Columns of Incense to God

And the LORD said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices...You shall make of these an incense...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.”

-Exodus 37:34-38

There’s a reason why praise and worship is not only incredibly powerful to encourage broken hearts, but it is a crucial necessity; and it has nothing to do with our emotions or having some kind of “experience.” Like anything valuable in Christ, the most powerful praise and worship is a simple act of faith, not an emotional experience or a “buzz” that we seek.

Let’s use our imaginations again to see this from a bigger perspective.

Imagine that whenever a Christian lifted up her voice to praise Jesus, a column of incense rose from her mouth. Suppose that this column somehow grew in size as it floated into the air until it was visible from space. If this actually happened, every Sunday would be an absolute visual spectacle to behold. As the sun cast its gleam on each time zone around the world on Sunday, churches in those areas would meet and offer up their praise to God at their designated times of worship; and, if we were to watch from space, we would then see columns of thick, cloudy incense rising like pillars from the earth as it rotated and brought each time zone into the sunlight of a new day.

I wouldn’t be surprised if God sees something like this on Sundays. He sees “shifts,” if you will, of worshipers offering up their sacrifices of praise to Him.

And these columns of incense -- our daily spiritual incense of worship -- do something very special in the earth and in our lives, if we willingly participate.

In the Old Testament, the incense that burned on the altar of incense at the entrance to the Holy of Holies was very special. As we see in the verse above, it was illegal to duplicate its recipe anywhere else.

And this is the amazing part: some of the ingredients listed in the making of the incense had healing properties, and some had repellant properties that kept insects away. Not only did the incense in God’s house have a unique fragrance that was not smelled anywhere else in the world, but it had healing and protective properties.

It is the same with the incense that we offer in spirit and truth in the Name of Christ when we’re with other believers. There is no other worship like it because there is no name like the Name of Jesus. His uniqueness makes our worship unique, and His Presence binds up our wounds and repels demonic forces from our lives.

The best thing about it? We don’t have to have some kind of “experience” to participate in burning that incense of worship to God each day. It is not about what we feel. It is about what we do by faith. If you choose to worship Him by faith, the power of that action will expose your life to the healing and repellant ingredients of Christ’s glory and nearness. His unseen Presence will seep into your life and envelope you like a thick column of incense from His holy temple; and it will happen whether you “feel” it or not.

Next time you’re feeling weary on a Sunday morning, remember the priceless opportunity you have: you get to join the ever rising columns of incense that do their victory lap around the globe. As the time zones bring Sunday morning to every tribe and nation on earth, you get to jump into that cloud too and partake in the healing and protection of Christ.

This doesn’t mean life will suddenly become perfect and all your problems will go away, but I suspect that when you get to Heaven and look back on your life, you will see how that worship did indeed protect you in ways you never realized. We never see or hear the fighter jets patrolling our nation’s shores, protecting it from any foreign aggression, but they’re there every day, keeping an eye on things and protecting the nation. And whenever we choose to enter into praise and worship -- to glorify the Name of our King -- we can have faith that good things are happening as a result, whether in your life or in the life of somebody else.

And that brings up one final point: let’s not forget how our worship of Christ can bless, comfort, and inspire others. Maybe you have a family member or friend (or enemy) who knows what you’re going through. Just imagine how it will affect them when they see you pouring your heart and energy into worship, even in the midst of all of the darkness in your life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for creating the miracle of worship. Give me new eyes to see the wonder and pricelessness of it so that I never take it for granted. No matter what church I go to or how “well” our ministry is doing, help me to always see the amazing glory of Your Body coming together to offer up its praises to You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.