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The God of Reconciliation

“Thankfully, we have Jesus as our ultimate sacrifice, who lived the perfect sinless life for us!”

Exodus 30:1-6 (ESV)
“You shall make an altar on which to burn incense; you shall make it of acacia wood.  A cubit shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth. It shall be square, and two cubits shall be its height. Its horns shall be of one piece with it. You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and around its sides and its horns. And you shall make a molding of gold around it.  And you shall make two golden rings for it. Under its molding on two opposite sides of it you shall make them, and they shall be holders for poles with which to carry it. You shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put it in front of the veil that is above the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is above the testimony, where I will meet with you.”
In the book of Exodus, God clearly lays out how to be in His presence by giving a specific set of rules and guidelines. Humans are immoral and imperfect, and to be close to a perfect, holy God, certain steps had to be taken to commune with Him.

The altar was one of these sacred objects where sweet smelling incense burned every morning and night. The altar was arranged in front of the veil before entering the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence dwelled. The high priest would burn a certain mixture of ingredients in a gold censer above a fire on the altar. He would do this as he prayed for the sins of Israel, directing the smoke from the incense toward the Holy of Holies. The incense burning would take away the smell of the animal sacrifices that were done daily on a separate altar.

Then once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would dip his finger in the blood of the sin offering and put a small amount on the horns of the altar. In doing this, he was purifying and cleansing the altar of sins on behalf of the nation of Israel.[1]

The Israelites did these rituals to stay in an ongoing relationship with God. The problem was that everything they did was temporary as people never stop sinning. Sacrifices were always needed to cover their sins and incense burned to honor and reconcile that relationship with God. This sounds like an exhausting way to live!

Thankfully, we have Jesus as our ultimate sacrifice, who lived the perfect sinless life for us! His death is all that is needed to be in God’s presence continually. Jesus reconciled us to His Father. The veil that separated us from the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom the moment Jesus died for our sins. God the Father is now accessible to everyone that has faith in Jesus. He is the ONLY way to everlasting life. No more sacrifices, no more altars, no more rituals. Just God’s Holy Spirit, living in and through us. Let us thank Him for never being far from us and always wanting a relationship with us!

Action Step

God is always willing and ready to be in relationship with His people. If it has been a while, and you want to renew your connection with God, or you haven’t taken that step, it is this simple: Pray, ask God to forgive you of your sins, and surrender your life to Him only.

 Heavenly Father, I could never repay You for everything You have done. Thank You for sending the perfect sacrifice in Jesus and Your Holy Spirit to guide my life. Be with me always. Forgive me for when I don’t seek You. I trust You with my life. Amen.
   [1] Henry, M. "Commentary on Exodus 30 by Matthew Henry." Blue Letter Bible. Last Modified 1 Mar, 1996. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Exd/Exd_030.cfm

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