God instructs Moses that the artisans should make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread along with fine linen. Two edges would be joined by straps and the ephod would have a colorful band.
They were also instructed to take two onyx stones and engrave the names of the sons of Israel on them: six on one and six on the other. They were to be set in gold settings and mounted to the shoulders of the ephod. Aaron would then bear the names of the sons of Israel as a memorial. There would be braided chains between the settings.
What is the significance of this piece of clothing, this uniform for the high priest? First, only the finest materials were to be used in the service of the Lord. Second, a memorial to their ancestors was an important part of the service of the Lord. Finally, they were to use pure items for the service of the Lord. The finest materials (fine linen, fine thread) were the only thing fit for a King and a God. When we give God our best, we honor Him as the best and most excellent being in all the universe. The memorial reminded the Israelites of their heritage, but also of the covenant between God and the Israelites. It is important for us to remember the relationship and the powerful commitment God made to us through the work of Jesus on Calvary. The pure gold and onyx represents the fact that we should live in purity and continually appreciate the purity of God as He imparts it unto us. Just like the ephod represented the great things of God and how we should worship Him, so we should live for God today. May God help us to worship in excellence, covenant, and purity!