Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Can you imagine life without mirrors?

For us women, a mirror is crucial to our self-confidence – we would not think of going through our morning rituals without a mirror. And though men deny it- they too love to study themselves in front of the mirror, flexing their muscles or examining their hair line.

Mirrors have been in vogue since Adam and Eve first saw their reflection in the crystal clear water in the Garden of Eden.

But did you ever stop to think about the significance of mirrors in the Bible?

When God designed the furniture of the Tabernacle, the piece of furniture that stood inside the court between the altar and the tabernacle itself was the laver.
We read about the making of the laver in Ex. 38:8.
It was made by Bezaleel, who was a craftsman in whose heart God had put wisdom to know how to be a master in his trade. He built the laver out of the mirrors of the Israelite women who responded to Moses' request, "Let everyone who is of a willing heart, let him bring his offering to the Lord."
The gifts the people brought for the building of the Tabernacle - including the mirrors - were things they had brought with them out of Egypt.

We know very little about the laver’s size or design except that it was round and stood on a base and held water .
The priests, before they offered any sacrifice on the alter or before they entered the tabernacle building, were instructed to wash their hands and their feet; to neglect this ritual was at the risk of losing their life. (Ex. 30:18-21, 40:30-32)

What significance did this laver have? What was it a ‘shadow’ of?

We have a new testament verse in Eph. 5:26 where it says,in reference to the church, “that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
To the Jews this would have immediately brought to mind the picture of the laver and the ritualistic washings of the priests before they preformed any of their priestly duties.

When the priests bend down to wash in the laver they would have seen their reflection.
When we look into the word of God it is like a ‘mirror’ that reveals to us our sin, our shortcomings, where we fail in our pursuit of holiness.
We see ourselves the way we really are, not the way we would like to think we are.
God’s Word is a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. (Heb.4:12)
Jesus said to his disciples in John 15:3 , “Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.”

God in His mercy, though He reveals to us our sin, does so not to condemn us but that we might be ‘washed’ clean. His forgiveness is always extended to us.
That is why the laver has no dimensions given – and it is the only piece of furniture that does not have details given as to size and design.
God’s forgiveness has no limits and cannot be defined by man’s understanding.

When the priests were consecrated to their office of priesthood , they were ‘baptized’, washed all over – but then when they came to the tabernacle to do their service to God they only had to wash their hands and feet.
Do you remember when Jesus came to wash Peter’s feet, he protested and then proclaimed impulsively, “Well, if you are going to wash my feet , then wash me all over!”
And Jesus replied, “Those who are clean only need to wash their feet.”
Peter would have understood the reference to the priest’s ritual of washing in the laver.

The washing all over of the priest’s initiation into the priesthood parallels our new birth, when we are ‘immersed’ or baptized into the family of God.But even after we are saved we still need to be forgiven daily.

It is fascinating to note that God declares the washing in the laver would be an everlasting statute for the priests and down through the generations --- all the way to you and me.

Is that not a beautiful picture?
That when we come to God to pray or to bring our sacrifices of praise we need first to allow the Word of God to wash us, that we may come with unspotted garments before the throne.The laver of God’s forgiveness is big enough to wash away every sin of every human being ever created….. how sad that so many refuse to come and wash!

"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word....Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You!"
(Psalm 119:9,11)

3 comments:

Lovella said...

create in me a clean heart O God.

It is so amazing how often we can use everyday items to see God's heart.

I'm off to clean my mirrors. I have started to break up my Saturday cleaning with the treat of reading a blog in between. This break happened to be you . .

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Awesome study Julie! Thanks so much for the research on mirrors, temple etc. I had never made those connections before about the laver and baptism/feet washing.
It always amazes me at how everything Jesus talks about goes back to the Old Testament.
I'm at reference desk this afternoon, and you enriched the experience tremendously!

Carolanne said...

"When the priests bend down to wash in the laver they would have seen their reflection.
When we look into the word of God it is like a ‘mirror’ that reveals to us our sin, our shortcomings, where we fail in our pursuit of holiness."

I'd never thought about it like that. We use the mirror to make sure we get clean and can see where we need to be cleaned. Hmmm

Thanks for this post.