TODAY’S READING: Exodus 30–32
It is beautiful—and typical—of the God of the nations that the holy anointing oil and the incense of His temple could only be made by compounding spices from a variety of nations. The oil of the tabernacle was made from liquid myrrh, sweet-smelling cinnamon, cane, cassia, and olive oil (Exo. 30:22–24). The incense was an equal multi-national collection of stacte, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense (v. 34). These spices were gathered from Palestine, Arabia, India, and, in the case of onycha, the Red Sea, and they were compounded according to the “art of the perfumer” (v. 25). What a beautiful picture of God, the perfumer who crushes different people together so that their aromas influence one another with the total sweetness being greater than the sum of the parts.
It does not take long, however, for human aromas to stink, and Moses was not long on the mountain before Aaron and friends made their own stench by compounding their own concoction, weakly explaining, “I cast [their gold] into the fire, and this calf came out” (32:24). God was not amused. In fact, He was angered and told Moses that He would wipe out His chosen people and start all over again. Moses appealed the decision and
“based his appeal (among other things) on the grounds that God had a reputation to think of. What would the nations (especially the Egyptians in that context) think of YHWH as God if he first delivered Israel from Egypt and then destroyed them in the wilderness…? They would think that YHWH was either incompetent or malicious. Is that the kind of reputation YHWH wanted? The name (reputation) of YHWH among the nations was at stake in what God did against His own people, just as it was involved in all that he did for them.”
What God does to us in mercy or in punishment is meant to be publicly viewed and “the clear assumption underlying this bold intercession is that whatever God does to His people in anger will be as visible to the nations as all that he did for them in his compassion.” God displays both His blessing love and His discipline love openly. Our lives are not to be about us, lived out in private and for self-glory. Our lives are to be about God, lived out in full view of the nations and for His name’s sake. We must relinquish all rights to our own lives, even the right to be loved or corrected privately. God used Israel to display the fullness of His character to the nations. He wants to use us in similar fashion. We are His workmanship. He puts great care into our crafting, for He intends His art to be viewed by all that He might be further praised and desired.
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 88.
 Ibid, 470–471.