The Clouds in His Nostrils
Twice a day, incense burned on the Altar of Incense at the Temple. While people stood outside praying, a priest chosen by lot reverently entered the sanctuary (Luke 1:9-10). Carefully, he transferred the finely powdered incense to the burning coals on the waist-high golden incense altar.
The complex and sweet aroma rose from the coals as a vehicle of prayer. It elevated men’s prayers heavenward into the beauty of the Divine Presence. Although the incense was offered inside the holy place, its thick aroma spread for miles. It was said that the women of Jericho, who lived fifteen miles away, never wore perfume because the fragrance of incense filled their town.
King David understood the mystery of the incense offering. He declared, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” (Psalm 141:2)
Our prayers are as the rich and fragrant clouds in the Temple's incense service (ketoret). The Book of Revelation confirms the fine blend of incense and prayer. “And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne (Revelation 8:3).”
Have we spoken to the Most High today? The scent of our prayers rise up from the hottest coals of our lives. When we pray, the Almighty not only listens. He smells our prayers in His nostrils.
Published March 22, 2017