Saturday, May 30, 2009

Verse of the Day-- Exodus 30:25

"Make these into a sacred annointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred annointing oil." Exodus 30:25

As God lays out the precepts and procedures for Tabernacle worship, He fully engages all of the human senses. The preceding verses in Exodus 30 list an exact recipe for the sacred annointing oil, which was comprised of myrrh, fragrant cinnamon, fragrant cane, cassia and olive oil. It must have had a very distinctive aroma.

I make preparations from essential oils. The scents come in tiny bottles of essential oil, and I mix them by drops in "carrier" oils which are predominantly unscented, or very lightly scented. I can custom make moisturizers, preparations to treat various skin conditions, and facial products. I have a small cardboard box in my closet where I store all my essential oil materials, and it smells so nice!

Reading the recipe for sacred annointing oil makes me want to go online and order the ingredients to try it out and see what it was like.

However, God's Law goes on to warn against casual usage of the sacred annointing oil... "Anoint Aaron and his sons [the holy priesthood chosen by God] and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, 'This is to be my sacred annointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on men's bodies and do not make any oil with the sacred formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. Whoever makes perfume like it and whoever puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from his people.'" (Exodus 30:30-33)

I'm pretty sure "cut off from his people" means put to death, but even if it just means that he would be banished forever, it is a pretty harsh consequence for stealing a perfume recipe. Or is it?

The issue is what is sacred. There have been many discussions about the sacred and the profane. Sacred things are holy, set apart, things of God. Profane things are common, earthy, and sometimes sinful. The books of the Law show God making clear delineations between the two and keeping them separate.

Under grace, we who belong to Jesus are sacred, because we have His Holy Spirit inside of us. Everything we do should have that sacred aroma of His presence about it. 1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit who is in us because we have received Him from God.

Sometimes we take for granted the incredible blessing God has bestowed on us in granting us this sacred standing. Sometimes as we live in this physical, material world, we feel that to be set apart and holy is too hard and we blur the line between the sacred and profane, assuming (wrongly) that since we are sacred, anything we do is therefore sacred by association. Sometimes we actually stop living like God's children and seek instead to emulate the world. I don't expect that this is particularly pleasing to Him.

Under grace, rather than being required to obey an impossible system of laws, we are filled with the Holy Spirit who enables us to love God, love God's Word, and love God's ways. Ultimately this begets Spirit fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22), and we start to act like Jesus, and eventually even look like Him (see Ephesians 4:17-32, Colossians 3:1-17, 2 Peter 1:3-11).

Then, when we come before God, we not only look and sound beautiful in our actions and our words... we even smell beautiful. His sacred annointing is poured out on us (2 Corinthians 1:21--He anointed us), and we are perfumed with the glorious scent of His grace.


  1. Hi Ruth and Ladies, I am such a computer klutz, but I just wanted Ruth to know how much I appreciate this blog. I like the above passage about the sacred oil, because it reminds me that God meets us where we live. He is, among other things, about beauty and sight and scent and touch. It reminds me of Jesus making breakfast for the disciples and of His being a carpenter who worked with his hands. I love that God allows us to relate to him in such physical ways. Whenever I'm working in my garden and a cool breeze brings relief from the heat, I stop and thank Him. I love that those kinds of things bring my focus back to Him. This, I think, may remind some people of pantheism, but I don't think of it that way at all. It's not that God is in all things; it's that He has created all things. Anyway, thanks again Ruth.

  2. Thank you Chris, that was beautiful. Creation is for all the senses, God is for all the senses. He made our senses and everything we sense. Praise His Name!