Monday, February 4, 2013
They Gave Up Their Mirrors
Ex. 38:8 ¶ He made the basin of bronze with its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
It was time to build the Tabernacle, the place in which the people of God could come and worship him. The instructions had been given and the construction was on-going. The people had given over and over again and the whenever there was a need for more material, the need was met. It was not unusual at that time in history for women to be keepers of the door. It was an occupation often held by women -- even until the time of the disciples. The Israelites had lived in and among the Egyptians for many generations and had been deeply influenced by their practices. The Egyptian women always took their mirrors with them when they went to worship. Mirrors were often flattened plates of bronze or another metal which were polished into a reflective sheen. They were held in frames of wood, or they were hung on a cord around the neck of a woman, as a necklace. The reason she had her mirror with her on the way to worship was so that she could stop and fix herself up before going inside. She was concerned with her appearance and wanted to ensure that she was properly attired and made-up before attending to worship. This is what they had learned from the Egyptians. But now this place of worship was to be something new and different. This was the worship of God, and the women willingly gave up their mirrors so that the basin of bronze, along with its stand could be made for the Tabernacle of God.
There is much to learn from this one little verse. At first glance it's interesting to find that women were working at the tent of meeting. They had a position of importance in monitoring and caring for the entrance. It must be imagined that there were a number of women who worked in this position, taking shifts at different times. The women were entrusted with the care of the entrance to the very place where God came and met with Moses. They had a position of responsibility and with that responsibility came a requirement for action. They began to understand the importance of their place and role in the worship of God.
They were beginning to learn that they were to be a people of one God. That meant that they were needing to get their eyes off of themselves and onto God. Over and over in the Old Testament we are reminded to seek the face of God. It's hard to seek the face of God when we are wearing mirrors around our necks that encourage us to constantly seek our own faces! If they were to make God first in their lives, then they had to give up the idea of introspection and making themselves first in all things. The giving up of the mirrors is not just a practical matter, but it speaks volumes in terms of their understanding of their relationship with God. They were willing to give up a practice that had come to them from the Egyptians. They were willing to stop primping and being worried about themselves when they went to worship, and worship him alone.
We may not spend time primping to go to worship these days (actually there seem to be some places that the worse you look the holier you must be :) -- but we may be more worried about ourselves in worship, than we are about God. The very item that symbolized self-centeredness was given up to be placed into the heart of the worship experience. What would that be for us today? What symbolizes self-centeredness in worship? Is it the style of music? The lighting in the room? The way the minister dresses? The length of the sermon? How many people today shop around for just the right church for them? For them???? Isn't church about God? The women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting had a spiritual encounter. I can just imagine that serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting they experienced something of the overflow of the presence of God in their lives. When that happened they gave up their right to themselves and purposefully gave it over to God for his use. Worship wasn't about how they liked it or what they wanted, it was about God and him alone. What would happen if we attended church with that kind of attitude? Are we willing to give up our mirrors?
Lord, please help me not to defend myself and my personal wants in my worship of you. I love you, Lord. Amen.