Hope you are keeping warm and finding your own sunshine these gray, cold days of January!
As I am reading through the Bible this year, I find notes I jotted on my last read through of this particular version in 2020.
I shared one on the blog yesterday and here is the other one I found from Exodus 30.
In the chapters around this, Moses is on Mount Sinai getting instructions from God about so many things like feasts, the building of the Tabernacle, how to do sacrifices and make garments for the priests and a ton of other details.
This is the portion of Scripture that jumped out at me when I was reading in 2020 regarding the directions for mixing the anointing oil and incense for various activities in the Tabernacle and later the Temple.
“Tell the Israelites: This will be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. It must not be used for ordinary anointing on a person’s body and you must not make anything like it using the formula. It is holy and it must be holy to you. Anyone who blends something like it or puts some of it on an unauthorized person must be cut off from his people.”Exodus 30: 31-33
In the previous verses God has given Moses the exact recipe for this oil.
* 500 shekels of liquid myrrh
* 250 shekels of fragrant calamus
* 500 shekels of cassia
* a hin of olive oil
So the exact ingredients were given and apparently everyone would have access to the materials needed, but God said clearly that no one was to make this up for themselves and it was never to be used for anything except its intended purpose the place of worship to God.
It was the same with the incense that would be burned on a special altar made just for that purpose.
I work in a store where we have a variety of candles and soaps.
They smell wonderful and often a customer will purchase one they were not intending to buy just because it smells so good they want It for their home.
I am sure this oil and incense were wonderful to smell.
I am sure people might think it would be nice to have some for personal use.
But God reserved it to keep it holy.
I wrote in my journal that day,
How like us to want something wonderful and holy and special that belongs to God or someone else for ourselves.
The scent was special for God.
It was holy and dedicated to a holy purpose and was not to be used for the ordinary.
I think that is something I struggle with in this culture.
There is a lack of things set apart for holiness.
While the curtain was definitely torn when Christ died for us, and we now have access to the Holy of Holies, I fear often times we have translated that into…the Holy of Holies is not so Holy anymore and we can just tramp in there and act how we want and tell God how things are and leave our candy wrappers and plastic water bottle there on the ground and head on out into the mainstream of our day.
I encourage you and me to remember that our “quiet times” and Sunday services and our prayers and our worship, our moments when we approach the throne, are times where we are entering the Holy of Holies.
Perhaps we could be more intentional to stop and breathe in the incense and scented oil that is special and extraordinary and set apart.
Let’s find ways to practice reverence and an understanding that God is Holy and so far above us and that the fact that we can approach Him is a great gift of grace.