As a child I remembered the stories taught to me in church. In particular, I was struck by the duties of the high priest in the Most Holy Place in the wilderness tabernacle. At first I thought him to be pretty lucky to be in the presence of God. He got to go into ALL the rooms. He also had this garment he wore that was different than all the other priests. It had beautiful stones and gold woven fabrics. But there was one thing that made me fear this position.
The High Priest had these bells attached to the hem of his garment that would sound as he walked about doing his duties. I remember putting two and two together that if the bells stopped ringing inside the Most Holy Place, that meant that he had died in the presence of God and needed to be dragged out by the rope wrapped around his ankle. I knew that there were all of these rituals and ceremonies he had to go through to make sure he was presentable in God's presence, but it all just made me put God in this place. Somewhere far, fearful, looming. I didn't hate God for this apparent punishment, but it did make Him seem far fetched. Unreachable. I feared God as a ruler, nothing more.
Well today I learned something new about those golden bells that I never really thought about before. I was reading up on the garments that the High Priest wore, trying to get a better understanding of what Christ is as our High Priest. A lot of symbolism in there, its amazing! Anyways, I wanted to understand what the symbolism was behind the bells. In reading our church's commentary on this part of Exodus, it got me to thinking about the real purpose of the sound that echoed through the walls of the tabernacle. It started out by explaining that the bells were able to be heard outside the walls of the sanctuary. The people of Israel were constantly aware of his duties being performed. Before I could even go further in the rest of the description, I felt this sudden rush of comfort! A closeness that I had not understood before. The sanctuary was not left to be a mystery to the outside or even to me.
The commentary gave such a good description of what I was beginning to feel. It talked about how Israel heard the bells and it brought them into contemplation of the whole process. They could be a part of the ceremonies, even though they could not SEE what was going on. They knew the man inside the sanctuary who was going before God with their sins and was making intercession. They could visualize within their minds what was happening.
Today, Christ is our High Priest. He goes before God as a man, with compassion in His heart and a responsibility on His shoulders. He is there to remind God of what we are to Him and what He has done for us. As we stand outside the courts of God waiting for His return, we can come boldly in faith before Him in our hearts. We can see through faith what He is doing for us, though we do not deserve any of it. We do not have to fear that God will strike Christ down in the Sanctuary, for Christ is the Perfect Sacrifice and High Priest. Not a sin has He commited.
Those little gold bells are there to remind us that we have a way to our Father. Though we cannot see Him yet, we have Someone who is going before Him for us. All our petitions and confessions are presented with utmost care. What are the gold bells in our lives today?
I would have to say that it is prayer and faith. Those two things are what bring us closer to God. It makes Him reachable. Compassionate. Forgiving. Full of understanding. How amazing is His love? Just taking moments in our day to grow and know what He is actually trying to offer is life changing. You have access. I have access. We are sons and daughters in His court. He knows that in our sin His presence could kill us. He has offered a way to Him despite our situation. How amazing is His love, that He would want us to participate despite our position?
We are the jewels on His breastplate, the treasures of His heart.