Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Shadow

“You are to make the altar for the burning of incense… Overlay its top, all around its sides, and its horns with pure gold; make a gold molding all around it.” “Take for yourself the finest spices: 12 and a half pounds of liquid myrrh, half as much (six and a quarter pounds) of fragrant cinnamon, six and a quarter pounds of fragrant cane, 12 and a half pounds of cassia (by the sanctuary shekel), and one gallon of olive oil. Prepare from these a holy anointing oil.” (Exodus 30:1, 3, 22-25)

People read through verses like these above with glazed over eyes. This section in Exodus provides some of the “specs” for building the Tabernacle and its furnishings, and there does not appear to be much spiritual application. But maybe we should take a second look.

A primary ingredient in the Tabernacle, which was to be a place of sacrifice and worship and atonement, was gold. Most of the furnishings were to be overlaid with gold. The lamp was to be of solid gold. Gold generally represents endless value and beauty and durability. It is known as a precious metal.

Incense was to be burned on an altar specifically constructed for that purpose. The formula for the incense mixture was to include: stacte, onycha, galbanum, salt, and frankincense.

The Lord further instructed Moses to formulate an anointing oil, which he was to use to anoint the furnishings of the Tabernacle, Aaron and his sons as priests, and their priestly garments. Oil would later be used as well to anoint prophets, priests, and kings. One of the primary ingredients for this holy anointing oil was liquid myrrh.

So, in this one chapter about seemingly mundane matters we find references to gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Do these ring a bell?

When the Magi from the east came following a star to meet the baby who was born King of the Jews, they stated to Herod, “We have come to worship Him.” When they finally found the child, “Falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:2,11-12)

Thus, the Tabernacle furnishings with all its details provided a kind of “shadow” of what was yet to come. Maybe verses like those in Exodus are no so mundane after all.

Lord, Help us to love Your word – all of it – more and more each day. Amen.

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