Day 24

Instructions for the Priestly Garments

from the Exodus reading plan


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

BY Lindsey Jacobi

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. 

Post Comments (26)

26 thoughts on "Instructions for the Priestly Garments"

  1. Erica Chiarelli says:

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Lizzie Streets says:

    I loved this leson

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. Donna Wolcott says:

    Amen Debbie!

  8. 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.”

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