Saturday, February 1, 2014
What’s that I Smell?
Ex. 30:22 ¶ The LORD spoke to Moses:
Ex. 30:23 Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, two hundred fifty, and two hundred fifty of aromatic cane,
Ex. 30:24 and five hundred of cassia—measured by the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil;
Ex. 30:25 and you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.
Ex. 30:26 With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the covenant,
Ex. 30:27 and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense,
Ex. 30:28 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand;
Ex. 30:29 you shall consecrate them, so that they may be most holy; whatever touches them will become holy.
Ex. 30:30 You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, in order that they may serve me as priests.
Ex. 30:31 You shall say to the Israelites, “This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations.
Ex. 30:32 It shall not be used in any ordinary anointing of the body, and you shall make no other like it in composition; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you.
The people of God were to mix together a a special anointing oil that was to be used for the tabernacle. This was a holy oil, used to anoint the places and the things that God had designated, and no one was to replicate this for it was to be holy and it was to make everything that it touched holy.
This fragrance was to be a constant reminder of the holiness of God that would waft from his very presence. It was also a foreshadowing of the presence of Jesus, the Messiah, the anointed one, who was to come and live among his people as a sweet fragrant offering. In Song of Solomon we read about the presence of the Bridegroom:
Song 1:3 your anointing oils are fragrant,
your name is perfume poured out;
therefore the maidens love you.
We fall in love with our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, who then sent to us the Holy Spirit to be a sweet anointing on all of those who are his holy people. The oil cannot be replicated, for it is the original holy anointing oil that comes to us from generations past and is available to you and to me today.
Can you imagine the olfactory overload of walking into the Tabernacle after everything had been anointed by the holy oil of God?! Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses we have and it powerfully draws out our memories. Can you imagine, literally, being able to sense the presence of God within the Tabernacle by the overwhelming fragrance of the place! What an incredible reminder and sense of comfort for the people of God to know, feel and smell the very holiness of God.
Throughout the years this same oil was used to anoint their leaders. We read of Saul and David being anointed for their positions. The oil was poured out generously on them until it dripped from their clothing. Their lives were being made a holy offering before God and they were sanctified for the work to which they were being called.
Let’s fast forward to today and realize that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost ushered in the possibility for all of God’s followers to be anointed with the Holy Spirit. We are all called to be God’s holy people and in this regard we are to be anointed from head to foot until the Holy Spirit drips from us. If that were true, then God’s people would be a holy fragrance in the world. Everyone who passed us by would sense the holy presence of God. The world should wonder, “What’s that I smell?”
But could it be that we are satisfied with cheap imitations of the true oil? The people were warned to never try and replicate the oil for their own personal purposes. We are not supposed to try and replicate the genuine scent of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, maybe we have and the world can smell a phony a mile away! The problem with cheap counterfeits is just that — they are cheap and they are counterfeits. The smell doesn’t last and the oil doesn’t do its job. Oh, it may seem like the real thing for the first few hours but after that, it’s all gone.
Sadly, we may go to church and get all pumped up about the presence of the Lord but we don’t want to pay the price for the genuine anointing and so we walk away with something that is cheap and easy. What we — and the world — need — is the genuine anointing of the Spirit to be wafting through the air, touching people at the point of their very personal needs. We are to be the vessels in which the oil of anointing is carried into a world that needs the healing touch of Jesus. But if our vessels are not filled to overflowing, there will be no fragrance.
My prayer is that God’s people will open themselves up to fresh anointings of the Holy Spirit until the oil of his presence literally drips off of us and can be smelled by the world around us. Our presence in the coffee shop, restaurant, gas station, bank, school, etc. ought to leave people wondering, “What’s that I smell?” And may it not be a stinky person — but the fragrance of God’s holiness.
Lord, fill us today. Amen.