DECEMBER 18: SWEET INCENSE

SWEET INCENSE

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

"And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon; of shittim wood shalt thou make it.
... And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations."
Exodus 30:1,6-8
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Today's Read: Exodus 30; 40; Psalm 141; Rev. 5;8
The altar of incense was a prescribed altar of exact proportion determined by God from the beginning as a necessary structure in His holy place and it translated itself from the initial "Tent of Congregation" to the "Temple" built by Solomon.
Placed before the "Holy of Holies," and before the ascent of steps into it, its primary function was to establish prayer as the final and pleasing sacrifice preceding the High Priest's steps into the most "Holy of Holies" and to burn morning and evening with a pleasing aroma in accordance with the daily sacrifices being offered.
Prayer and sacrifices were all mingled together in this way.
What beautiful, powerful, forcible imagery we are given.
Mmmm ...
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The ingredients of the incense were composed of four unique spices and under no circumstance was the incense to be used anywhere else.
The scent and the spices were to remain in God's holy dwelling place without exception.
Careless misuse of the incense or personal consumption of the incense would translate into a severing and divide between that person and God and between that person and the congregation (Exodus 30:37-38.)
The incense was symbolic of sacred prayer and intercession.
God loved the scent of it ... and He still does.
"May my prayer be set before You like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice." 
Psalm 141:2
and
"Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the Angel's hand."
Revelation 8:3-4

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While Christ has replaced and permanently satisfied the sacrifices placed upon the altar, by His body through His death, buriel, and resurrection; the visual and scented concepts of the "altar of incense" remain adamantly in place:
-Prayer leads us into the throneroom of grace.
-Prayer ushers us into the presence of God and into sacred communion with Him.
-Prayer is the "bridge of ascension" that takes us into the "Holy of Holies."
Prayer wields a power on earth that no man can snuff out and no evil can overtake.
Confidently, ardently, and passionately make your way to the altar of incense, through prayer, and set the thing aglow until God's presence is the only presence you see.
The provision, power, and prevailing presence of God that awaits and attends the child of God who prostrates himself and positions himself in a posture of prayer cannot be properly articulated through the pen.
It is a "present" and "gift of discovery" that one must make in a personal pilgrimage with God over time.
Separate yourself from man ...
Burn the incense.
Pray.
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Three Study Suggestions:
1) As an accompaniment to "Today's Read," google the "altar of incense" and study its placement in the temple. It will enhance your present and future readings of both God's presence and the prevailing power of prayer ... and help you to visualize a key component to entering into God's presence.
2) Repent of a neglected prayer life in order to realize a new prayer life ... and then get on with it.
Surrender today and this moment to God as a beginning of experiencing newness in life and relationship with Him through prayer.
3) Take a stone, get alone, and commit your life, your conduct, and your tongue ... to Christ.
Good things await you ...
God be praised.