Another little sneak peak at Devotions from Exodus Part Two…
And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. 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.
We now come to our first piece of furniture that is stationed outside of the veil and outside of the screen door of the tabernacle. This piece of furniture is actually the one most opposite the Holy of Holies. This altar is the first step to entering into the presence of God. When we step outside of the screen of the holy place there is no more furniture of gold.
This altar in Exodus 27 was to be made of acacia wood. As in the pieces of furniture we have already studied, this wood represents our humanity. This altar would be made of wood and it would be overlaid with bronze. Bronze represents judgment. Since the fall of man in Genesis 3 this humanity, this flesh of ours, has been overlaid with judgment because of sin.
When God discovered Adam and Eve in the garden in the nakedness of their sin, an innocent animal was slain and its skin was used to cover Adam and Eve. The judgment that fell upon that animal should have been the judgment that fell upon Adam and Eve, but instead God showed mercy to them and allowed this animal to be a temporary substitute. This altar of wood that represents our humanity, is covered in bronze, which represent the judgment that is upon us, and it will be on this altar that animal sacrifices will be made as a temporary substitution for the death that we so rightly deserve.
As I wrote this devotional I wondered why bronze for judgment? The Hebrew word for bronze in Exodus 27:2 is nechosheth and it means brasen, brass, chain, copper, fetter of brass, filthiness, steel. In Isaiah 60:17 and Jeremiah 6:28 this same word is used to describe worthless people. In Ezekiel 16:36 this word is favored to mean corrupt. Bronze is made from mixing two minerals together. It is not a pure metal.
It is believed that during this time bronze was made from mixing copper and tin. Copper is an element that is essential to all living organisms. The main place where copper is found in humans is in our liver, muscles, and bones. Tin as a single atom is not very toxic. However it becomes toxic when it bonds with other atoms becoming organic. The long-term effects from exposure to organic tin are:
– Liver damage
– Malfunctioning of immune systems
– Chromosomal damage
– Shortage of red blood cells
– Brain damage (causing anger, sleeping disorders, forgetfulness and headaches)
Tin is kind of like temptation. When temptation remained a single element on this earth it caused no harm to Adam or Eve. We do not know how long the tempter, the serpent of old, slithered around impotent on this earth nor do we know how long the tree of the knowledge of good and evil stood untouched and ignored by Adam and Eve. However, what we do know is that when Adam and Eve connected their own lusts with the enticement of the serpent as he used his lies to build the temptation for the fruit of the tree to dangerous levels, their lust was conceived and sin was birthed and it immediately became toxic.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Copper, silver, and gold are all in group 11 of the periodic table and they all share certain attributes. God created us in His image. He created us to share in His attributes. Thus He purposely and selectively chose to use these precious metals to display His glory and to tell His story.
These three metals are known by their resistance to tarnish, their extreme difficulty in counterfeiting, durability, fungibility, and their reliable store of value unmatched by any other metals known. They also are the most conductive of electricity of all metals. God created us to be a continuous circuit of His life running from Him through us back to Him.
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Do you know what happens when copper becomes bronze? It loses much of its ability to be conductive. It is as low as 7% as conductive as copper.
Oh beloved, do you see now why bronze is the representative of judgment? Do you see the way that our God uses all of creation to tell His story? Even the metals of the earth and the design of the tabernacle teach us of who He created us to be and how He has a plan to get us back connected to Him.
You are good. You are life. You created us to be connected to You. You created us to be conductive of Your very being, created in Your image for Your glory. We were created to be pure and holy and precious, yet we are now tarnished by the results of our connection to sin. Yet, you sent Your Son here to step in and remove the impurity of sin from us and restore are connection to You so that we, once again, could experience the life of Your Spirit flowing freely through us. Purify us oh Father and make us clean.
My Jesus, I love You, and it is in Your name I pray,