You shall make the breastplate of judgment. Artistically woven according to the workmanship of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, you shall make it. (Exodus 28:15)
The breastplate was surely something to behold and, more importantly, something to promote wonder and consideration. First note that it was made of the same materials and colors as the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Sanctuary. No doubt this was to remind all, particularly the High Priest, of the sanctity of his office — he was the one who would represent the people to the Most High and would, in turn, represent God to the people. This duty is likely why the breastplate was specifically called the breastplate of judgment. It was his responsibility to teach the people to use good judgement and it was given to him to seek forgiveness on behalf of the people so that God would judge them with mercy and grace.
At first glance, judgement always seems to carry such a negative stigma — we identify it with punishment which, in some cases, is quite accurate. However, judgment doesn’t necessarily have to be bad and oftentimes, for the blameless, it is tantamount to vindication. In a court of law, there is typically a plaintiff — the one bringing an accusation — and a defendant. Presiding over the hearing is a judge. If the judge is righteous he will make a decision based on the testimony presented by both sides as it relates to the laws of the land. In other words, whether or not judgment is bad or good is dependent on what side of law you happen to be on. If you have broken the law, you will leave the courtroom with a judgment against you expecting to pay the penalty imposed by the verdict. If you are innocent you will emerge from the court vindicated.
All of us, like sheep, have gone astray and done according to our will. All of us have sinned and have come short of the glory of God exposing us to a guilty verdict and the penalty that goes along with that. As followers of the Messiah, we recognize Him as our High Priest, and thus, our advocate. He has not only paid our penalty for the judgment against us but actively represents us before the Judge of the whole earth. It is He who pleads our case when the accuser of the brethren rails against us. Today, and everyday, let us be thankful that Yeshua stands between us and the penalty of sin. Furthermore, let us walk in righteousness so that, when judgment comes, we stand vindicated before God and the world to the glory of our Messiah.
Blessings and Shalom,