In Exodus 30 the Lord gives Moses, in great detail, instructions about how to make the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:22-33) and the incense (Ex. 30:34-38) to be used in temple worship. And He gives specific commands about each. For the anointing oil He said:
Exodus 30:25-30 – “And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony; the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base. You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy. And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests.”
God then tells His people the importance of what He has just commanded them to do.
Exodus 30:31 – “And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations.’ “
But there’s a warning. What has been deemed holy by the Lord is not to be used for personal pleasure or gain. Man is not to benefit from what is reserved for God alone. He said, “This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me (not to you) throughout your generations” (Ex. 30:31).
The Lord knew then, as He knows now, how easily we can turn worship into something we like and forget about the One it’s designed to honor. We play the worship music we enjoy, preach the sermons that make us feel good, and anoint anything we feel like anointing. Our times together to worship the Lord often digress into something that makes us feel better about who we are and not about Who we belong to.
Listen to the warning God gives about making a profit from what belongs only to Him.
Exodus 30:32-33 – “It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people.”
You are not to pour My oil out on whom you desire nor make some for yourself using the recipe I have given you. This is for Me and Me alone. “It is holy, and it shall be holy to you” (Ex. 30:32).
God gave the same command and warnings about the incense. After detailing the specific combination of spices He desired, God then tells His children exactly where to place the incense and why.
Exodus 30:36 – “And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.”
This incense is to be placed where God has chosen to meet with His people— a most holy place. And “it shall be most holy to you.” It is not to be used in your home, sold on Amazon, or used in any other way God has not specifically prescribed. Why? Because its purpose is to prepare a place for God to meet with man— a most holy place. And not to make your car smell better.
Again, there’s a warning.
Exodus 30:37-38 – “But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the LORD. Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.”
You are not to make any incense for yourself for any reason. Why? Because “it shall be to you holy for the Lord.” It’s not for you, just for Him. And what happens if we choose to ignore His warnings and commands and personally profit from what belongs for Him alone? He says the person who does this “shall be cut off from his people.” They will no longer be covered under His covenant. They shall be as a foreigner, an outcast to Him.
Cut Off From His People
Take a few minutes this Sunday and watch a couple of church services online. Especially from a mega church. How much of what you see is designed to glorify and worship the Lord? And how much is planned to make the congregation feel comfortable and want to come back next Sunday?
Then go look at your own service this Sunday. How much of what is done is for the benefit of you, or for the adoration of the Lord? Is the “special music” for your enjoyment, or for His? And speaking of music, do you even know what kind of music the Lord enjoys? Is it traditional? Contemporary? Psalms only? With or without instruments? Does He enjoy loud guitars and a light show? Or is that just for us?
And the message? Does it lift up Him and His glory and attributes? Or is it more about you and your problems and how the Lord can “get you through to the other side?” Are you encouraged to verbally proclaim the beauty and majesty of the Lord or to turn to your neighbor and say, “You look good today?”
What kind of worship truly worships the Lord? What type of service would He design if we ever took the time to ask Him?
These are some questions I hope you’ll think about before you head out next Sunday for church. Because it’s supposed to be all about Him, and not about us.
Something to think about, isn’t it?