17The Lord said to Moses, 18“You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, 19with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. 20When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. 21They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.” 22The Lord said to Moses, 23“Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, 250, and 250 of aromatic cane, 24and 500 of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. 25And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil. 26With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, 27and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, 28and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils and the basin and its stand. 29You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them will become holy. 30You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. 31And you shall say to the people of Israel, ‘This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. 32It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person, and you shall make no other like it in composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. 33Whoever compounds any like it or whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.’ ” 34The Lord said to Moses, “Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part), 35and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. 36You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you. It shall be most holy for you. 37And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the Lord. 38Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.”
The final furnishings for the Tabernacle are described in detail by God to Moses. These instructions include the building of the Bronze Basin, used for washing and the fragrant offerings of anointing oil and incense. While these seems like simple additions to the overall structure of God’s house, these things too provide more foundation for the worship lives of the people.
The Basin just makes sense. These priests spend their lives covered in the blood of the sacrificial animals. Having a large basin of water was necessary but God makes a point with the washing as well. That basin of water serves to once again remind everyone that we are sinful people and in need of washing. The necessary washing become a part of the ritual life of the people and brings them constantly to an awareness of their need for rescue. Maybe we too could use a few more external reminders of our same need.
The fragrance of the oil and the incense was to give the tabernacle a distinctive odor, one which was a constant reminder of the Lord’s presence. No detail of the tabernacle, not even the kind of oil and incense used, was left to the imagination of people. And here is where the reading became interesting for me today. Neither the oil nor the incense formulas were to be used for any other application in the lives of the people. When the people came into the Tabernacle, the odor was unique to that space. They most certainly used incense and oils in their own homes for various reasons, but none of those perfumes smelled the same as the Tabernacle. This was unique space. This was God’s house. Once again, God utilizes the senses to bring His presence into the minds and hearts of the people. The uniqueness of God is something to be recognized and celebrated.
What happens in your life that is unique and brings God into your vision/smell/hearing? I have my phone set to make a particular sound several times a day and that sound reminds me of the verse I am meditation upon at the moment. If I pick up my phone, that verse is actually visible on the screen. I haven’t quite figured out how to bring smell into the equation yet, but --- maybe Apple will work on that one.