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3 February, 2014 13:04

February 3, 2014

THE LAVER

Something I read this week suddenly arrested my attention. It was statement from the late G. H. Lang. Here is what he wrote: “Of every thousand allusions by preachers to the altar and the blood, there is no more than one mention of the laver.”

For those of you who are not sure what Lang is referring to, he is saying that we are always talking about the cleansing power of the blood but seldom do we speak about our need of washing at the laver. Obviously he is referring to the tabernacle of old, yet nevertheless, he is applying it to the life of the believer.

Under the Old Testament ordinances there were certain requirements for a man to become a priest. First of all he had to be a son of Aaron and then he had to meet the very strict physical requirements before he could qualify for service. Once these demands were met he had to be completely washed and then anointed etc. (Ex29:4) Even though he was required to wash himself first before being anointed, he was now required to wash in order to function in the priesthood. This required him to go to the brazen laver and wash his hands and feet before entering into the Holy Place. His initial cleansing was complete and need not be repeated. His cleansing at the laver was partial and continuous. Partial in the sense that, the priest only had to wash his hands and feet, not his entire body, before serving in the tabernacle.

As I thought about Lang’s statement, it dawned on me how true it was. We have placed such an emphasis on the initial cleansing we receive because of the Cross, that we have failed to emphasize our need of the LAVER. Please don’t misunderstand me here; we can never ever afford to diminish the power of the cross. Without the cross there is no forgiveness, no freedom, no adoption, no Father, no hope, and no future except eternal damnation. Having said that, there is no sanctification or maturation, without an understanding of the function of the laver.

The Laver stood between the Brazen Altar and the Holy Place. It was made of bronze as was the Brazen Altar, but it was unique in that it was made from the brass mirrors of the women of Israel. As the priest looked at or into the Laver they would see their own reflection. In a like fashion we are told in James that as we look into the perfect law of liberty we see God’s standard revealed and how God expects us to abide by it. (I’m not referring here to the ceremonial laws of the old covenant which have been nailed to the cross) Just as a mirror in the natural reveals our true condition but does not have the ability to cleanse us, neither does the mirror of God’s Word. Once we realize that we have failed, we need to ask God for forgiveness. This does not mean that we need to be saved all over again, but rather that we seek to appear before the Lord with clean hands. Jesus told Peter that he didn’t require a bath but simply the need to have his feet washed and then all of him would be clean. As pilgrims in this sinful world we too from time to time become contaminated by it. Therefore we need, through the help of God’s Word, to see our failings and seek His forgiveness. In this manner we learn to walk in the light and maintain our fellowship with Him and one another.

We are told in Ephesians that Jesus is going to sanctify the Church; having cleansed her by the washing of water by the word. Our initial justification came through the blood of Christ, but our continuous maturation and sanctification come through our obedience to God’s Word.

I have barely begun to scratch the surface here regarding the importance of the Laver or the washing of the Word of God. I encourage you to look into this for yourselves.

As the words of one hymn remind us:

The Laver stands, If earth-defiled,

Go, wash thy hands and feet;

And simply as a pardoned child,

Approach the mercy–seat;

Within the veil thy censer bring,

And burn sweet incense to the King.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 10, 2014 4:19 pm

    That was a good word, David. It is good to remind ourselves as often as possible, of just who we are, and who we are representing. I think of how important it must have been for the priests to see their reflections as they washed… before they committed themselves to enter the Holy Place. We have all read the stories of the downfalls of men, priests and kings who were disobedient while preforming sacrifices and we don’t want to ever take such risks. This also reminds me of James 1:19-27. We must get rid of all moral filth and the evil that surrounds us on a daily basis, by washing ourselves in the Word of God. And, we must do what the Word says, so that we aren’t like the one who looks at his face in the mirror, only to turn around and forget what he looks like. Lord remind us that the perfect law is that mirror, and as we look intently into it we receive freedom from the bondage of this world. Let us daily continue keep ourselves from being polluted by this world, so that we can be blessed and effective in the ministries that you have entrusted to us. Amen…

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