The priestly garments were to be holy garments for glory and for beauty. They reminded God’s people of the holiness of His presence, the weight of His presence, and the beauty of His presence. 

But, what were they like? And why?

As we learned last week, our hermeneutic is important here. If we read this text with an eye towards surrounding culture, we will brush these details off as unimportant or insignificant. But if we approach the text as God’s very word to His people, then we will learn to see His character reflected in every detail.

The primary garment the priests were to wear was the ephod. While we don’t know exactly what the ephod would have looked like, the text gives us some clues:

Read Exodus 28:1-14. How is the ephod described? What elements are included?


Why do you think this is significant?


Read Exodus 28:15-30. How is the breast piece described? What elements are included?


Why do you think this is significant?


What do the two pieces have in common?


At the time God is giving Moses these commands, the nation of Israel is camping in tribes. Each of the 12 sons of Jacob made up the 12 tribes of Israel (which is why we call them according to each son’s name). Currently, all 12 tribes are camping in the wilderness. Scholars, like Hughes, believes that they camped in groups of three tribes, with three tribes camping at each of the four corners of the compass with the Tabernacle in the center of their camp.

And then we see that a very central piece of the priestly ephod and breastplate are stones engraved with each of the tribes names on them, sewn into the garment. They can’t come off. They go wherever the priest goes. And where does the priest go? Into the presence of God.

Why do you think this is significant? 


Even though the nation is currently wandering and scattered throughout the wilderness, they can rest assured that each and every one of them is brought before the throne of God. As the priest bears the name of each tribe before God, he represents them in God’s presence. No tribe could wonder if they were forgotten or overlooked. They never needed to be afraid that God would somehow miss them, because intrinsic to the design for the ephod was a place for every member of God’s family.

Tomorrow, we are going to look at the different purposes for the two pieces and answer the question of how the ephod and the breast piece function differently, since they clearly have two different roles in the wardrobe. But today, we have the joy of resting assured: God will not forget His people. In His very design for priests to represent them before His presence, God has made His character known. He does not overlook even one, and He can never forget His children. We may feel scattered to the edges of the wilderness, but God’s eyes rest on His children. He will not forget us. 



Thank God that He cannot forget you. Thank Him for arranging His people’s worship in such a way that they can rest assured that His watchful eyes are always on them. 

Author: amygannett

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