Rarely do we find anyone wrestling with an outside appearance. On the outside, most of us look pretty good. Pastors and preachers stand to preach and minister on any given Lord’s day. We shave and shower. We comb our hair. We dress the part. We carry a Bible (even the one on our iPad or iPhone). We have the language down. Based on all outside appearances, we are fully qualified and prepared to stand before the Lord and His people…
But what about the part you cannot see? What about that which is hidden just past the layers of the external?
In Exodus 28, God gave explicit instructions on how the garments of the priests were to be constructed, how they were to be worn, and that they were for GLORY and for BEAUTY (Ex 28:40). Most people “get” the robes and the stones, the breastplate and the ephod…even the crown. But notice what God describes that is not readily seen:
42 You shall make for them ylinen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach from the hips to the thighs; 43 and they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar to minister in the Holy Place, lest they zbear guilt and die. aThis shall be a statute forever for him and for his offspring after him.
God designated that the priest was to wear pants…”breeches” in the NASB actually. Underwear in our modern vernacular. This was the part of the priest’s attire that was not visible to others but would be known to God.
God is just as concerned with our private lives as He is our public. He wants our hearts to be prepared as certainly as He wants our sermons. He demands holiness and glory even in the most discreet and hidden places in our lives if we are to approach Him.
This is weighty to consider. To know that God examines every aspect of our lives and holds us to account for the private as well as the visible…should give us pause.
This truth is not only for pastors, but for everyone who ministers before the Lord. A true understanding of the Scriptures means that this includes everyone in some respect.
Perhaps power is missing because we put on the external facade of holiness and service but we chose to ignore the need to cover our shamefulness but putting on “breeches.”
“God is not mocked,” the Apostle Paul reminds us; “whatever a man sows, so shall he reap.” (Galatians 6:7). We cannot hide our unholiness from God and to flaunt it, by refusing to cover our guilt and shame with the forgiveness of Christ (through repentance and faith), is to invite the harvest of condemnation and to reject the presence, power, and peace of God in our lives.
Today…don’t forget to put on pants. They are required to please God.