Ephesians 1 – Purpose – God’s Presence-Bread (Showbread)


(Eph 1:11) In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Doesn’t this sound a whole lot like a very often used verse? Can you think of what it is? I’ll give you a little time to think on it.

I just inductively studied Ephesians Chapter 1, and in doing so, I noticed a few words that kept coming up: purpose, will, praise, and glory. Aren’t these three words describing things we all, deep down, are searching for? Haven’t each of us at one time or another tried to figure out our purpose in life? As Christians, aren’t we always talking about what is God’s will? And who doesn’t seek praise and/or glory? Come on, you know you do sometimes. When we do even the littlest things, don’t we want someone to see it? Don’t we want to hear, “good job,” “way to go,” or “congratulations?”

Interesting … They are all about accomplishments. But the truth we miss is that it was never meant to be about OUR accomplishments. I don’t see my name anywhere in these scriptures. Oh, and I just checked, I didn’t see your’s in there anywhere either. So why do we seek so hard for these things? I think it’s because we were designed to. Problem is, we’ve lost our focus. We were designed to seek those those FOR HIM, not for us.

Now, back to the verse at the top of this writing. One word jumped out at me, ‘purpose.’ In some versions of Ephesians 1, you will find three verses with the translated word of purpose, some have two. But, they are distinctly different words with different meanings if you go back to the original text.  In this particular verse according to Strong’s, this is what the original said:

prothesis (proth’-es-is) – From G4388; a setting forth, that is, (figuratively) proposal (intention); specifically the show bread (in the Temple) as exposed before God: – purpose, shew [-bread].

Show Bread? What is that? I had heard about it, but didn’t know what it was really all about, so I went to find out.

Showbread is mentioned in Exodus:

“And you shall place showbread on the table before Me at all times” (Ex. 25:30).

God requires the showbread to be on the table before Him at ALL TIMES. Not sometimes, not always, but ALL times. How often do we put our showbread (purposes) on the table before Him? STOP, there we go again, this isn’t even talking about our purposes, it’s talking about HIS purposes! HIS showbread. If we would wake up and make the only bread at our table His bread, we might find His purposes are much higher and valuable than what we could even imagine. HIS purposes at ALL times. Can we do that? I think we can, a better question is, “Why don’t we do that?”

It is said that [show] bread is the staff of life, and represents man’s physical sustenance.

His bread is our strength. Our bread is draining, if we only eat our bread, we’ll just get fat, lazy, and probably sick. But HIS bread -HIS bread is strength, nourishment. It gives us the ability to accomplish HIS purposes for our lives.

One aspect of its function was indeed to elicit Divine guidance and providence.

When was the last time we went to Him looking for bread? Seeking his guidance and providence for it? We are in such a fast paced world that we just take what ever bread is near us and gobble it up with very little thought. This is what I want and I want it now. So sad. We chose to eat day old bread when fresh bread is always available to us.

The Talmud describes that a miracle took place every week: When the priests came to replace the breads with new loaves every Sabbath, they found that those of the previous week remained fresh and hot upon the table, like the moment they were baked.

Oh, don’t you just LOVE the smell of fresh baked bread? Our showbread is cold, stale, molded, hard, and useless. Feed it to the birds. His? His is always fresh. It’s aroma is always pleasing. It is always hot. Why do we continually settle for anything less? Why do we always think ours is better? *shakes head* Notice also that even though the bread was fresh, the priests had to replace it.

A better term than “showbread” is the marginal reading of the Revised Version—”presence-bread” (Ex. xxv. 30), for this offering was required to be constantly before or in the presence of Yhwh.

Presence bread – purpose. Our purposes should constantly be before or in the presence of God. Our purposes should always be His, and not our own. How many times do we pick up a purpose we feel God has given us and just keep running with it? We don’t take time to revisit the Temple, the Holy of Holies, to see if it is really what is required of us? Maybe God wants us to change our showbread (purpose).

Did you think of the verse yet? I know you know it. Here look at this one again:

(Eph 1:11) In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

What if I said Romans 8 … yep, I bet you got it now!

(Rom 8:28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I just love to hear this quoted – and usually it’s out of context. What is cool is that this word translated as purpose in Ephesians is the exact same word used in Romans 8. Even cooler? Check it out – Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 are very similar.  Look at some of these quotes (Ephesians / Romans):

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  / 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. / 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal,the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.   / 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Read both of them in their entirety  you’ll see it. Here’s the error we make, we think He just works for us but that isn’t what either of these say. It says He works for Him, Christ works for Him, the Spirit works for Him, and guess what, WE work for Him. If we aren’t, then we don’t get the promise of “working all things.” When He is working all things, they are ALWAYS according to His purpose. He isn’t a wish granter.

The showbread (purpose) isn’t there for us, it’s there for Him. When the priests would come in each week and put fresh bread out, they were allowed to eat the bread, but it had to be eaten in a Holy Place because it was Holy.

When’s the last time you’ve taken HIS Holy Showbread (purpose) and eaten it in a Holy Place? There’s nothing stopping you from doing it now. Drop your plans, your fears, your ideas and pick up the Showbread that has been in HIS presence that stays always fresh, always hot, and always nourishing. Go on now, feed YOUR bread to the birds! Make sure you only take the showbread (purposes) that come from God. It is life sustaining – don’t wait!

——–

Sources:

http://www.templeinstitute.org/table_showbread.htm

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13611-showbread

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