Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Anointing Oil and Incense

It’s been a long time since I last wrote. Life seems to get in the way, cluttering up time with God, squeezing devotion to him into a small compartment. Every morning the kids and I take time to sit down and read the scriptures together and pray. It’s part of their home school program and a good start to the day.

God is so gracious to us by using the time we give to him to speak in very direct ways causing each person’s handpicked scripture to link together forming one thought or progression of thoughts. The other morning during my time alone before children got up led me to study Exodus 30. I was very interested as I researched the different combinations of spices alluded to in this chapter and I would love to share my findings with you.

Lately, we have been discussing the many aspects of the Old Testimate sacrifices that were performed like clockwork by the priests. We have been talking about all the “blood and guts” so to speak of the acts carried out in and around the Tent of Meeting (see Exodus 29 for example).

As I studied Exodus 30, it was logical to me to see what the medicinal uses were for each of the spices named in 22-33 (anointing oil) and 34-38 (incense). I googled the names of each of the spices and found a reputable botany web site for my answers. Surprisingly enough, I found that most of the herbs were used to ease stomach disorders.

Herbs such as myrrh were used for ulcers and to excite appetite. Cinnamon is said to stop vomiting and is useful as an astringent. Cassia is another form of cinnamon and it is a powerful germicide helpful in relieving diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Fragrant cane was used to remove discomfort caused by flatulence and can be used to keep the growth of bacteria in check. It also increases appetite and benefits digestion. It is said to have a sweet smell and it is grown in marshes and has the appearance of a reed.

Olive oil comes from a tree that is said to represent peace and happiness. It is useful as an astringent and an antiseptic. It is used against obstinate fevers, is a laxative and relieves burns or stings. It is also a good vehicle for liniments.

I find it a wonderful thing that in the midst of all the gore that was necessary for the cleansing of sin, God thought of the health of the priests who were ministering before him. All these things were to be used to anoint “…the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony, the table and all its articles, the lamp stand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand.” (Verses 26-28) In effect, this concoction would clean, sanitize and deodorize all of these things making them holy.

God even thought to use herbs that would stimulate appetite in the priest as this scene day after day might have an effect on their desire to eat. The incense was another matter. Herbs such as gum resin were used in the treatment of chronic bronchitis, it was used for the swelling of joints and also for indolent tumors. I couldn’t find any information on onycha but when I googled it, the next herb came up that being galbanum. Galbanum was also used in the treatment of chronic bronchitis as an expectorant and stimulant to open bronchial passageways. Frankincense was used in the treatment of tumors, ulcers, vomiting, dysentery, and fevers. What a wonderful God who loves us so. As the priest would be called on to have burnt offerings before God he would breathe in the healing incense to care for the demands these acts would place on his body.

We may not understand all of God’s ways but he certainly has a plan and a purpose for everything. Not just to be a “meany” as I often say to the children but because he loves us so.

I want to stress that this was just an independent study of mine and that if you are interested in using any of these herbs you should consult someone who knows more than I do.

I will say that as we sit in the presence of our Most Holy God his power for healing is available to us. As we minister to him he will minister healing to us. Much love and blessings to you all.