And you shall make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, of blue…
A full description of the breastplate is given twice over in the Book of Exodus, and from it we may gather certain useful lessons as to the Church in all ages.
I. There were twelve stones in the breastplate, EACH OF THEM DIFFERENT, AND EACH BEARING A DIFFERENT NAME. This shows what variety there is among believers. So long as the human race differs so much in mental structure, we shall not be able to think alike, even in those things that are spoken of in Holy Writ. There are differences with regard to worship, differences in religious feelings and experiences; the stones are not alike, yet they are all on the same breastplate.
II. This brings us to another truth — THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH, ALL DIFFERING, YET ALL ON THE HEART OF CHRIST. The enemy has only to show himself, and men who differ amongst themselves agree to drive him back.
III. They were all precious stones; NOT ONE WAS MEAN OR CONTEMPTIBLE. God's Church has ever been costly. No jewel is what it afterwards becomes when first found. Let not the stone which sparkles in its setting sneer at that which only looks like a pebble. The Master has chosen it; He knows that He has put within its rude exterior that which only needs time and skill to make it "shine as the stars for ever and ever."
IV. Why were those precious stones put upon the breastplate? They were not on the mitre; THEY WERE UPON THE HEART, TEACHING US THAT THE CHURCH IS BELOVED. Every believer is on the heart of God.
V. GREAT PAINS WERE TAKEN TO KEEP THE BREASTPLATE FROM BEING LOST. It was not only fastened to the shoulders by chains, but the bottom part of the breastplate was fastened by two rings lashed to the two rings in the ephod. This tells us of the Church's security.
Parallel VersesKJV: And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
WEB: "You shall make a breastplate of judgment, the work of the skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, you shall make it.