Sweet Incense of Prayer
In the book of Exodus, God gave Moses instructions for the tabernacle, the place where God would meet with His people. In its design, we can also see an amazing picture of how God wants to meet with us.
Just outside the tabernacle is the altar of sacrifice. But, inside the tabernacle is another altar—the altar of incense. This second altar is right next to the holy place of the Ark of the Covenant/Mercy Seat, where God promised to meet and speak with His people. Here on the altar of incense, the priest would burn a sweet, fresh incense offering every morning and evening. In Revelation 5:8, we find that incense is symbolic of prayer, a sweet aroma to our God.
Exodus 30:9 explains that this altar was not a place to “... offer strange incense or other burnt offerings...” I recently heard it said that “Prayer is not the place where sacrificial atonement is made; it is the place where sacrificial atonement is enjoyed.” Atonement for our sin comes not by prayer and our own works, but through Jesus. Because of His saving work on the cross, we can enjoy fellowship with Him in prayer!
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.
Lord, help us not to fall into the trap of making our prayer life an altar of our sacrifice. Instead, let it be a sweet place of fellowship with You, where You have already paid the sacrifice for us.
Pastor Dustin Linenberger