Friday, January 20, 2012

Interior Decorating

Have you ever gotten close and personal with a pomegranate?  If you ever want to eat one, it can't be helped.  Oh, I know, you can buy them in neat little cartons already prepared, but someone at some time had to get their fingers messy.

As I study the Scriptures, and read of obscure specifics I ask myself, "Why would God put that detail in the Bible?"  Everything God does is on purpose and for a reason, nothing random, all inspired.

When I read of the priestly robes and certain parts of the tabernacle being decorated with pomegranates I have to wonder why.  Since they've recently been in season, I've considered the interior decor of the tabernacle.  It is not a fruit I often buy, but a few times a year I venture to tackle one.

These were my thoughts as I prepared a pomegranate this week. They are first of all rather ugly on the outside. They are waxed and polished at the store to make them more attractive, but I'm reminded of Jesus at His crucifixion, where there was no outward beauty to be seen in him. (Isa. 53)

At the same time an artist could make an abstract version of a pomegranate and it would look much like a Christmas ornament, completely round with a deep red color.  How beautiful this would be hanging from the hem of the high priest's robe with alternating bell between each one.

But I think the real reason for the pomegranate might have been as an object lesson of the sacrifice given to pay for our sin.  The Old Testament sacrifices were bloody.  I cannot imagine the acute awareness the people must have had of the gravity of their sin.

As a child, I helped a bit with the butchering on the farm, and it was never my favorite thing.  The smell of raw meat, the animal which gave its life so I could have food, the blood--all repulsed me.  This is likely why we never cooked the meat right away, but rather waited until it had spent some time in the freezer. To this day I still do not like to handle raw meat.  But this was without any feelings for the animal.

How much greater the remorse from sacrifices the Israelites were to offer, often lambs they had tenderly cared for and possibly become attached to. Imagine the deep awareness of the severity of their sin seared onto their minds and hearts watching the blood of that animal pour out for them.

As I cut open a pomegranate, there are beads of red fruit inside.  I cannot help but think of the blood Jesus shed for me, drops of blood to pay for my sin, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.  To think that just one drop, can wash my sins away.

Even more than that, it is impossible to get the fruit out of the shell without getting your fingers messy.  Jesus had to be up close and personal with my sin.  He touched it.  He was willing to come into a putrid barn to be born, symbolic of the way my wrong doing is offensive to a holy God.  Jesus left the glorious beauty of heaven to get his hands dirty and to involve himself personally in our lives.

What about me?  Do I keep people at a distance or am I willing to be involved in their lives so I might encourage them and build them up?  There is no need of bloody sacrifices now, because Jesus became our sacrifice for all people and all time.  But in a sense, the sacrifice still continues in our love for one another, for the body of believers.  Owe no man anything, but to love one another.  This is the sacrifice I must offer today, is love for one another. (Rom. 13:8)

Whenever I prepare a pomegranate these thoughts come to mind.  And every time I read in the Scriptures of the craftsmen decorating the tabernacle I'm reminded of my Savior, who gave His life for me.  Yes, God had a purpose in mind when He designed the interior of the tabernacle and the priestly garments.  Likewise, my inner heart is draped with "pomegranates" of His blood, the touch of the Designer's nail pierced hand.  My heart, His sacred dwelling place, will never forget the sacrifice.

"...I [God] will not forget you. 
 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..."  (Isa. 49:15,16)

1 comment:

  1. I'll never see a pomegranate in the same way again. They are also a labor of love when you prepare them for your family! Thanks for a fresh perspective!