God gives His recipes for the anointing oil and incense now. He called for their use earlier and now He tells Moses how to prepare them.
I wish my bible had a scratch and sniff part for this portion. I would love to smell the aroma of the recipes God gave Moses. Each of these ingredients has their own smell but when the perfumer got finished with them I bet it was something to behold! God gave Moses two distinct recipes. There was no overlap in ingredients. Of all of them listed, the only one I can claim to have actually smelled is cinnamon. I would love to smell all the others but some of them I haven’t even heard of before.
With the anointing oil recipe, God gave Moses a BULK recipe. The shekel is 11 grams (according to my bible helps) and the hin is 4 quarts (same source). So let’s do the math on this recipe and find out how much would be produced of this anointing oil. We have 5,500 grams of myrrh, 2,750 grams of cinnamon, 2,750 grams of aromatic cane, 5,500 grams of cassia and 1 gallon of olive oil. We don’t know the weight of the olive oil but we can add the weight of the spices giving us a weight of 16,500 grams in spices. This gives us 16.5 kilograms or 36.376 pounds of spices. These ALL had to be mixed into the oil. No wonder it took a full gallon of oil to mix it with! This oil would be used heavily in the beginning but not as much as time went on. Moses had to anoint all the pieces, including the tent itself, Aaron and all his sons to consecrate the tabernacle of the Lord.
I’m wondering how much oil Moses used on each item. Did he dip a finger and apply it to each surface or did he pour it on? If he used a finger did that mean he had become holy to the Lord too? I think he already pretty much filled that role already. The reason I ask is because Psalms tells of anointing oil running down Aaron’s beard onto his clothes (Psalm 133:2).
When I was a child there were a few times I was anointed in prayer by the pastor. (I know, not all of you believe the same way I did or do, but bear with me for the sake of the story.) The oil was brought out where there was an urgent or special need and it was applied with the tip of the finger in the shape of the cross. I’m sure Moses didn’t use that configuration, as the cross held no significance for him yet, but was the oil used as sparingly with Moses’ actions as my pastor’s was? I’m certain mine was nowhere close to God’s recipe. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was cooking oil poured into a special little bottle. I believe God honored it no matter what it was because He loves His little children.
The second recipe doesn’t give us quantities for mixing together; instead God simply states “equal parts” of each spice. This brings to mind when I was making skirts for my daughter in law’s class to wear for a Spanish heritage day. They were nearly floor length with two ruffles each on the bottom. I don’t know how many times I had to fix my calculations because of dumb mistakes. When I finally got the length needed for each ruffle I was ready to cut. First I made four continuous ruffles, one of each color, that was long enough for ALL the ruffle needed for ALL the dresses of that color. Then I put the two colors together for each dress and measured the ruffles together. NEVER did they come out exactly the same length because they were also already hemmed and didn’t lay flat. When it came time to sew them onto the skirt I put both ruffles together and sewed them together first with a gathering stitch. Since the length wasn’t perfectly equal, I used the shortest ruffle as my final length. The longer ruffle simply got cut down to size and then both were fitted onto the skirts and attached at the same time. That saved me a LOT of time as I had to make 26 skirts. Thanks to my mother and daughter I was able to complete the task on time.
I brought this story up because of God’s recipe. Whichever spice was in the shortest supply would determine the amount of incense that could be made. All the ingredients had to be available to make God’s special scent. There were NO substitutions or alterations allowed in the recipe.
BOTH recipes were to be made by the perfumer. They weren’t something that could be whipped up in anybody’s kitchen. The perfumer took expert care in ensuring that ALL the ingredients were mixed and blended thoroughly. They knew what mixed best in which order. They knew how to keep the individual spices from clumping together during mixing and how hard to mix to prevent damaging the individual molecules creating the aromas. They could take the individual smells and make something new and special from their combination.
God does this with His people every day. He takes EACH of us individually and works to refine us until we give off the most amazing “fragrance” imaginable. Then He puts us together with other members of His body and blends our unique fragrances to make something even better. None of us could make this walk alone. We need others who will walk beside us and with us. Together we make up His body and a sweet smelling incense to Him.
These recipes were also HIS property. They were not to be made to share with friends or even for special occasions for an individual’s house. They were for His house alone and His patent NEVER ran out.
Thank You Father for sharing Your recipes with Moses. I wish I had been able to smell Your fragrances. I guess I will have to wait until I see You in person for that. Thank You Father for taking the time to share these with Moses and me. He certainly needed it more than I do. Thank You also for impressing meaning into these stories for me personally. It’s hard for me to get excited about a list unless I can relate to it personally.