READ EXODUS 25
Yesterday we considered the reality that God doesn’t need us. God did not need the Israelite’s sacrifices to subsist on. He does not need our service to survive.
In fact, the Bread of the Presence represented quite another reality: we need God. And His presence is a place of provision.
Read Exodus 25:23-30. Why do you think it is significant that the bread was in God’s presence?
Read Leviticus 24:5-9. How many loaves of bread were there? Why?
What was the baking routine for the bread in God’s presence? Why do you think this is?
Embedded in God’s instructions regarding the Bread of Presence is one of the sweetest lessons for Israel. Up to this point, God has consistently reminded them through His instructions that He is holy, that He is unlike them, that He is separate from them. And while this is true, in the Bread of Presence God teaches them a lesson they will savor with joy and gratitude.
On the Table, there were twelve loaves of bread, one for each of the tribes of Israel. God, knowing that the people will feel the sting of their sin and their distance from Him, by His grace sets a place at the table for each and every member of the family. Every tribe has a place to belong, a seat with their name on it. When they approach God’s presence, they don’t come tip-toeing, wondering if God will look down from on high and recognize them; no, each of them has a spot at the family dinner table.
And where is this glorious table? In the very presence of God! How fitting that God would remind HIs people of His provision and His consideration of them right after teaching them about the Mercy Seat! Whenever the people wondered if God’s means of atonement was effective, they could look into the Holy Place, see their tribe’s spot at the table, and know: this is exactly where I belong.
Read the following passages. Note what each teaches about God’s provision and presence in your own life:
For those of us who are in Christ – those of us who are covered by the all-sufficient blood of the atoning Lamb – we have a place in God’s presence through Christ. We do not tip-toe around wondering if God sees us or knows us. We don’t have to approach Him with a questioning voice, wondering if He remembers us. In Christ, there is a place for you right at the table of God. He has welcomed you in, pulled out your chair, and invited you to sit and stay awhile.
Let this be the salve on every broken place in our hearts. When the wounds of rejection stir in our souls, let us look to the Bread of Presence and, like Israel, be reminded that God knows our names and has reserved a place for us in His presence. When fears and guilt over past sin threaten to drag us down to the pit of despair, we can look to the Bread of the Presence and remember, like Israel, that our debt is paid, God has declared the Sacrifice sufficient, and we can through Christ enter His presence unafraid. When we feel we are at our end, finding ourselves overcome and overwhelmed by the devastating lack in our own lives, let us look to the Bread of Presence, reminded, like Israel, that our God always provides, His kitchen light is always on, and there’s always fresh provision to meet us in our times of need.
PRAY & REFLECT
Praise God for always providing! Ask Him to sink this reality into your heart today: through Christ, there is a place at God’s table for you.