Exodus 30:17-38

Key Verse(s):

Exodus 30:21 (HCSB)

21 They must wash their hands and feet so that they will not die; this is to be a permanent statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations.”


I’m covering three pericopes here, with the last two being very similar, and the first being loosely related. What is contained here is the command to build a bronze wash basin, and make anointing oil and incense.

It seems that the bronze basin would have practical use: the priests will assuredly be in need of cleaning when performing sacrifices. But I think that there is definitely a spiritual overtone here as well. We must be purified to stand before God, just as the priests had to be cleansed before coming to the altar or entering the tent. But for us now, it is Christ who cleanses us. And the specificity of the hands and feet in Exodus 30:21 is interesting. Hands are what we use to do things: our sin is often performed with our hands. Our feet walk us into situations we should not place ourselves, away from God. Maybe there is a significance in washing those specific parts?

The oil and incense appear to simply be products that God is claiming and setting aside for Himself as holy. I don’t think there is anything special in the recipes, the odor, the mixture, or anything like that, other than they have been selected by God. It is remarkable how being selected by God makes something holy… perhaps we should take heed of that.

And of course there is the requirement of reserving the oil and incense for their intended purposes. They are not to be used for personal reasons, only for those things that God intends them for. There is a separation between the things of man and the things of God. To disregard the holy things of God, and to treat them as nothing special, places us in a bad relation with God, it suggests we view ourselves greater than we should, or God lesser than we should. Respect and worship of God extends beyond words, but also to actions, and is reflected in our treatment of that which God deems holy.


Lord, thank You for cleansing us. Thank You for declaring us special in Your sight. I pray that we would see and treat that which is holy as such. And help us to treasure others, just as You treasure us. Amen.


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