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Good Morning.

You shall also make a table of acacia wood; two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold all around. … And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always. (Exodus 25:23-24, 30)

In regard to the table of showbread, one of the most esteemed Jewish commentators and teachers, Maimonides (also known as the Rambam), wrote: “I do not know the object of the table with the bread upon it continually, and up to this day I have not been able to assign any reason to this commandment.” He also acknowledged that, just because we don’t understand something that God has said, doesn’t mean there isn’t a purpose. The problem, in other words, doesn’t lie with God but with us — some times we just don’t understand.

The Hebrew phrase translated as “showbread” is lechem panim, which is literally the “bread of the face.” This refers to the fact that the showbread was placed in the presence — before the face — of the Almighty. Twelves loaves (corresponding to tribes of Israel), stacked in two columns of six, were baked fresh each Sabbath to replace those that had been on the table the previous week. Those that were replaced were given to the priests  to be eaten within the sanctuary.

Even though Maimonides didn’t assign any particular meaning to the command, perhaps we, as followers of Messiah, have a better perspective. To begin with, the manna that fed Israel in the wilderness — their daily bread — is associated with the word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3). Thus we conclude that bread is associated with the Word. Furthermore, we know that Messiah was born in Bethlehem — the house of bread — and that He associated Himself with the bread that fed the children of Israel, which then serves to emphasize His role as the Word of God.

Finally, because we are in Him and His Word abides in us, we too, become an expression of bread when we live according to the Word of God. He supplies us with our “daily bread” and we, in turn, share that bread with others. And because this is so, one day we will dwell in His Presence — we shall see His face. I wonder what Maimonides would have to say about that?

Blessings and Shalom,  




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