Exodus 27: Unclean Lips

“You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide—the altar shall be square—and its height shall be three cubits. 2 You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay it with bronze. 3 Also you shall make its pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze. 4 You shall make a grate for it, a network of bronze; and on the network you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. 5 You shall put it under the rim of the altar beneath, that the network may be midway up the altar. 6 And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. 7 The poles shall be put in the rings, and the poles shall be on the two sides of the altar to bear it. 8 You shall make it hollow with boards; as it was shown you on the mountain, so shall they make it.

-        It’s time to look at another furnishing. So far, we have talked about the Ark, the table of showbread, and the lampstand – all pieces which were either in the Holy of Holies or the Holy Place. Now, we take a step outside the tabernacle proper (the tent), into the outer court which surrounds the tabernacle. Again, I encourage you to look at this sketch so you have a basic understanding of what God is instructing Moses to build. Remember that this is a visual aid. It’s not meant to accurately portray the appearance of the tabernacle or limit Him in any way – only to help us better visualize all these pieces being described.

-        The brazen-altar was first made of bronze, which represents judgment. It was the place where the sin offerings were laid and sacrificed. It didn’t reside in the Holy Place, where only the priests could see, it was in the outer court where all could enter. When you walked through the gate of the outer court, the altar was the first thing you would see. Now, think about that in terms of your own life. When you fellowship with God, what is your primary focal point as you enter into that time of worship? Do you stand there and sing songs as you retrace the steps of your day or worries of tomorrow? Does your mind wander continuously as your read His Word or your heart get distracted as you pray? If so, then we must ask ourselves this: Are my eyes fixed on the Sacrifice?

-        I like what Arthur Pink says about the brazen-alter, which is described here in the first eight verses: “The brazen-altar was the basis of the Levitical system. To it the sinner came with his Divinely-appointed victim. There was a fire continually burning upon it (Lev. 6:13), and the daily sacrifice was renewed each morning. There it stood: ever smoking, ever blood-stained, ever open to any guilty Hebrew that might wish to approach it. The sinner, having forfeited his life by sin, another life – an innocent one – must be given in his stead.”

-        My favorite chapter in the Bible is Isaiah 6 (check out the recent "Hemmed In" posting). I love it even more so because of its tie to the brazen-altar: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple…Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts…Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”

o   Did you catch where the coal was taken from? It was from the altar and cleansed Isaiah of his sin. Who can bring such a cleansing? Only Christ. Today, allow the sacrifice of Christ to burn your sins away and leave a lasting mark of grace on you.

9 “You shall also make the court of the tabernacle. For the south side there shall be hangings for the court made of fine woven linen, one hundred cubits long for one side. 10 And its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets shall be bronze. The hooks of the pillars and their bands shall be silver.11 Likewise along the length of the north side there shall be hangings one hundred cubits long, with its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of bronze, and the hooks of the pillars and their bands of silver.

12 “And along the width of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits, with their ten pillars and their ten sockets. 13 The width of the court on the east side shall be fifty cubits. 14 The hangings on one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three sockets. 15 And on the other side shall be hangings of fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three sockets.

-        Like mentioned earlier, there is the tabernacle proper (the tent – which included the Holy Place and Holy of Holies) and the outer court, which surrounded the tabernacle proper. The court was also called the “Tent of Congregation” (Exodus 39:40). It was where all the Israelites gathered to worship Jehovah corporately. God knew that corporate worship was necessary for the life of the believer. In Hebrews 10:25 we’re told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Like mentioned in Exodus 26, how can we bear one another’s burdens if we are not fastened together? Christ did not die for us to stand separately, but sacrificed Himself so we could be tied to Him and to the other believers. God desires a unified body – a tabernacle – for Him to dwell in.

16 “For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. It shall have four pillars and four sockets.17 All the pillars around the court shall have bands of silver; their hooks shall be of silver and their sockets of bronze. 18 The length of the court shall be one hundred cubits, the width fifty throughout, and the height five cubits, made of fine woven linen, and its sockets of bronze. 19 All the utensils of the tabernacle for all its service, all its pegs, and all the pegs of the court, shall be of bronze.

-        There was only one entrance into the court of the tabernacle – just as there is only one way to God. Christ said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) That gate was made of blue, purple, and scarlet thread – just like the veil to the Holy of Holies. (If you need a memory jogger, blue represents heaven, purple represents royalty, and scarlet symbolizes the sufferings of Christ.) Everyone has the opportunity to walk through the gate and accept Christ’s sacrifice. But, you cannot be pushed through or coerced – it is your choice.

20 “And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. 21 In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.

-        Remember from Exodus 25 that the lampstand represented the people of Israel and the light they were to be to the world. The oil used was pressed oil. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:8 that we are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. Is the oil of the Holy Spirit filling your lamp today? Is the wick of your life being trimmed so you burn steady through the night and the dark world can see the light of Christ in you? (Matthew 5:14) Ponder this today. Amen.