“And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it. Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake.
The reading comes from a passage in the book of Leviticus, setting out details for the Great Feast of Tabernacles, and sets out the order for the Table of Shewbread and how the pure frankincense was to be put on the bread as a memorial and a perpetual statute.
What is frankincense? From research it seems to be a remarkable substance. When burnt the frankincense resin becomes white (which is often taken to represent purity or holiness), but research has shown that it has healing some properties — asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoarthritis among others are conditions noted. Whether there is great efficacy in the substance or not, these two qualities, coupled with its rarity would be reason enough to include it among the three gifts to the infant Jesus.
The frankincense was part of what was called ‘the grain offering, and we read in Nehemiah 13:9 Then I commanded them to cleanse the rooms; and I brought back into them the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. We see that the frankincense is intimately connected with the grain offering in the tabernacle. And the grain offering is one made by fire. Fire takes the perfume, the aroma, the incense of the frankincense and makes it the sweet smelling savour, which goes through the veil into the holy of holies in the tabernacle. Remember that this offering made by fire happens in the Holy Place and is symbolic of the purification — the becoming holy — of the believer, in a walk with The Lord.
This gift of frankincense to the Holy Child Jesus was to reveal His future as holiness itself revealed in this world as a sign that God was being made manifest in His Son — that holiness was possible and indeed was in the world through the fire — the suffering of His Son and the saints. Heady scents and spices are always associated with the Spirit realm, just as are clouds, the air and anything insubstantial to our eyes.. These things reveal the Almighty in our everyday experience. We should be paying attention.
A garden enclosed
GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, MYRRH — Natalie Kendel
“The Holy Spirit is in charge here. We should write it for all to see on the lintels of every doorway we build. But since that might seem like so many words, we will do better: we will write it in our lives. And in all the lives we can reach out to and touch and inspire with the living Spirit of God.”
LISTEN TO THIS MEDITATION HERE:
COMING NEXT… #536 GOLD: A MERCY SEAT
MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS…
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART