We read in Exodus (Ch.29) of the elaborate ritual needed to consecrate the High Priest Aaron – and also his sons. We read a lot of detail about the elaborate garments and head covering they needed to wear and the ritual involved in sacrificing a ram and the use of its different body parts. We also read of the anointing oil and how it should be used. All this combined to make “a pleasing aroma before the LORD” [v.25]. There is also “one loaf of bread … and one wafer out of the basket of unleavened bread that is before the LORD.” [v.23]. If any of it “remains until morning then you shall burn the remainder of it with fire … because it is holy” [v.34]
There is a big contrast between this and our reading in Mark (Ch.14) of the simple, but most significant, actions of Jesus – “as they were eating” Jesus simply “took bread and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them” saying “This is my body”. Next “he took the cup” and after giving thanks said “this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many” [v.22-24]
A simple act as part of a meal, no special dress or ceremony! This became a feature in the lives of the first believers, probably “on the first day of the week” [Acts 20 v.7], but there is no command as to which day, laws of this nature were entirely absent among the first believers. Paul simply details what “I received from the Lord” in 1 Corinthians 11 v.23-27, but it must not be done “in an unworthy manner” [v.27] there must be self-examination.
This thought takes our minds to our reading today of David’s Psalm 86. “Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant who trusts in you – you are my God … For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” [v.1,2,5]
Then David, in this prayer, looks to a wondrous future time! Let us do the same. How close is the time today, when “all nations you have made shall come and worship before you O Lord, and glorify your name.” [v.9]. May we be there to “come and worship” – in a way that glorifies God’s eternal name.
Finally, note David’s intimate personal thoughts of his relationship with God, they are a challenging example for us today, this week, this month, this year – indeed, until he come.
“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear thy name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart” [v.11,12]
Is your heart feeling ‘dis-united’? Prayerfully read God’s word every day – and with a united heart feel increasing spiritual strength to “walk in” God’s “truth” and so abound in God’s “steadfast love.”