Friday, February 17, 2023

2023.02.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 30:22–38

Read Exodus 30:22–38

Questions from the Scripture text: How do Exodus 30:22Exodus 30:34 introduce these two sections? For what do Exodus 30:23-25 give a recipe? What are they to anoint with it (Exodus 30:26-28)? With what result (Exodus 30:29)? What else are they to anoint (Exodus 30:30)? For what purpose? To whom is Moses to speak in Exodus 30:31? What must not be done with it (Exodus 30:32)? What mustn’t anyone do, upon pain of what (Exodus 30:33)? What else are they to make (Exodus 30:34-35)? What sort of incense? What are they to do with it (Exodus 30:36)? What aren’t they to do, upon pain of what (Exodus 30:37-38)?

What do the Lord’s instructions about the anointing oil and incense emphasize to us? Exodus 30:22–38 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seventeen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that not only is worship to be treated as holy by doing it exactly as the Lord said, but also nothing else is to be treated holy like His worship is.

Holy by prescription. How serious is God about directing His people’s worship? He dictated to Moses specific recipes for the anointing oil (Exodus 30:22-25) and the incense (Exodus 30:34-35). Some have complained that the regulative principle is dictatorial. That it is. But God is the Dictator of His worship precisely because it is holy, and never has there been such a benevolent Dictator or dictation.

Truly, there were some things that would necessarily have to be deduced or decided in order to follow His directions, but the level of detail makes it clear that man was not to be coming up with his own ideas for the worship of God. His worship is holy. It must be done exactly according to His recipe (in this case, literally!). 

Holy by anointing. The Lord showed the holiness of the place of worship (Exodus 30:26a), the paraphernalia for the worship (Exodus 30:26-28), and the priests who led the worship (Exodus 30:30) by commanding them all to be anointed with the oil. They were set apart as consecrated solely for the worship of God (Exodus 30:29a), and only the people whom God had appointed to lead this worship were permitted to touch them (verse 29b). No longer are we set apart for worship by oil and incense. The Holy Spirit is now our anointing from the Anointed One. But, we are still to remember the sacred purpose for which we have been consecrated. We must keep clear of sin, in view of the fact that we have been consecrated in Christ for God’s worship.

Holy by exclusivity. Another way that the Lord emphasized the holiness of the tabernacle worship was by forbidding the oil or incense to be made for any other use, or for any other to be made like it. The prohibition in Exodus 30:33 implies that same ratios were not even to be used with other similar ingredients. And the Lord in His providence included several ingredients that are only mentioned once or twice in the rest of the Old Testament, and a few that are not mentioned elsewhere at all. 

What we do for God’s worship is exclusive for Him and for His worship. We should be careful not to export into other areas of life or events those actions, arrangements, even emotions that are unique to the public worship of God.

Holy by gravity of penalty. A final way that God indicated the holiness of His worship was the gravity of the penalty for violating the exclusivity of the worship: “shall be cut off from his people” (Exodus 30:33Exodus 30:38). At a minimum, this is describing the equivalent of excommunication. For even making something similar (Exodus 30:32Exodus 30:38), even just to smell it. We simply do not take seriously enough the exclusive claims of God and the weightiness of His worship.

What has God prescribed for His worship? What are some examples of things that are made necessary in order to do what He says? What are some examples of things that men have added because they think it would be a nice idea? What are some things, other than the worship of God, that often receive a devotion, delight, or value that really belongs only to God and to His worship?

Sample prayer: Father, thank You for giving to us Your own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be the One in Whom and through Whom we come to worship You. Thank You for telling us in Your Word what are the actions by which we are to come and do so. Please help us by Your Spirit to have grace by which we will worship acceptably, with reverence and awe, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

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