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

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Our Provision

Exodus 25:23–30 - “You shall make a table of acacia wood. Two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. You shall overlay it with pure gold and make a molding of gold around it. And you shall make a rim around it a handbreadth wide, and a molding of gold around the rim. And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. Close to the frame the rings shall lie, as holders for the poles to carry the table. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these. And you shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with which to pour drink offerings; you shall make them of pure gold. And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly.

Leviticus 24:5-9 - “You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the Lord. Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the Lord regularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever. And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the Lord's food offerings, a perpetual due.”

We are now in the Tabernacle, we have come in from the stench and heat of the outer court, as as the last post discussed -- we are able to begin to take in the beauty of the Holy Place. And now we stand before the Table of the Bread of the Presence. This has been a progressive journey, from outside the gate to inside the Tabernacle... This is the walk of the believer. in this post we will look at God’s provision, and the fellowship of the believers. We will see how in the Table of the Bread of Presence, our Messiah is perfectly represented to us.

THE BREAD OF THE PRESENCE

This bread is most interesting… It is called Lechem Paniym in Hebrew. That means the bread that is before the face of God, or before the presence of God. These loaves sat on the table all week, representing the tribes of Israel in the presence of the Lord. Isn’t that interesting? In the showbread we see the shadow of Messiah. As we read in Romans 8:33-39 - Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. And again in Hebrews 7:24, 25 - but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

This bread was before the Lord continually... His face looked upon this bread, which represented the Chosen People of God. Is this any different than the ministry of the Messiah for us? Does He not stand before the Father representing us? Psalm 32:1, 2 - Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

This bread was an offering before the Lord, covered in Frankincense. Leviticus 24:5–7 - "And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it. Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. "You shall set them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD. "And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the LORD. Isn’t it interesting that when the wise men came to the house to honor the Lord, that they brought frankincense? I find these small things to be so interesting, I mean, even in the smallest things we find the Lord at work.

Our Messiah stands before the Father, making intercession for us. He represents each believer, who has been covered in his blood, just like the showbread represented the twelve tribes. That is such an incredible and awesome thought to me that He would do that, that He HAS done that and He will continue to do that. What a God we serve! In Numbers 4:5–8 - "When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall come, and they shall take down the covering veil and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. "Then they shall put on it a covering of badger skins, and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue; and they shall insert its poles. "On the table of showbread they shall spread a blue cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowls, and the pitchers for pouring; and the showbread shall be on it. "They shall spread over them a scarlet cloth, and cover the same with a covering of badger skins; and they shall insert its poles…” They did not remove the bread when transporting the table!

The BREAD OF PROVISION

This bread also represented that God was to be the people’s provision. As a matter of fact, as they wandered in the wilderness, we find that He is the one that kept Israel alive by providing manna (Exodus 16). these loaves were representative of our daily provision from the Lord, as the priests partook of these loaves in representing the tribes.

John 6:31-40 - "Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always." And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. "But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

Micah 5:2-4 contains a prophecy about Messiah. It is most interesting. Many are familiar with Micah 5:2, but the rest of the verses are interesting. In verse 3 it prophesies regarding the diaspora and the return of the remnant and then in verse 4 we see what the rule of Messiah will be like. Micah 5:2–4 - "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting." Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth…” Truly we have provision in the Lord!

To finish up with John 6, we go to the final verses, John 6:53-58 - Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. "This is the bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."

THE BREAD OF THE PRIESTS

Finally we see that the bread was to be consumed by the priests. Leviticus 24:5–9 - "And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it. Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. "You shall set them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD. "And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the LORD. "Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. "And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the offerings of the LORD made by fire, by a perpetual statute."

Exodus 19:6 the Lord says this to His Chosen People - 'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." And in 1st Peter 2:4, 5 - Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Finally in John’s introduction to the book of the Revelation we find this: Revelation 1:4–6 - John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The priests ate the bread of the presence in the Holy Place. Much like our time of communion, when we are in the Holy Place, the place where the priests meet their God. We too are to partake of the Lord together as priests in this place. The priests were the ones who ministered in the Holy Place, and their fellowship was with one another. This does not mean that they did not interact with the other peoples, but it means that when they were in the Holy Place ministering and breaking bread, it was a time of fellowship with them and God. Can you imagine, standing (as there are no chairs) in the Tabernacle, no one else was allowed to come in, and you are sharing bread with your fellow priests? Imagine the awesome feeling of being in the presence of God. We should think about that as we partake of communion on Sunday. Communion is so much more than we realize.

Notice that the bread was MOST HOLY to the Lord. As it represented the Messiah, it was to be treated with great respect and honor due it. Not in the way that some people have taken the bread and raised it to the level of veneration itself. It is what the bread symbolizes that makes it Holy, not the physical bread itself.

May we all enjoy a time of feeding upon the Messiah this Lord's day!

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