Saturday, December 15, 2007

The best perfume

"And Jehovah said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight; and thou shalt make of it incense, a perfume after the art of the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy: and thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. And the incense which thou shalt make, according to the composition thereof ye shall not make for yourselves: it shall be unto thee holy for Jehovah. Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereof, he shall be cut off from his people." Exodus 30:34-38

God was busy telling Moses how to make his portable worship center for the Jews to have as they traveled around the desert after being freed from Egypt. So what is up with the perfume? It says how to bake up some nice spicy perfume to have around the sacrificing area. I wonder what it smelled like in there, a lot of burned fat mixed with new blood splashed everywhere mixed with old blood from previous splashings. In any case, incense was also to be part of the smell. My question is, if they have some great recipe for a good smell, why restrict it to the temple? What is the deal with this instruction at the end: do not make any on your own, just because you like the smell? Surely there is some other bad smell that needs covering up. No flush toilets and no refrigeration makes for some toxic fumes!

God wants the best for himself. And His instruction to His people is to bring Him the very best. Not the left-overs. Not the side-jobs. And not only the first bit, but the best of the best is to be for God. And still now, God wants this from us. It is what God deserves. And it is what makes us connected with reality and truth in the most real way: Bringing God the best that is in us. The best that we can make. The best that we are. That belongs in the temple of God, in worship.

So, when we give to God in our gifts to the poor, are we bringing the left-overs? The stuff we don't want from too much shopping in the clothing section? When we go to church, do we make sure we have maximized our fun time the night before, even if it means sleeping through the sermon? Why are our church programs look like so many left-overs? Why are our fellowship times filled with distraction? Is it not that we do not bring the best to God? Is it not that we are busy making perfume for ourselves that belongs in God's house?


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