Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oil: Week 1

I'm not sure how many weeks this one will be, but a friend suggested this word as my next thing to study. After reading a some passages, I thought it would be interesting to see how it was used and how that can be used in our life. So in my reading the first thing that caught my eye was a passage in Exodus.

Exodus 30:22-33. In this passage, God is telling Moses about the Sacred Anointing Oil. I didn't realize there even was a sacred oil. This oil is used for anointing the priests and the items of the sanctuary/tent of meeting/tabernacle. Before I go into too much detail about the passage, I thought it would be interesting to look at the ingredients used in this sacred oil.

Olive oil was the most prevalent ingredient, followed by myrrh and cassia, and finally cinnamon and calamus. These ingredients were to be combined by a perfumer. Can you imagine being the person who is going to mix all of these things into a SACRED oil that would anoint the most holy items in the world? The pressure for that would be massive.

When those items were consecrated, set apart for a higher purpose, everything else that touched them would be holy. This combination of oils would signify that those things were now 'good enough' to be used to worship God. (I'm not sure I said that the right way.) In many ways this concept is rather foreign to us. In our modern day society, we really don't have the idea that there are a few select items that are good enough to be used for God.

Back then, these things were touching God. They had to be made to certain specifications to be qualified. And a part of us thinks, that's silly. Why does it have to be so special? That is our human side that doesn't want to acknowledge that God is bigger than us and deserves to live by his rules and not ours. It may seem like a small detail, but it's really not. I often think that seems too complicated or unnecessary, but that is me expecting God to do it my way. How presumptuous is that? I'm thinking that a custom He created all those years ago for His people is too complicated or unnecessary!

Looking at the last bit of that passage, I guess I'm not the only one who ever thought that because the Israelites are warned not to make any other perfume like it or anoint anyone extra with it. The punishment is for them to be cut off from their people. So basically if you think this is unnecessary or not the right way to do things, go and do them your way over there and leave us alone. And when you think about it, that's kind of a scary thing to be cut off from all the people and customs you know. So doing it my way, doesn't always get the best results. That seems so easy to say, but to actually put it into practice is a very different story.

I am left wondering, do I treat the things of God as sacred? Do I set them apart for a higher purpose all the time? Do I know anything about holy or sacred? I'm a Christian, so doesn't that mean I'm supposed to get this idea at least a little bit. I'm not sure I do. I'm not sure I really get it at all.

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