me to love on her, and be the best mom I can be. And I don’t have to look how I did before baby to do that. Such a good reminder.

  8. Lizzie Streets says:

    I loved this leson

  9. Ashley Skinner says:

    I’m struggling with the app too. It keeps shutting down and has been the last week or so. Making it tough to read!

  10. Dorothy says:

    In my study Bible it says this about “the Urim and the Thummim — The Urim and the Thummim were used by the priest to make decisions. These names mean “Curses” and “Perfections” and refer to the nature of God whose will the revealed. They were kept in a pocket and taken out or shaken out to get either a yes or no decision.” How different that would be to have a decision decided on just two stones or whatever they were? I am soooo grateful God sent Christ to die for my sins so my fate does not have to be decided this way any longer.
    Sisters be blessed and share your God-given talent with the world.

  11. Donna Wolcott says:

    Amen Debbie!

  12. Debbie Palmer says:

    Today’s reading reminds me of Colossians 3:12…that when we dress ourselves properly we reflect God. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

  13. Traci Gendron says:

    “We’ve longed to be beautiful to the world instead of reflecting back to God His own beauty that He put within us.” Speaks volumes about the world today.

    God help me to always reflect back to you!

  14. Jordyn C says:

    23 They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. – Ezekiel 44:23 This verse stood out to me, I’m praying that I would be wise and live out the difference between holy and common. Common in my mind isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t as good as holy, which is what the Lord wants for me.

  15. Jordyn C says:

    23 They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. – Ezekiel 44:23

  16. Aimee D-R says:

    Father let my life and gifts glorify you. And forgive me when I don’t…

  17. Maria Baer says:

    “We’ve adorned ourselves with the gifts and glory that we’re never ours to begin with.” Ooph— this is convicting in a way I need it to be. I am guilty of forgetting this some times, not even on purpose. But there it is. And we need to continue to reflect on how in everything we do, we point to God.

  18. Michelle Patire says:

    There are so many details in this passage!

    When I was reading Exodus 28:38, I thought of Revelation 22:4 NKJV: “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” Our unrighteousness replaced with His righteousness. It is amazing. I love that they Lord instructs a hem for the tunic so it won’t tear and a band for the breastplate so it stays put on the ephod. All these details matter because the garment is holy to the Lord.

    I thank You Lord for Your word. It delights my soul. May we Shes and Hes stay near to You and be holy as You are holy.

  19. Erin Eason says:

    Amazing how reading a passage all about the garments can make so much sense after the devotion. I thought holding the 12 names over the heart was absolutely beautiful

  20. Angie Mills says:

    As believers and followers of Christ Jesus, we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Revelation 19:7-8). His righteousness makes us glorious and beautiful (Revelation 21:9-27). This is not only true of each individual believer, but it is even more true of the collection of believers from all times and all places, the Body of Christ, the church. Therefore, as God’s people, clothed with Christ’s righteousness, and part of His Body the Church, we are His priests representing Him to others and representing others to Him. We are imitating Jesus in this role. It is important to remember that like Aaron and the other priests throughout the Bible, and like Jesus (our Great High Priest), we are to:
    -Glorify God by showing forth the beauty of His righteousness and holiness (Exodus 28:2)
    -Intercede for others by carrying them to Jesus, reminding Him of them and their needs (Exodus 28:6-12)
    -Use discernment in making wise decisions, using God’s Word as our foundation and praying to God for the gifts of wisdom and discernment (Exodus 28:29-30)
    -Make noise as we minister: keep doing the work that God has called us to do and continue to pray faithfully and persistently concerning that work (Exodus 28:35)
    -Remember that we are holy to the Lord because of Christ’s sacrifice and that we are therefore called to be holy (Exodus 28:36-38)
    -Serve God and others (Ezekiel 44:15)
    -Teach people the difference between holy and the common, clean and the unclean (Ezekiel 44:23)

  21. Kenya Rafferty says:

    Cassidy – I am starting my 8th year teaching this year! It’s definitely a gift I feel we are given and I pray we can both use it for His glory.

  22. Heidi says:

    CASSIDY- thank you for investing Gods love into our children… praying for you today.
    Praying Ex 28:3- You are to instruct all the skilled artisans, whom I have filled with a spirit of wisdom…” You have already done the work to become SKILLED- now praying you to be filled with His Spirit of wisdom so that your skill can be magnified and used in a holy way to share His beauty to those you teach today… ❤️

  23. Kenya Rafferty says:

    We have to remember that like the Israelites, all that we have is a gift from God, just like the precious materials the Israelites were to use for the priestly clothing. He allowed them to be plundered from the Egyptians and not for the wealth of the people, but for His Glory and Beauty. Do I use the gifts he has given me in that way? Or do I think they are all just for myself?

  24. Angie Mills says:

    @MICHELLE BAUER — There have been devotionals. I have been having so many issues with the app that I just gave up using it altogether. I have been reading the devotions online. The website is much more stable than the app.

  25. Michelle Bauer says:

    Is there no devotional for the past 2 days? I am not able to see them.

  26. Kathy says:

    Good morning. This devotion so resonated with me. I am an artist and a high school art teacher. I have always been thankful for the gifts and abilities God has given me, but I haven’t always used them for His glory and His beauty. This is a beautiful reminder of why I create and why I teach.
    I start my 23rd year of teaching today (in-service, kids don’t come until Aug. 10). My prayer is that God will use my artistic abilities and my teaching abilities, that He has given me, to reflect back to Him and to others His glory and His beauty.
    Praying for all of the teachers going back to school. We’ve got this because we have a God who sees, Who hears, and Who loves us beyond measure.

  27. Cassidy says:

    Good morning! I hope everyone has a wonderful day. Prayers for me as I have my first day of school today – this is my 4th year teaching. I pray to use any gifts the Lord gave me to serve others and glorify him, rather than to make myself look beautiful for others.

  28. Kelly (NEO) says:

    Jesus as our High Priest left the glory He had in heaven and put on flesh…He bore our sins on His shoulders…His headpiece was a crown of thorns…when we place our trust in Him, the Holy Spirit gives us direction for decisions.