December 21, 2021
1 They built the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood, three cubits high; it was square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. 2 They made a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar were of one piece, and they overlaid the altar with bronze. 3 They made all its utensils of bronze—its pots, shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. 4 They made a grating for the altar, a bronze network, to be under its ledge, halfway up the altar. 5 They cast bronze rings to hold the poles for the four corners of the bronze grating. 6 They made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze. 7 They inserted the poles into the rings so they would be on the sides of the altar for carrying it. They made it hollow, out of boards. 8 They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
Sometimes we see little things and just pass over them. The details can be quite important. In the final verse we see some details. Bronze from the mirrors. Not sure if anyone has tried to use a mirror made of bronze. Not the same reflection we get out of current mirrors. Or the image others use as they stop using mirrors and just us the cameral on the phone. But it gives us a glimpse into what is meant when we hear that we see in a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face.
But then we also see that the bronze came from the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. We are not making a statement about this to dig into arguments about women in office. That is not what this text is about. But the notation shows that the function of women in ancient Israel was at a higher level than in many places around them. There was a value to women as people. We will see another example of this as the daughters of Zelophehad will receive an inheritance in the land (Numbers 27).
God has made all people to be honoured and valued as his people. Whether we are of different gender, ethnicity or nationality, we are all God’s people, made in his image. God invites all into his kingdom as his people. God invites all to live in his grace. And God gives all a place to serve and to be. God’s grace is enough for all and it comes to all. God’s grace is enough for us and comes to us. May we all live in the grace of God and allow others to be in God’s grace with us.
Song – Emmanuel
O promised Christ: We are a world at war. Our peace depends on your coming. We are a sinful people. Our pardon depends on your coming. We are full of good intentions but weak at keeping promises; our only hope of doing God’s will is that you should come and help us do it. Lord Christ, Word made flesh, our world waits for your peace, for your pardon, and for your grace. Even so: come, Lord Jesus. Amen.