“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Bronze Laver

Exodus 30:18-21 - “You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.”

We have examined the outer court, silver foundation, and the wall surrounding the Tabernacle; we have entered, had the sacrifice of the Messiah imputed to us, and we now stand before the bronze laver, or washbasin. This washbasin has a very deep significance in a believer’s life.

REFLECTION

The bronze laver was fashioned out of the mirrors of the women of the nation – Exodus 38:8 - He [Moses] made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting.

Mirrors were a valuable item in those days, you didn’t just stop by Wal-Mart and pick up a mirror. We don’t often contemplate the value of mirrors in that day; today every home has a multitude of mirrors. However, in the ANE, mirrors were not everywhere and these women probably gave up their only mirror for the Tabernacle.

[sidebar comment] It really is amazing to think that the people gave a freewill gift to build the Tabernacle out of their BEST, not their leftovers. [/sidebar comment]

So the laver would have retained the reflective quality of the mirrors, and every time the Priests went to the laver to wash, they saw their reflection. Likewise, the Word of God will ‘highlight’ our reflection as we study and reflect upon it. The reflection in the laver enabled the Priests to ensure that they looked proper for service inside the Holy of Holies, likewise, we should examine ourselves through God’s Word as we enter endeavor to walk 'Coram Deo'.

Ephesians 5:25-27 - Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

THE OUTER COURT

The Priests were inside the Tabernacle courtyard already; they had entered Holy Ground already. Just as a person who comes through the door, which is Messiah, and enters into a relationship, there, they are faced with the altar for the sacrifice. They appropriate the sacrifice made by Messiah, then they can come to the laver.

So, we see the unfolding of the gospel right in this portion of the outer court.

1. - The door -- John 10:7–9 - So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

2. - The Altar of Sacrifice -- Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

There are many who never get any further than this. Many say, “I feel no difference in my life, can’t really tell that I know Jesus Christ as Savior.” They had their 'ticket punched' but are not living lives for Christ. They have been taught that they have 'made their decision', and that's it! However, we are to walk Coram Deo, and the Lord continues to refine us. This refinement requires a sober, and honest look at ourselves in the mirror of His Word, and we don’t like what we see in the reflection.

We need to examine the process of sanctification, and then maybe we will understand the bronze laver better. First, we understand that Christ's finished work justified the elect; i.e. made them 'right before God', but also sanctified the elect -- John 17:15-19 -- I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. There are many passages that highlight that santification is the work of the Savior -- we are definitively sanctified through Christ's work.

In Romans 6:1-4 Paul writes -- What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. And in this passage Paul is speaking in the indicative -- stating that we are walking in a newness of life.

Later in Romans 6, Paul begins to speak in an imperative tone -- Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. But even in becoming progressively sanctified, it is only through the fact that we are alive in Christ taht we are able to do this.

This is the life of a Christian -- to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. I liken it to the passage in the Upper Room -- John 13:6-10a -- He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean.

We are completely clean in the finished work of our Savior -- but there is the matter of the feet -- these instruments can cause problems, the flesh is at emnity with the Spirit -- even then, it is not our work, but the work of the Spirit indwelling us, that enables us to continue to become more and more like Him.

We see that our progressive sanctification continues throughout our life. Going back to Romans 6, verse 19 states that at one time we presented ourselves more and more to a sinful life, and now Paul tells us to present ourselves more and more, to holiness; I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. And again in 2nd Corinthians 3:18 -- But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Now that we have looked at sanctification, we can see how the bronze laver fit into the picture with the Priests. They had come through the door, they had burned the sacrifice on the altar and now they were about to enter the Holy of Holies. However, the Lord instructed that those who came before Him were to be cleansed! I fear in our consumerist society that have left out this aspect in so much of our teaching. In our headlong rush to fill seats, and give the unbeliever a 'good experience', we have left out a vital part of the truth -- that is, that Christ's work on the Cross not only justified the sinner, but sanctified him, and now, by the power of the Spirit, he is able to walk in a newness of life. What kind of good news is it that Jesus died for you, but left you in the deathgrip of sin, still a prisoner? How can we be hupernikeo if we are still slaves to sin?

I exclaim with Paul -- "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

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