Exodus – God’s Way Out!
Are we made to travel, made to get up and go when necessary or when God tells us to go? It has occurred to me, rather slowly, that every item in God’s Holy Tent of Meeting has very specific purpose AND each item is made for travel. Gold rings are strategically placed on the sides to serve as holders for poles. Why? So God’s people, designated by Him and ordained to carry, could pick up the items and travel with them. Everything, even the Tent of Meeting…is a tent. Tents can be taken down, folded and readied for travel.
Mm, just thinking out loud here…Paul said our bodies (sanctuaries for God’s abiding) are like tents on this earth. “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.”
2 Corinthians 5:1
Tents can travel when God says to move. He will go with His people and the Tent of Meeting He chooses to reside in. Tents are temporary. Keep this in mind as we continue our journey through the Old Testament. There will be a time when the people will worship the place of meeting more than God and trouble will come.
HOLY PAUSE Batman, just feeling silly, quarantine, you know
Do we worship the place more than God?
What are we missing most by staying at home?
Where does God reside for you?
Are we missing God?
Hopefully, we are just missing God’s people who gather…for they are the church, the Body of Christ. Zoom is okay but…
Exodus 30, The Message
The Altar of Incense
1-5 “Make an Altar for burning incense. Construct it from acacia wood, one and one-half feet square and three feet high with its horns of one piece with it. Cover it with a veneer of pure gold, its top, sides, and horns, and make a gold molding around it with two rings of gold beneath the molding. Place the rings on the two opposing sides to serve as holders for poles by which it will be carried. Make the poles of acacia wood and cover them with a veneer of gold.
6-10 “Place the Altar in front of the curtain that hides the Chest of The Testimony, in front of the Atonement-Cover that is over The Testimony where I will meet you. Aaron will burn fragrant incense on it every morning when he polishes the lamps, and again in the evening as he prepares the lamps for lighting, so that there will always be incense burning before God, generation after generation. But don’t burn on this Altar any unholy incense or Whole-Burnt-Offering or Grain-Offering. And don’t pour out Drink-Offerings on it. Once a year Aaron is to purify the Altar horns. Using the blood of the Absolution-Offering of atonement, he is to make this atonement every year down through the generations. It is most holy to God.”
11-16 God spoke to Moses: “When you take a head count of the Israelites to keep track of them, all must pay an atonement-tax to God for their life at the time of being registered so that nothing bad will happen because of the registration. Everyone who gets counted is to give a half-shekel (using the standard Sanctuary shekel of a fifth of an ounce to the shekel)—a half-shekel offering to God. Everyone counted, age twenty and up, is to make the offering to God. The rich are not to pay more nor the poor less than the half-shekel offering to God, the atonement-tax for your lives. Take the atonement-tax money from the Israelites and put it to the maintenance of the Tent of Meeting. It will be a memorial fund for the Israelites in honor of God, making atonement for your lives.”
17-21 God spoke to Moses: “Make a bronze Washbasin; make it with a bronze base. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar. Put water in it. Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and feet in it. When they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the Altar to serve there or offer gift offerings to God, they are to wash so they will not die. They are to wash their hands and their feet so they will not die. This is the rule forever, for Aaron and his sons down through the generations.”
Holy Anointing Oil
22-25 God spoke to Moses: “Take the best spices: twelve and a half pounds of liquid myrrh; half that much, six and a quarter pounds, of fragrant cinnamon; six and a quarter pounds of fragrant cane; twelve and a half pounds of cassia—using the standard Sanctuary weight for all of them—and a gallon of olive oil. Make these into a holy anointing oil, a perfumer’s skillful blend.
26-29 “Use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the Chest of The Testimony, the Table and all its utensils, the Lampstand and its utensils, the Altar of Incense, the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offerings and all its utensils, and the Washbasin and its base. Consecrate them so they’ll be soaked in holiness, so that anyone who so much as touches them will become holy.
30-33 “Then anoint Aaron and his sons. Consecrate them as priests to me. Tell the Israelites, ‘This will be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations.’ Don’t pour it on ordinary men. Don’t copy this mixture to use for yourselves. It’s holy; keep it holy. Whoever mixes up anything like it, or puts it on an ordinary person, will be expelled.”
34-38 God spoke to Moses: “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha, galbanum—and add pure frankincense. Mix the spices in equal proportions to make an aromatic incense, the art of a perfumer, salted and pure—holy. Now crush some of it into powder and place some of it before The Testimony in the Tent of Meeting where I will meet with you; it will be for you the holiest of holy places. When you make this incense, you are not to copy the mixture for your own use. It’s holy to God; keep it that way. Whoever copies it for personal use will be excommunicated.”
Aaron was to burn sweet incense upon this altar, every morning and every evening, about half a pound at a time, which was intended, not only to take away the ill smell of the flesh that was burnt daily on the brazen altar, but for the honor of God, and to show that His people accepted their work to God with pleasure.
COMPARISONS TO CHRIST
This incense-altar symbolizes the mediation of Christ.
The brazen altar in the courtyard signified Christ dying on earth; the golden altar in the sanctuary signified Christ interceding in heaven.
This altar was before the mercy-seat; for Christ always appears in the presence of God for us; he is our advocate with the father (1 John 2:1), and His intercession is unto God of a sweet-smelling Savor.
This altar had a crown fixed to it; for Christ intercedes as king. Father, I will, John 17:24. 2.
The devotions of the saints, whose prayers are said to be brought before God as incense, Ps. 141:2 “as a fragrant offering to God”. As the smoke of the incense ascended, so much our desires towards God rise in prayer, being kindled with the fire of holy love for God.
When the priest was burning incense the people were praying (Luke 1:10), to signify that prayer is the true incense. This incense was offered daily, it was a perpetual incense signifying that we must pray always, that is, we must keep up stated times for prayer every day, morning and evening, at least, and never omit it, but “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
The lamps were dressed or lighted at the same time that the incense was burnt, to teach us that the reading of the scriptures is our light and lamp, a part of our daily work, and should ordinarily accompany our prayers and praises.
FINAL THOUGHTS (With the help of Matthew Henry, Commentator)
“When we speak to God we must hear what God says to us, and therefore the communion is complete. The devotions of sanctified souls are well-pleasing to God, of a sweet-smelling savoir; the prayers of saints are compared to sweet odors (Rev. 5:8), but it is the incense which Christ adds to them that makes them acceptable (Rev. 8:3), and his blood that atones for the guilt which cleaves to our best services. And, if the heart and life be not holy, even incense is an abomination (Isa. 1:13), and he that offers it is as if he blessed an idol, Isa. 56:3.”
God knows our hearts. Come to Him sincerely, humbly, honestly and reverently. He sees what we don’t see.
How “fragrant” is our talk and walk?
Are we ready to go when God gives us His marching orders for us?
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are God and we are not. We come to you humbly seeking you with all that is in us. We want what you want. Make your desires for us be our desires. Change our minds, Fill our souls with all of you. Open our eyes to see your Truth in all circumstances. Open our ears to hear you above everyone else. Soften our hearts to love like you love us. Flush out all the darkness within us with your overwhelming Light. Cleanse us by the power of Your Holy Spirit living in us. Transform us to be all you created us to be…then do. Heal our land. Thank you Jesus for being our advocate Savior.
In Jesus Name, Amen