Temple Incense: A Chip Off The Ole Block

Temple Incense: A Chip Off The Ole Block

When all the ingredients of the Holy Incense are mixed together they produce something that is very precious, pleasing and holy to Yahweh.

The priests of ancient Israel gathered the ingredients, which were crushed to a powder, weighed out, mixed together and melted down into a large block which was more easily transported.

And thou shall make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. (Exodus 30:36)

Each day the High Priest would chip off some of the solid block, crush it into fine powder and pour it over red hot coals to release the beautiful fragrant smoke.

Like that large block of incense, there is just so much to pray about that we cannot cover everything in one session.

In our own prayer time, all we can do is chip off a little each day and crush it to powder by getting down to the fine detail. By praying for specific events, individual people, their needs and well-being our prayers are refined, rather than praying in broad and meaningless statements. Seasoned with salt, our prayers are to be enduring, as a reminder of the perpetual covenant between God and Israel which He renews daily and confirms.

Should we see our lives on a “large” annual scale, or should we see them on a relatively “tiny” daily scale? The essence is to live each day to the fullest, paying attention to all the ingredients that go into making them up. This includes seeing the ingredients that don’t smell so good as an important part of life.

And then, when we get to Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, we can look back on a year full of full days. By Yom Kippur, our Qetoret (incense) will already have been ground and our prayer life is refined with knowing how to pray when we enter the throne room.

To purchase a copy of Rebecca’s latest book, Qetoret: The Fragrance of Prayer, from which this excerpt was taken. She also has pure resins and essential oils of the ingredients of the Holy (Exodus 30) Incense available here.