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Clothes That Mean Something

Exodus 28:2-3

Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.

Moses was humble enough to listen to God. This is something we should take into consideration when we wonder why we’re not successful in something. Maybe we should listen to God. Moses listened carefully and took notes on specific instructions God gave him about how to worship, where to worship, how to dress, etc.

God told him how to make Aaron’s priestly garments and which ones to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. Where did they get the supplies to make everything? Exodus 28:1 tells us that Moses received an offering from those whose heart prompted them to give. It wasn’t a tax or a fee. It was freely given.

Exodus 28:29-30
“Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the LORD. Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.”

Today we don’t get very specific about what we wear when we enter the presence of God. We want to focus on God and not the clothes. Understandable. But what if we wore something that makes us focus on one of the facets of God’s love.

What if we recited the scriptures related to the armor of God when we got dressed every morning? What if we printed out Ephesians 4:20-25 and taped it to the bathroom mirror so we could read it every time we brushed our teeth?

The garments God gives us to wear today have meaning. We are to put on righteousness and holiness. We are to wear God’s armor and not depend on our own human-designed protective clothing.

What if we listened to God and obeyed him down to our shoe selection? How would that change us?

Clothes That Fit

Ephesians 6:10-11
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Goliath had shouted insults at Saul’s army for forty days. When David showed up and found out what had been going on, he was infuriated. How dare anyone speak like that about God and his people. When David was given permission to begin his battle with Goliath, it took very little time to successfully complete his mission. The battle was over in no time. The fat lady was clearing her throat when David stepped out onto the battlefield.

He knew the battle wasn’t really against Goliath, but against what Goliath stood for. According to Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

He knew that not one man in Saul’s army would be able to beat Goliath in a flesh against flesh battle, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t win. They had to look to the one who was in charge of the battle for their plan of attack. Not Saul, but God.

David won his battle against Goliath because he was comfortable knowing his armor was God. He’d worn that armor before and knew how it felt. There is freedom and security in a good relationship with God. David was certain he’d be protected.

When God is your armor, you can relax and simply obey. No need to worry about the insults or threats against you. If you are obeying God and wrapped up in him, he is able to clear the path to your victory.

Second-Hand Clothes

1 Samuel 17: 38-39
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.

Can you say no when someone offers you what works for them?

David was unafraid of the enormous Philistine shouting insults at King Saul’s army. Since he was too little to join his brothers in the army, he visited them with a load of supplies. Hearing the insults from nine-foot-tall Goliath, David wondered why no one had put a stop to it. King Saul found out David was insisting he could kill Goliath and sent for him. After David explained that God had helped him kill a lion and a bear, he persuaded King Saul to let him shut the giant up.

Goliath had come to the battlefield in a full coat of armor weighing 125 pounds. That’s not too much extra weight for a nine-foot warrior. So King Saul tried to put armor on David to protect God’s little warrior. It was a nice thought, but not a good idea. Goliath had a bronze helmet, so David tried on a bronze helmet. He walked around in the rest of it, but it just wasn’t working for him.

With an opponent towering over him, David knew he needed protection much bigger than the armor Saul gave him. He knew he needed God.

David took off Saul’s armor and picked up stones as his weapon of choice. I’m sure his brothers were skeptical of David’s ability to get the stone aimed well enough to hit Goliath in a place that would not be covered in armor and to go fast enough that the blow would kill him.

David decided to “go with what you know”. He’d been with God in his fight against the lion and the bear, and he’d be with God in the fight against Goliath. It wasn’t the stone that killed Goliath. It was the faith in God David valued so highly. It was God’s hand making that stone crush into the skull of the giant. No one expected David to make a dent in the battle against the giant who had kept Saul’s army terrified for forty days. No one, but David.

If David had tried to do battle in the ill-fitting armor, not only would he have lost to Goliath, but the Israelites would have been servants to the Philistines. King Saul was taking a huge risk letting a little guy fight for them.

David knew that God’s armor is always better than Saul’s armor. He was dressed for success.

Our First Garments

Genesis 3:21
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Do you remember the first lie you ever heard? Probably not. We hear so many lies today from so many people. Some are advertisements with implied lies. If you buy their product, you’ll be cool or thinner or happier. Advertisers sometimes take a fact and dress it up so they can use it to their advantage. “Fat-free” and “No Sugar Added” are terms dieting people look for. They are not guarantees that you will not gain weight while eating that product. Those terms might be the truth, but they’re not the whole truth.

This reminds me of Adam and Eve in the garden in the book of Genesis. I think Eve was such an easy target because she’d never heard a lie before. Adam had no reason to lie to her. God didn’t lie to her. She never needed to be cautious about believing what she’d been told. So the serpent took a fact and twisted it to cause a change in her life. He might as well have said, “Once you eat this fruit, you’ll never be the same again. Your whole life will change.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? But shouldn't that kind of advertising make us skeptical?

Adam should’ve sat her down and said, “Let’s think this through. Something doesn’t sound right about it.” Instead, Adam and Eve made the mistake of their lives. They were duped. They were ashamed. They hid from God, worried about his reaction to their fruit-tasting experiment.

They sewed leaves together. You probably didn’t know that camouflage clothes were thousands of years old. Knowing God would eventually find them, they hid in the bushes and waited.

When they heard the question they dreaded, “What is this you have done?”, they responded, and then they heard the judgments and curses that came about because of their sin. When God finished warning them about the aftereffects, he made clothes for Adam and Eve.

This reminds me of when my kids were little. If they made a mess, they tried to fix it or hide it. I can imagine God looking down on Adam and Eve and thinking of them like I thought of my kids. The first thing I had to do was talk to my kids about what they had done, and then reassure them. Next, I had to take off their filthy clothes, clean up the kids, and put new clothes on them.

That’s just what God did. He spoke to them, pulled them out of their leaves and put them in better clothes. God made leather clothes for them – or animal skin clothes.

He did whatever was necessary to give Adam and Eve freedom to discover new things and make decisions, but he also wanted to protect them. Now that they had to deal with thorns and thistles, they had to wear leather for protection.

God loved Adam – before, during, and after he sinned. Giving him clothes was a part of that love.