Exodus 30 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
Stench and filth would overwhelm any Israelite entering into the court of the tabernacle if it were not for the ordinances given in this chapter. One can only imagine the foul smells that would regularly emanate from all the blood and innards spilled within the complex on a typical day and how the priests themselves would be regularly covered in a combination of dirt and blood.
In ancient times most houses of royalty would receive tribute from their subjects in various forms of crops and livestock, which we be brought into the courts of the kings. In order to maintain a sense of decorum and respectability in his courts, the king’s servants regularly burned incense so that all could breathe freely. Likewise, most ancient pagan temples did the same. So God’s tabernacle and later His temple were not unique in this regard.
Incense not only has odiferous qualities, it also conveys a sense of mystery and easily turns the eyes of the one observing it toward heaven. This seems to be the reason that the burning of incense is often associated with prayer, for they both rise up toward heaven. And since the incense itself presents a pleasing aroma to the senses, it assures us that our prayers are not only acceptable to God but are, in fact, quite pleasing to Him.
But we must keep in mind that in and of ourselves, our prayers are not acceptable to God. Just as the Israelites needed the high priest to enter into the Holy Place in order to serve as a mediator between them and God, so our prayers can only be received by the Father through the mediation of His Son Jesus, who has ascended into heaven not only to offer himself as a sacrifice for sin, but also to intercede for us as His people and to allow our prayers to be joined to His that they might be acceptable and pleasing to God.
Understanding that we are not worry to come before the Lord and that our foul sins would offend the Holy God, we pray in the name of Jesus, expecting to be heard. Of course, this is not some small privilege. For us as Gentiles especially, it is a wonder and a mercy that the Lord doesn’t despise our prayers but encourages us to come boldly before the throne of God, offering our tribute of praise and making our humble petitions to our good and gracious King.