3/3 Exodus 30:32

32 It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person, and you shall make no other like it in composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you.

God directed the ingredients for compounding the anointing oil which was to be used to anoint the priests, the tabernacle, its furniture, and the sacred instruments. It was not to be used for ordinary people as perfume. It was never to be used for any other purpose and the people were never to make something similar.

In the same chapter, God directed the ingredients for compounding the incense that was to burn on the altar of incense (see yesterday's devotion). The same warning was given to not use it for any other purpose and for people to never make an imitation for their own use.

The oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit. The incense is a picture of prayer that should always be led by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is not ours to use as we wish. The warning is applicable today to those who would use the Holy Spirit to promote their name and ministry. He (the Holy Spirit) promotes Jesus and points us to Him, not to a man. Some act as if the Holy Spirit is serving them. That is exactly what God was warning against in this passage.

The same is true for prayer. James warned that we do not receive what we pray for because we are asking for things we are lusting after (James 4:3). Prayer is not to serve you. Certainly we are encouraged to pray for our needs (Matthew 7:11), however, our prayers should be directed by the Holy Spirit and not seen as a way to have God serve us and our whims (Romans 8:26-27). The Spirit and true prayer are holy. That means they are set apart for God's use, not ours to do with as we please (Acts 8:17-23). Those who make imitation oil or incense were to be expelled from God's people (Exodus 30:33). It's quite a warning!

Prayer: LORD, purify my heart and open my ears that my prayers may be directed by Your Holy Spirit. Help me never to see Him as my servant, but myself as His.