A Worshipping People, Exodus 30. 34-38

We can link this passage with John 4. 23, 24, “true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him”.

Incense speaks of worship - worship that is practical, worship that has an effect upon our lives. Occupation with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ will always produce in our lives something of what we see in Him. How can we be really occupied with Him, and yet never have anything that we see in Him produced in our lives? Worship is occupation with a person or object. The sweet spices speak of the absolutely fragrant life of Christ. The greater appreciation we have of the lovely Lord Jesus, the more Christ-like we will become. This is why we suggest that worship is intensely practical

These four spices bring before us the Lord Jesus as presented in the four Gospels. We consider basic principles, to bring these home to our hearts.


This word means “to drop” or “to distil”. The thought is: that which comes down,, that which descends. In the Gospel of John we see the One who came down from heaven - the Heavenly Stranger, - who was in the world that He had made but the world knew Him not, - who came unto His own but His own received Him not. We read, “he that came down tram heaven”, 3. 13, “He that came from above is above all”, 3. 31; “I came down from heaven”, 6. 38; “Ye are from beneath; I am from above”, 8. 23. We see. then, that John presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the Heavenly Stranger, ever bringing pleasure to the heart of His Father, ever marked by devotion as He moved in this scene. He could say, “I do always those things that please him (the Father)”, 8. 29 So in this Gospel He is seen as the Heavenly Man, characterized by devotion, telling out the heart of God As we are occupied with this Heavenly Man, there will be developed in us those features seen in Him. As we see Him as the Heavenly Stranger, we shall remember that the Word of God teaches us that we are strangers in this world and therefore we do not really belong here. We shall remember that we are heavenly, and thus that we should be heavenly in character, ever seeking to bring pleasure to God. Can we really appreciate the Person of Christ as the One who continually brought pleasure and joy to His God and Father, without there being reproduced in our lives the desire to bring pleasure to God? As we are occupied with the One who was ever marked by devotion, we shall remember that we too should be marked by devotion - to Christ and our Father, to the Word of God and our fellow believers.


This means “lion”, reminding us of the Kingly Man, the Majestic Man as presented in the Gospel of Matthew. As we read through this Gospel, we see Him marked by dignity, ever moving with royal bearing. Only Matthew records the question, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”, 2. 2. Only Matthew records the actual words, “Get thee hence, Satan”, 4. 10. Why? Because He is the Kingly Man - the Majestic Man with authority.

It is Matthew that tells us His face shone “as the sun”, a symbol of majesty. 17. 2; “this is the heir … let us kill him”, 21. 38; “When the Son of man shall… sit upon the throne of his glory”. 25. 31; and “All power is given unto me”, 28. 18. He is the Kingly Man in Matthew, moving with dignity and royal bearing As we are occupied with the Kingly Man marked by dignity, we shall remember that we also have a dignity in being linked with Him, that we are heirs - joint heirs with Christ. We should therefore move in this world worthy of the dignity conferred upon us. There should be a difference between those who are Christ’s, and those who belong to the world. Furthermore. there is a dignity in being linked with the people of God who are gathered on New Testament ground in the locality where we live. If only we could grasp how precious the local assembly is to the heart of God, we would appreciate more the dignity that He has conferred upon us as those who are linked with the assembly. We shall not know perfection until the Lord comes, but we should be living in the good of the dignity conferred upon us and manifesting it in our lives


This means “milk” or “fat”, suggesting possibly the thought of absolute surrender. The galbanum might therefore speak of the Serving Man as presented in the Gospel of Mark. There we have the unceasing, unwavering, unhesitating service of our blessed Lord. There we read of Him rising a great while before day, 1. 35; of His desire to go into other towns to preach, 1. 38; of His continued activity so that they could not eat. leading to some men saying “he is beside himself”. 3. 20, 21; and of them taking Him “as he was”, 4. 36. conveying the idea that He was absolutely wearied through His unceasing and unhesitating toil in service for God and for the benefit of the people Why is it in Mark that we read, “he sat on the right hand of God”?, 16. 19. Surely it is because as the Perfect Servant He had completed all that had been committed to Him. As we are occupied with the Lord Jesus as the Serving Man, we shall remember that we too are servants. When we meditate upon the energy expended by Him in service, we shall remember that we should be marked by unceasing, unwavering and unhesitating service for God. If in John we see Him marked by devotion and in Matthew by dignity, then in Mark we see Him marked by diligence. As we are occupied with the Diligent Man we shall realize that we should be diligent in the service of God. This is very practical, for the more we are occupied with Christ the more we shall seek to be like Him and please Him.


This means “white”, and would remind us of the Holy Man as presented by Luke - the Sinless Man, the Impeccable Man. It is in Luke that we read “that holy thing” - He was holy in His birth, 1. 35. Later, Peter, seeing something of the holiness of Christ, “fell down at Jesus’ knee, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, 0 Lord” - He was holy in His life, 5. 8. In Luke we read of the Lord praying on seven occasions, showing that He was the completely dependent Man - all that He ever did was in complete dependence upon God. Only Luke records that He was brought before Herod as well as before Pilate, and both found no fault in Him. As we are occupied with the Holy Man. we remember that God says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy”, 1 Pet. 1. 16. As we are occupied with the completely dependent Man, we shall realize how much we ought to be dependent upon God The more we are occupied with Christ as the Holy Man, the Dependent Man, the more there will be reproduced in us holiness of character and dependence upon God.

We see in Matthew the Authority of His Word - He taught them as One having authority, 7. 29. As we appreciate His authority, we shall bow to His word and seek to carry it out in our lives. In Mark we notice the Acknowledgement of His Work - “He hath done all things well”, 7. 37. We too should seek to do all things well. In Luke we have the Approval of His Walk (life). In Luke 23. 47, the centurion said, “Certainly this was a righteous man”, whereas in the other gospels he said, “Truly this was the Son of God”, Matt. 27. 54; Mark 15. 39. This is because Luke presents the Lord as the Perfect Man, and thus at the close of His pathway here, there is the approval of His life. As we are occupied with the lovely, stainless walk of the Lord, we recall that we are to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, Eph. 4. 1, worthy of the Lord, Col. 1. 10, and of God, 1 Thes. 2. 12. In John we have the Appreciation of His Worth - of His Person. As we appreciate who it was who went to the cross for us, our hearts will surely be captivated.

The spices in Exodus 30 were to be tempered together - salted together, speaking of the positive energy of divine holiness. The Lord Jesus Christ never had to retrace a step; never had to recall a word; never had to regret a thought; and never had to repent of any action Every step that He took was in keeping with the will of God; every action was for the glory of God; every word was in keeping with the character of God; and every thought in perfect harmony with the mind of God - all brought pleasure and joy to the heart of God. There was a perfect blend - everything characterized by holiness, everything tempered together.

The Presentation

The priest was to take his handful of incense “beaten small’’. Lev. 16. 12, 13. The hand filled with incense would speak of appreciation. Is our appreciation of Christ greater now than it was this time last year? The incense beaten small would speak of exercise - energy expended. We need to spend time in the sanctuary in spiritual exercise. If we are not spending time every day in worship, how can we come together on the Lord’s Day morning and expect to worship? How much time do we really spend in the sanctuary occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ?

The Restrictions

The incense was not for the people - it was for God alone. There was to be no fleshly imitation or counterfeit. God wants to know from each brother what he thinks of His Son. not what someone else thinks of Him. It is so easy to string phrases together without really being in the good of them.

God will dwell in the midst of a people who are a worshipping people - a people who are occupied with His lovely Son - a people in whom are being developed the features of His Son for the pleasure of His heart.


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