Profiting from the Holy

Profiting from the Holy

In Exodus 30 the Lord gives Moses, in great detail, instructions about how to make the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:22-33) and the incense (Ex. 30:34-38) to be used in temple worship.  And He gives specific commands about each.  For the anointing oil He said:

Exodus 30:25-30 – “And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer.  It shall be a holy anointing oil.  With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony; the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base.  You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy.  And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests.”

God then tells His people the importance of what He has just commanded them to do.

Exodus 30:31 – “And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations.’ “

But there’s a warning.  What has been deemed holy by the Lord is not to be used for personal pleasure or gain.  Man is not to benefit from what is reserved for God alone.  He said, “This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me (not to you) throughout your generations” (Ex. 30:31).

The Lord knew then, as He knows now, how easily we can turn worship into something we like and forget about the One it’s designed to honor.  We play the worship music we enjoy, preach the sermons that make us feel good, and anoint anything we feel like anointing.  Our times together to worship the Lord often digress into something that makes us feel better about who we are and not about Who we belong to.

Listen to the warning God gives about making a profit from what belongs only to Him.

Exodus 30:32-33 – “It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition.  It is holy, and it shall be holy to you.  Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people.”

You are not to pour My oil out on whom you desire nor make some for yourself using the recipe I have given you.  This is for Me and Me alone.  “It is holy, and it shall be holy to you” (Ex. 30:32).

God gave the same command and warnings about the incense.  After detailing the specific combination of spices He desired, God then tells His children exactly where to place the incense and why.

Exodus 30:36 – “And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you.  It shall be most holy to you.”

This incense is to be placed where God has chosen to meet with His people— a most holy place.   And “it shall be most holy to you.”  It is not to be used in your home, sold on Amazon, or used in any other way God has not specifically prescribed.  Why?  Because its purpose is to prepare a place for God to meet with man— a most holy place.  And not to make your car smell better.

Again, there’s a warning.

Exodus 30:37-38 – “But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition.  It shall be to you holy for the LORD.  Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.”

You are not to make any incense for yourself for any reason.   Why?  Because “it shall be to you holy for the Lord.”  It’s not for you, just for Him.  And what happens if we choose to ignore His warnings and commands and personally profit from what belongs for Him alone?  He says the person who does this “shall be cut off from his people.”  They will no longer be covered under His covenant.  They shall be as a foreigner, an outcast to Him.


Cut Off From His People

Take a few minutes this Sunday and watch a couple of church services online.  Especially from a mega church.  How much of what you see is designed to glorify and worship the Lord?  And how much is planned to make the congregation feel comfortable and want to come back next Sunday?

Then go look at your own service this Sunday.  How much of what is done is for the benefit of you, or for the adoration of the Lord?  Is the “special music” for your enjoyment, or for His?  And speaking of music, do you even know what kind of music the Lord enjoys?  Is it traditional?  Contemporary?  Psalms only?  With or without instruments?  Does He enjoy loud guitars and a light show?  Or is that just for us?

And the message?  Does it lift up Him and His glory and attributes?  Or is it more about you and your problems and how the Lord can “get you through to the other side?”  Are you encouraged to verbally proclaim the beauty and majesty of the Lord or to turn to your neighbor and say, “You look good today?”

What kind of worship truly worships the Lord?  What type of service would He design if we ever took the time to ask Him?

These are some questions I hope you’ll think about before you head out next Sunday for church.  Because it’s supposed to be all about Him, and not about us.

Something to think about, isn’t it?

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Podcast 303:  Our Bonhoeffer Moment

Podcast 303: Our Bonhoeffer Moment

With our society and culture crumbling all around us it behooves the church to assess its commitment to Christ.  Are you hot or cold or lukewarm?  Is Christ on the outside of the church knocking, waiting, for us to open the door and allow Him into His church? (Rev. 3:20).

These are scary times.  But not unprecedented times.

In fact, it’s these very times that bring out the best in the church. It’s times like these where true men and women of God step forward to take their stand for truth.

It’s the time of Daniel, Elijah, John the Baptist and Gideon.

The following is a study on the call of Gideon.

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Podcast 293:  Credibility and Character

Podcast 293: Credibility and Character

What’s the big deal with pastors today calling themselves apostles?  Why are they doing that and how can that be justified from Scripture?

Or, better yet, what are the qualifications for the office of apostle?  And, once we determine the qualifications, do any of these pastors meet them?  Can anyone meet them today?  Anyone?

The lesson to be learned in all of this is that credibility is not communicated by titles or degrees. Credibility is communicated by character.  True, God-like character.  And the fact we have men calling themselves apostles today shows us how much we still need to learn as a church, doesn’t it?

The following is a study on Colossians 1:1-2.

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Podcast 261:  Down with the “D” Word!

Podcast 261: Down with the “D” Word!

In the latter half of Malachi 2 God employs some strong words to convey His feelings about His people and their attitude towards Him.  He uses treacherously five times in 8 verses.  We also find profane or profaning, abomination, and God saying He literally hates something.

Those two words alone, God and hate, should get our attention.

But what does God hate?  Ah, that’s where the “D” word comes in.

Want to hear more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Malachi 2:10-17.

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Podcast 259:  Believers with Dirty Faces

Podcast 259: Believers with Dirty Faces

One of the most sobering and frightening statements by God to the priests, clergy, and believers just like you and me is found in Malachi 2:3.  There God says:

“Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it.”

Just so you know, refuse means dung, fecal matter, excrement.  That’s right.  God is saying He will spread or smear excrement on the faces of His priests or clergy or you and me.

Do you want to know why God would do something as drastic as this?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Malachi 2:1-9.

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Malachi:  Excrement and the Clergy

Malachi: Excrement and the Clergy

Message from Malachi

A Prophetic Warning to the Church

Excrement and the Clergy

“Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces,
The refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it.”
Malachi 2:3

In the second chapter of Malachi we find one of the most chilling and sobering warnings to the priests of Malachi’s day, and to the preachers of our day, found anywhere in Scripture.  Malachi gives us just a glimpse of how our Lord views His priests and preachers and pastors— literally anyone who claims to speak for Him, who fail to give glory to His name (Mal. 2:2).  And the actions of God against the clergy are disturbing, if not outright frightening.


No Honor to My Name

In Malachi 1:6, God begins to chastise the priests because of their disdain and hypocrisy for Him.  They bend over backwards to offer praise and homage and respect to everyone on earth but Him.  He says, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master.  If then I am the Father, where is My honor?  And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?” says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name.”

Later on in the chapter God again chastises the priests for offering polluted, defiled, worthless sacrifices to Him and trying to pass it off as true worship (Mal. 1:8).  By the time we get to Malachi 1:10, God is telling the priests to “Shut the door of the temple and go home.  You’re wasting your time and My time.  No worship is taking place and I have no pleasure in you.”  Why?  Because they profane His name (Mal. 1:12), seem bored with the task of worship (Mal. 1:13), and greedily keep the best for themselves and give the scraps to God (Mal. 1:14).


The Rebuke of the Clergy

This is where it gets scary.

Remember Who is speaking: God Almighty, the great “I AM”, the Sovereign One, the Creator and Sustainer of everything, the Great and Final Judge.  And remember who He is speaking to: the priests, the preachers and clergy, those who have been called and chosen by God to give Him honor, respect, obedience, love and awe.  Before you sit back and smugly think this warning doesn’t apply to you since you are not a preacher, remember Revelation 1:6 where Christ has made each of us “kings and priests to His God and Father.”  In other words, you and I are also priests of God and, like all priests, should spend our lives glorifying God— whether we have a seminary degree or not.  This warning is for each of us today.

“And now, O priests, this commandment is for you” (Mal. 2:1).

What commandment?  Does the word “this” refer to the commandments from chapter one or do they look forward to the commands of chapter two and following?  Answer: both.  And what happens when the priests fail to heed God’s warning, fail to repent, and give Him the glory due His name?  What happens when preachers, pastors, evangelists, and teachers in the church become selfish, greedy, self-centered and self-seeking, narcissistic, nothing more than egotistical glory-seekers for themselves and begin to lead His sheep astray?  What is God to do then?

“If you will not hear (or, listen, obey), and if you will not take it to heart (or, commit, consider), to give (what) glory to (what) My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings.  Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart” (Mal. 2:2).

What is God commanding His priests, you and I, to do?  Give glory to His Name.  The term glory means the weight or gravity of God’s presence.  It defines His importance and the honor He is due as God.  The word name is mentioned 6 times in the first 16 verses of Malachi and is the summation of all the attributes of God: His character, reputation, everything.  God is saying if they, we, do not give Him the glory due is name, He will send a curse upon us and our blessings.  In fact, He says, that curse has already begun.

So how bad will the curse be?  How serious is God about all of this?  Is He more serious than He was in Revelation 3:16 where He “vomited them (the church) out of His mouth” for being apathetic, lethargic, and lukewarm?

“Behold, I will rebuke your descendants (or, offspring, children) and spread refuse (or, dung, fecal matter, excrement) on your faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it” (Mal. 2:3).

Really?  God can’t be serious.  Does God really mean He will spread, or smear refuse, or dung, fecal matter, excrement, on the faces of His priests and their descendants.  I can’t believe God would do this?  It seems so harsh, so hard.  I didn’t think not giving glory to His name was that big of deal.

Well, it is.  You’d better think again.

One of the natural byproducts of animal sacrifices, in addition to a torrent of blood, is excessive excrement or refuse or dung.  Just like what happens when a frightened dog is put in a cage and taken to the Vet, the same thing happens to the cows, sheep, goats and other animals awaiting their death.  The place where the animals were sacrificed reeked with excrement.  According to Levitical law, the excrement, along with other parts of the sacrifice, was to be removed, carried outside the camp, and burned (Ex. 29:14; Lev. 16:27).  They were considered disgusting, defiled, and had no place around the holiness of God.  Of great offense to the priests would be to get fecal matter or dung on their clothing, sandals, or on their skin.  God is saying to the priests He would take this same fecal matter, this animal excrement, and smear it into the creases of their faces.  Why?  Because refusing to show glory and honor to the Lord is not something He takes lightly.  And then the priests are removed, outside of the camp, with the excrement, to be disposed of.  This is what God thinks of those who hypocritically proclaim His name.

After God chastises His priests as such, He then says, “Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you” (Mal. 2:4).  Then you’ll know how truly disgusted I am with you.  Then you’ll know exactly how I feel about your hypocrisy and apathy and contempt for Me.  Yes, then you’ll know how you smell to Me, not as a pleasing aroma, but as excrement.  The animal refuse from your “solemn feasts” (Mal. 2:3).


How Should the Priests Repent?

“My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, and I gave them to him that he might fear Me; so he feared Me and was reverent before My name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity” (Mal. 2:5-6).

God then uses Levi and as example of how He expects His priests to live and function and fulfill their duty as examples of holiness, righteousness, and sanctity before the God and the people.  What God said to the priests in Malachi’s day, He also says to us today:  We would be wise to listen and obey (Mal. 2:1).

One. the priests must live in contentment with God (Phil. 4:11-13), satisfied with the “life and peace” given them (Mal. 2:5).

Two, they must learn to live in the fear of the Lord, learning how to honor and revere Him above all else (Mal. 2:5).  They must show profound respect for God, His glory, and His name.

Three, they must live and preach the truth.  They must stand for God’s Word, His righteousness, justice, and equity (Mal. 2:6).

Four, they must spend their lives for the sake of others, as a watchman on the wall (Eze. 3:17), turning many away from iniquity by word and deed (Mal. 2:6).

Five, the priests must “walk with God” (Mal. 2:6).  Not walk after God, but walk with God, like Elijah, like David, like Daniel, like Enoch.  They must have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), and care about nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2).

Finally, the priests then and the preachers today must seek and speak the knowledge and truth of God.  Why?  For he, you and I, are a messenger of the Lord of Hosts.

“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 2:7).

We, as preachers, as priests, as believers in Christ, as heirs, as joint heirs with the Lord (Rom. 8:17) must seek with every breath in our being the glory of God and the honor of His name.

For if we fail, it may take more than just a few handy wipes or a swipe of antibacterial lotion to wipe the excrement of our sin off our faces.

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