Bread. Don’t you just love the smell as it comes out of the oven? Break off a chunk while it’s still warm, and load it with butter. Mind the drips as the butter melts; stuff it into your mouth and enjoy… I do love fresh homemade bread. Such simple, basic food, but sooooooo good!
The passage of Exodus 25:23-30 strikes me as a real contrast. First you have the instructions for the table – made of acacia wood for durability, then overlaid over in pure gold, with gold ornamentation, gold overlaid rings and carrying poles, and a range of plates, dishes, pitchers and bowls, all made out of gold. And on this magnificently lavish arrangement you put…bread. Just bread.
Twelve loaves of bread, according to Leviticus 24:5-9. Their purpose? To stay there in the presence of God, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. God did not need reminding that these people were his, but the bread kept them ever in his mind, ever close to his heart.
Jesus described himself as the bread of life (John 6:35). For the Jews, the concept of bread conveyed several pictures – the provision of manna to meet their needs in the desert, for example, but also they would think of this ‘show bread’ or ‘bread of the Presence”, placed freshly on that wonderful table week after week, representing them before God.
Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus is doing just that. He is there now, in Heaven, before Father God, as our representative, keeping us ever in his mind, ever close to his heart. In all the wonderful glory of heaven, the Bread of Life is our constant Go-Between ensuring our salvation, that we might receive the promised eternal inheritance, but also that we might be FREE from sin, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:14-15)
There is a lot going on in heaven on my behalf, even right now. And God thinks I am worth it. He wants me free from sin, and he sees me as worthy of serving him. The question is, will I rise to the challenge of recognising all he invests in me, appreciate the value he sees in me, and have confidence to achieve all he has called me to? What about you?