Exodus 30:1 "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 veil 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."
There were three pieces of furniture in the Holy Place: The golden lampstand and the table of shewbread, which we have already discussed in chapter 25, and the altar in incense, which is what the first half of this chapter is about. The altar of incense was not very big, a cubit being about 18 inches, it was about a foot and a half long, a foot and a half wide and three feet tall. It was made of shittim wood, like the ark of the covenant and overlaid with gold. This was an altar of incense, not an altar of sacrifice, and only a certain kind of incense was to be burned on it. The priests would burn incense every time they would light the lamps of the lampstand. The Bible uses incense as a symbol of prayer and praise in many places, so this altar was probably an altar of prayer. The altar of incense was in the Holy Place where only the priest could worship. In II Chronicles 26 you will find that King Uzziah was stricken with leprosy when he tried to enter the Holy Place. Verse 8 says there is to be a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. I Thessalonians tells us we are to pray without ceasing. The incense was to be on the altar both morning and evening. We are to pray continually to God!
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:"
The priest got contaminated when he was outside the tabernacle and had to wash before he could reenter, thus, the laver of brass. We also get dirty when we are out in the world every day and need to get "cleaned up" before we come before the Lord. The first thing the priest did when he entered the tabernacle was to wash in the laver. They washed when they went in and again when they came out! I know people today who have committed sin openly and yet come to church as if nothing is out of place. They sit in the same pew service after service and act as if they are clean and righteous before the Lord and yet the things they have done is known to most of the members of the church and their sin has gone unrepented of! How can people do this? And, why would they? If you are going to continue to live in sin, why come to church in the first place? You cannot worship God if you are unclean so you may as well stay at home. Now, I'm not talking about the unsaved ones who come to hear the word preached. I'm talking about the ones who have been saved but are out living in the dirt of the world and not "washing" themselves before they come to worship! They come into the presence of God as if nothing was wrong! We ought not to approach the throne of God with the dirt of the world on us! Please take time to examine yourself before you go into God's presence and if you have unconfessed sin in your life, ask forgiveness and come before Him with a clean heart!
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,"
They used oils of holy ointment to anoint the tabernacle but we are anointed with the Holy Spirit today. Without that anointment, we cannot ever hope to understand the word of God or discern His will for our lives. Aren't you glad we do not have to go to some man to have him pour oil on us? We can just go directly to God and ask Him to pour out His Spirit on us and give us understanding!
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."
The incense was made of sweet spices. Stacte was a gum that came from the trees on Mount Gilead and was, therefore, called the balm of Gilead. Onycha came from shell fish and galbanum came from leaves of a plant. These spices were blended with frankincense, an aromatic gum resin obtained from African and Asian trees of the genus Boswellia, and gave off a sweet incense that was not supposed to be duplicated or altered. If anyone did duplicate this formula for himself he was to be cut off from the rest of the people. If the formula was altered in anyway, it would not be accepted by God. This incense was made to be pleasing to God, not to man. Man was not to change it so that it would be more pleasing to the nostrils of people. Man is always trying to change the word of God to mean something more acceptable to people today but it doesn't work that way. God wants us to do things His way and we are to strive to please Him, not man!
EXODUS 31:1 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5 And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;"
This chapter is about the men who made the tabernacle and the furniture that was inside. These men were given special gifts for craftsmanship. They not only made the tabernacle furniture but also the priestly garments. God called them to do this work and He gave them the gift for their trade. God gives us all the gift to do something well, it is our job to find out what that gift is. I have seen so many people who are good singers want to teach and so many who can teach but want to sing. Many teachers should be Ministers and a lot of Ministers should be teachers. Find out what it is that you do well and do it! Don't beat your head against a wall trying to be something you aren't or trying to do something you are not equipped to do. I have taught piano for 25 years and I can't even begin to count the number of students I have had that have absolutely no musical ability. One such student I remember in particular. He hated piano lessons and hated to practice even more. One day I finally gave up on him. I asked him why he was taking lessons and he replied, "Because my Mom said if I didn't I couldn't be in Boy Scouts." I knew then that playing the piano was his mother's dream, not his. I told his mother not to bring him back but she persisted that he would be back the next week and he would know his songs (he had been on the same lesson for 5 or 6 weeks!). Sure enough, the next week he was back but still could not play the music. I told his mom not to bring him back under any circumstances. I told her that he didn't have any musical ability, he hated piano and that she was just wasting her money and my time. Instead, she should find something he was good at and liked to to. I saw this young man's father a few months later and asked about his son, he informed me that his wife had found him yet another music teacher. If you are trying to do something that God has not given you the talent for, you are only wasting your time. Time that would be better used perfecting what you do well!
12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
This is not the first giving of the Sabbath Day. The Sabbath (day of rest) was given to man right after the creation. In this chapter, God makes it clear that the Sabbath is only for the children of Israel. It was never intended for the church. Some believe we still rest and worship on the Sabbath Day, which is our Sunday, and that it has been changed from the last day of the week to the first day of the week. But the Sabbath Day was actually done away with, as far as the church is concerned. We do not observe Saturday, the last day of the week, as our sabbath. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. The church met on the first day of the week from the very beginning. The church was actually born on the first day of the week: the day of Pentecost. Those of Israel who did any work on the Sabbath were put to death, I don't see that happening today, do you? If anyone was found even gathering sticks on the Sabbath, he was stoned to death in Israel. Verse 16 says the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath. The church in the New Testament was given a new day in which to rest and worship, the first day of the week, the day when Jesus came forth from the tomb. Don't get me wrong here, though. We are still commanded to keep our sabbath. There are some jobs, such as tending the sick, caring for the elderly, preparing food and a myriad of other things that must be done on Sunday. Nor is it wrong to help a neighbor, change a tire or remove an ox from the ditch on Sunday. Even Jesus plucked corn on the Sabbath Day! (Matthew 12:1) But as well as we are able, we are to use Sunday for rest and worship - remembering that the Sabbath was made for man - not man for the Sabbath!
18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
God wrote the 10 commandments on two flat stones and Moses was to take them down and declare them to the people. But when he gets to the bottom of the mountain, he is in for a big surprise. We will find out what that is in Chapter 32.
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