Scientists have been able to examine and analyse the ingredients used by the ancient Egyptians for perfuming and mummifying. Archaeologists have discovered they were the best perfumers in those times, and their products and recipes were highly sought throughout the known world. The Hebrews must have picked up some knowledge of this expertise during their time in Egypt, and they too, had perfumers who practised the skills.
In Exodus 30:34-38, God commanded a specific blend of ingredients to be used to make incense. As with the anointing oil, the recipe was to be unique for this purpose. It could only be used in the tabernacle, and was to be considered ‘holy to the Lord’. Any other use of either the anointing oil or the incense demanded the terrible punishment of being cut off from the people of God. The formulas for each were sacred, and had to be kept that way.
Some time ago, I realised that God wanted to be involved in every part of my life, included in everything I do, and for me to talk to him about anything and everything as I go about my daily life. I shared this in Coming home. I really enjoy that fellowship with God, But a little while back, he said something new. “As much as I like to come and spend time with you doing your things, I’d love you to come and share time with me too.” I realised that our relationship was all about me – what I was doing, the people I wanted God to help and bless, the things I wanted him to do for me.
What I get from the unique application of these formulae, is that there should be a bit of our lives that is uniquely set apart for God. Time, space, effort, that is just for him, when we still our tongues and thoughts, and focus our all on his heart. Just to worship him because he is holy, and love him because he is lovely. Just for him.
A woman broke an alabaster jar to anoint the feet of Jesus with the costliest of her treasures. The perfume of it filled the house. Sacrificing a little of our time to just focus on God, without any agendas, recognising it as a time ‘holy to the Lord’, just for him, must surely bring a beautiful fragrance to our lives.