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Shemot/Exodus 28:13 And you shall make settings of gold and two chains of pure gold
As we shall see in the following verses, this instruction is to start making the breastplate which was to carry the twelve precious stones representing the tribes of Israel. The settings which are spoken of here are to hold the inscribed jewels on to the front of the breastplate. The settings are necessary for two purposes: the first is purely mechanical - it is impossible to mount precious stones directly on to material or fabric securely without either making a hole in them through which to pass the thread, or by enclosing them in so much thread that the stones become obscured. The second is that the setting enhances the jewel by presenting it, holding it forward and at the same time surrounding it by something of value in itself. This is why the settings are to be made of gold; not silver, which although pretty and of value, tarnishes.
In a great chapter of encouragement to Israel, written in the dark days before the exile to Babylon, the prophet Yeshu'yahu says: "You will be a crown of beauty in the hand of the L-rd, and a royal diadem in the hand of your G-d" (Isaiah 62:3, NASB). The picture is extended from physical jewels and precious stones in a setting of gold on the breastplate of the Cohen Gadol to the whole people of Israel as a crown in beauty in G-d's hand. Instead of a physical representation, with G-d seeing the jewels to remember the twelve tribes, now Isaiah sees the spiritual reality of Israel held as a crown inAdonai's hand. The second image, amplifying the first, is of a royal diadem; not just a crown, a band of gold with a few stones set in it, but an intricate weaving of lattices and designs with stones clustered and grouped to sparkle and shine in the light; a symbol of status and authority; and, as before, held in G-d's own hand. The setting provides the perfect contrast.
Rav Sha'ul tells us that G-d also wants to display His glory in us, "For it is the G-d who once said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' who has made His light shine in our hearts, the light of the knowledge of G-d's glory shining in the face of the Messiah Yeshua" (2 Corinthians 4:6, CJB). What a setting! As we "fix our eyes upon Yeshua" (Hebrews 12:2), we see "the radiance of G-d's glory and the exact representation of His nature" (Hebrews 1:3, NASB). But even that is not enough, for G-d wants to use us as a setting for His glory as Rav Sha'ul goes on to say: "But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it will be evident that such overwhelming power comes from G-d and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7, CJB). We are the setting in which G-d has chosen to display His glory in the world today, that men may see and marvel, not at what we do, but at what G-d can do through us.
Further Study: Zechariah 9:16; 1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Timothy 2:20-21
Application: Just as G-d told Moshe to take care to make the right settings for the jewels on the breastplate, so G-d has taken care in making and selecting each of us to be the setting for His glory in the world. Though we are only flesh and blood now, we have been hand-picked to offset and display Messiah Yeshua to best effect.
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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