Small things can make a big difference - this is true in the negative as well as the positive. Examples of the negative are the little foxes that spoil the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15) and the dead flies in the ointment (Ecclesiastes 10:1). However, I want to approach this from the positive. What is smaller than the spices we add to our food, yet makes a huge impact for good on the palate? That is the information we are given in Exodus 30:23-24, "Take thou also unto thee principal spices, ... myrrh ... cinnamon ... calamus ... cassia ..."
My wife has a drawer full of spices; not every spice fits every food, nor every taste. Some are more desirable than others, depending on the food served or taste of the consumer. Spices bring the most robust flavor out of the food you are eating. In our reading, Moses was to mix these four spices into concoction together with oil into a holy anointing ointment. He would then anoint the tabernacle and the priesthood, bringing out the best possible experience to them in their worship time. Spices are small, but powerful. I wonder ... if our worship is bland, is it because we lack some small, but principal, spice? Moses was not allowed to use or duplicate this mixture for anything else, or use it on anyone else.
Moses listed the four he had in mind: Myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia. I have listed the four principal spices I want sprinkled on my life experiences (yours may be different).
I believe my life would be more pleasing to Him, and better lived by me, if I had in it a good sprinkling of forgiveness for others. The Bible deals much with the subject of forgiveness. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, ..." (I John 1:9). We see leading Bible characters where forgiveness was generously applied to others - men like Stephen as he was stoned, Paul when no man stood with him, and, of course, the dear Lord Jesus from the cross. In fact, we are told to forgive until "... seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:22). We will not be forgiven if we do not forgive. We are also told to "... forgive our debtors." (Matthew 6:12). We learned there is only one classification who is not to offer forgiveness - and that is he that is without sin may cast the first stone (John 8:7). As I set the table, my wife often asks me, "Honey, is the salt on the table?" I am asking you: Is the principal spice of forgiveness on your table?
The second principal spice I think God would have me keep within reach is the precious spice of prayer. Men first learned to pray in Genesis 4 when they realized that God was available and wanted to intervene in their affairs. We find the greatest of men praying: The apostles being taught how to pray after seeing Jesus pray; the great apostle Peter released from prison because his friends prayed; Paul often asking the church to pray for open doors; and in Revelation, we find those prayers of the saints that God does not answer, He puts in a bottle for later. I want prayer to be in reach as I sit down to the table of life.
The third principal spice I try to sweeten the pot with is the philosophy of being a second mile Christian. A second mile Christian is one who is willing to go beyond the minimum requirement. In the days when the Roman Empire occupied Israel, a soldier could, by law, require a Jew to carry his sword or shield one mile. Jesus said to go a second mile voluntarily (Matthew 5:41) and in so doing, they would be showing that Christianity made a difference for good in their lives. A good policy I have tried to sprinkle on my life is: "To give more than is asked and take less than is offered."
The last principal spice I want to be sure to have on my table is the principal spice of praise. The base of praise is knowing your self-worthlessness and His gracious response to it. Have you ever heard someone say, "He is just getting what he deserves" when, in truth, unless he is in hell, he is not getting what he deserves yet - and neither are you nor I. The Bible says God inhabits the praises of men (Psalm 22:3). I think what praise brings is God into proper focus - try this spice.
These principal spices are brought into a proper mix by the oil of the Holy Spirit, making an ointment that brings us to a new and robust experience when He applies these spices where and when needed.
|Written by Dr. Charles F. Keen
February 28, 2018