Welcome to Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is introducing us to the free will offering of incense – spices brought forward by the people and a grinding and perfuming process completed by the High Priest.
-Take a sacred offering for the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord:
spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; Exodus 35:5,8
-And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations. Exodus 30:7-8
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation 5:8
The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4
The aroma has become so familiar to me that even one whiff will set my mind in the direction of evening time, and resting. In fact, my husband has become acquainted with that aroma, even though he himself does not use the fragrance. It is the fragrance of the oil that I massage into my diseased joints, night after night: the pure oil of Frankincense. Recommended by many who are familiar with the healing properties of essential oils, Frankincense has many benefits, both by documented sources and oral traditions.
But did you know that Frankincense has another kind of history? Why did the Magi bring that specific gift to the infant Christ? And how were the Ancient Hebrews so familiar with that fragrance?
We first hear of Frankincense and its appointment in the 30th chapter of Exodus, as the building of the Tabernacle and its appointments are being directed by the Lord. A special altar set aside for offering incense to the Lord was described, as well as the special ingredients for the making of the incense offered there. Frankincense, with its Hebrew meaning closely associated with the Hebrew word for the color white, was an aromatic resin to be combined with other highly fragrant plants and resins, for a special combination of odors to be offered continually before the Lord.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the Ark of the Covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the LORD.’” Exodus 30:34-37
Holy, set apart, consecrated for the Lord’s service only, this combination was recognized as something not to be taken lightly, something that signified the Presence of the LORD in their midst. And, yet, when a small baby was born in the tiny village of Bethlehem, ancient scholars, traveling to witness a prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes, gave three very special gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were acknowledging the presence of Royalty, and the presence of the Most High God in their midst. Jesus, the Son of God, dwelling here in the world of men.
Fast forward a few decades, and Jesus’ disciple, the one who was called “The Beloved of the Lord” gave us another picture of the sweet fragrance of the incense. This time, in his vision of the actual Heavenly Temple and the Lamb of God upon His throne, John was told how we, the people of God have a place before our Lord’s throne:
“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” Revelation 5:8
The color white
Pure and sweet
A fragrant offering lifted up
As the smoke of the Incense
Rose before my LORD.
Of the Lord’s Incense
Set apart as Holy, consecrated
Expression of Worship
Rose before my LORD.
The Christ Child
Sent to dwell below
With the people of this world
Expression of Royalty
Rising before the LORD.
The Christ Gift
Given so pure
For the sins of us so dark
A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice
Rising before the LORD
Deep calls unto Deep
My wounded Life
He now covers with His own
Rising before the LORD
Worship so pure
Prayers set free
He is calling from my heart
As a new Incense
Rising before HIS Throne.
Will you join Anna and I in prayer today?
Thank You that Your Holy Spirit carries every prayer of Your Son in us – our Great High Priest, who was crushed for our iniquities – before Your holy throne. Thank You that Your Son holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Thank You that, he is therefore able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to You through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
We bow before You now, as we acknowledge that there is none like You, the Only God who listens and hears His people when they cry. May our voices be sweet to Your ears, and may our praises be glorious before You now. In the name of Your precious Son Jesus we pray. Amen.
And we welcome you to join us in the coming days for our daily free will offerings of incense in Christ Jesus that we pray encourage you to bring forward your own free will offerings of incense in Christ Jesus.