It must have been a very exciting time for Moses, Aaron and the children of Israel. The Tabernacle was complete; everyone did their part to fulfill what God had asked them to do and now they were about to enjoy the benefit of having the presence of God with them in their camp. Before Moses, Aaron and his sons were allowed into the Tabernacle, there was something specific that God had asked them to do.
“He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Why would God require of them to wash their hands before they came into the tent of meeting? Yes, it did have to do with some type of cleansing; yet the water did not cleanse them of their sin. It also did not sanitize them because there wasn’t any Purell in the middle of the desert. So, what was the purpose? It was symbolic. God wanted them to make sure when they came into His presence, they were clean. That can be very applicable to us today. When we come into the presence of God in worship, study or prayer, it is wise to make sure we come with the right mind, the right heart and the right attitude. So, just as Moses and Aaron did before they came into the presence of God, we too need to “wash up” so to speak.