(See Psalm 141:2).
The prayer of a contrite believer ascends as a fragrant cloud to God (Proverbs 15:8).
1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.
2 A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same.
3 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.
4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.
5 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
6 And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.
7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.
9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.
11 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.
15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
17 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:
21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.
22 ¶ Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
24 And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:
25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
28 And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
33 Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.
34 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:
35 And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:
36 And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.
37 And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD.
38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.
Exodus 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 30:1-10 – The Altar of Incense
It seems late in the story of the Tabernacle that the incense-altar should be only mentioned now; but it is not unsuitable, because intercessory prayer, which it represents, is the crown and climax of the religious life. When our Lord had finished His sacrificial death, He passed into the heavens to make intercession for us. In Revelation 8:3, 4, the veil is lifted, and we are allowed to behold Him, standing by the golden altar in heaven, and adding much incense to the prayers of all saints. What a wealth of prayer is ever passing through those gracious hands and that loving heart! John 17 is the Golden Altar of Scripture; let us often worship there. But, alas, these earthly altars soon get defiled, even by our prayers, and need the blood that speaketh peace. All our prayer requires the blood of at-one-ment. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Exodus 30:11-21 – The Atonement Money and the Laver
The atonement money was paid by all alike, to remind them that they were a redeemed race, and that so far as their value was concerned, neither rank, nor age, nor money made any difference. See Romans 3:22-24; 10:12, 13. The rich might not give more, lest he be made proud; the poor must not give less, so that he might be leveled up by the common mercy of God.
The laver reminds us of our need of daily washing. See John 13. It is very necessary to our peace and strength to repair constantly to Christ with confession and prayer. See I John 1:6, 7. The laver was made out of the looking-glasses of the women. See Exodus 38:8. It was a good use for them, and was altogether appropriate, for the Word of God is compared to a mirror for its revealing qualities, and to water for cleansing. See James 1:23; Ephesians 5:26. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Exodus 30:22-38 – The Anointing Oil and the Incense
The anointing oil was extremely rich and costly. Pure myrrh; sweet cinnamon, imported probably from Sumatra or China; sweet calamus, the product of India or Mesopotamia; cassia, from Java, were the principal ingredients. Such a combination must have produced a delightful fragrance! The use of this oil was restricted to the holy service of the Tabernacle, and reminds us of “an unction from the Holy One”—i.e., the anointing by the Holy Spirit. See Leviticus 8:10-12 and I John 2:20.
Christ is the Anointed, and He sheds the oil of joy on our heads, as one by one we yield ourselves to His service. See Acts 2:33. The oil was not to be poured on “man’s flesh.” We must deny the flesh, with its affections and lusts, that we may be filled with the Spirit. Calvary before Pentecost!
The incense also was carefully prepared, and thus we are taught that prayers should not be uttered rashly or lightly; but with reverence, deliberation and forethought. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Exodus 30:32 – Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured.
What perpetual references to the work of the Holy Spirit, under the symbol of the Anointing Oil, meet us in these chapters. It becomes us to ask ourselves very seriously whether we lay an equal stress on it in our daily experience. Is it true of us, as of those to whom the Beloved Apostle wrote, that the anointing which we received abideth in us? It is not enough to have the Spirit in us for sanctification; He must be on us for service and ministry.
But He cannot come on the flesh of the natural man; He descends only to those who are washed, consecrated, set apart for God. Many claim the Holy Spirit’s anointing, and try to reckon they have received it; but they find it fails, because they desire it for the flesh.
There must be no yielding to fleshly appetite.—When we were in the flesh, sinful passions wrought in our members. But there must be no permission given in these directions. A calm, reverent, self-disciplined nature is alone fitted to be the seat of the Holy Ghost, His nest and home.
There must be no gratification to worldly pride and ambition.—Too many are eager for the Holy Ghost, that they may be able to make a name, or gather an audience; but God is not likely to give us His river of throne-water to turn the mill-wheels of personal ambition.
There must be no fleshly striving after it.—We wrestle and struggle to win the Spirit, and miss Him. It is only when our hope of attaining this blessing by our own efforts dies down, and we are humbled and broken before God; when we cry out to Him to give what we cannot win, that He draws near and gives the best of all His donations. —Our Daily Homily