Exodus 30:1-6. In the last chapter, we saw how God provided Jesus as our High Priest that we might be consecrated and ordained priests under His headship. What an amazing gift and priveledge! Now in chapter 30, He demonstrates through these Old Testament instructions, how we grow in relationship and spiritual maturity, as well as serve Him in our new position as priest.
First, of primary importance, is prayer. The Altar of incense is our guiding symbol. It is made of acacia wood, which is used in much of the tabernacle and its furnishings. Acacia wood has so many special properties: very durable, does not scratch easily, water resistant, does not warp easily, resistant to fungus, antibacterial so that even food can be served on it.
Do you see how this is to be the core of a follower of Jesus, and to be one of His priests to minister to others in this world? We are to be durable, enduring, and faithful. We should not easily be scratched, irritated, or damaged. In Him, we are strong and of good courage. We resist stormy waters by focusing on Jesus. We do not let deception warp us. We do not allow the things of the world to grow and heap up on us to consume us like fungus. We do not allow corruption to grow in us like bacteria through tolerance of evil and compromising the truth. We serve good, nutritious, pure, healthy food of truth and salvation to ourselves and others through Jesus. Hallelujah!
The top of this alter is square with 4 horns, one in each corner, made of 1 piece. We are the body of Christ, who is above all, on top. The horns represent power, strength, and authority under Him and in His house. We are one body, but covering all 4 corners of the earth (north, south, east, west).
The whole altar is covered in pure gold. The special properties of gold make it really precious with enduring value. And so, we are precious in the sight of God forever! Gold is lustrous, shiny, and beautiful…reflecting His glory! To gain this beauty it must be refined by fire. Gold is a heavy and long lasting metal, resisting corrosion and decay. Jesus preserves and purifies us into eternity. Yet, gold is also a soft metal making it mailable and pliable, not brittle. Gold can be hammered into shape, even a very thin sheet, to suit the purpose. We are refined by the fires of the Holy Spirit to be pure and then hammered into the shape of His purposes. So, we crucify the flesh, endure the fires, be pliable in His hands. We are not brittle easily broken or fractured at the work of His hands….we cooperate with Him.
In verse 6, the altar is put in front of the curtain before the Holy of Holies which holds the presence of God upon the mercy seat/atonement cover of the ark of the Covenant. We are reminded that the 10 commandments are inside that Ark. God must be truth and righteous. He upholds good and judges evil. Yet, He has mercy for His people who are imperfect. This is the time before Jesus became our payment and sacrifice for sin, so the curtain separated His imperfect people from His perfect holy presence. The place of the prayer altar is where He could speak to them.
Today, prayer is still our place of fellowship. We can hear His voice at the place of the altar of prayer. But now, we are not separated by a curtain. We can enter His holy presence through Jesus! He has wiped away our sin, cleansed us, purified us like gold, that we may be made righteous in Jesus finished work! Remember how at Jesus death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two? This is the curtain! God’s people no longer need the separating curtain from His holy presence! Jesus said, “It is finished”. He had become the Way back to Holy Creator Father for all who would choose to be His and follow Him!
What mercy! What love! What a wonderous gift! The relationship Door is open! Prayer is a fantastic, great priveledge! We can speak, hear, and fellowship with Father, Son Yeshua Jesus, and Holy Spirit! What a way to begin this chapter! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!