As we continue in the book of Exodus, the Lord gives Moses direction to build the last two items within the Tabernacle. The first item is an altar of incense that will be placed within the tent itself. Like the other items within the tent, it is to covered with pure gold. The priest shall make an offering upon it in the morning and evening. “And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations” (Ex 30:7-8). The priest was to worship the Lord twice daily within the tent and before the Lord. While incense was a pleasing aroma unto the Lord, Scripture also likens incense to prayer in Ps. 141:2; Rev. 5:8 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
The second item, a bronze basin, was to be placed in the courtyard before the tent of meeting. Its purpose was for the priests to cleanse themselves before ministering unto the Lord. “When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations” (Ex 30:20-21). To approach the Lord the priest must be ritually clean. He must be cleansed every single time he comes before the Lord. We see a beautiful contrast in the New Testament of the One who is able to cleanse us once and for all. “If we confess our sins, he (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
In verses 14 and 16 of chapter 30, the Lord gives instruction to Moses concerning the census tax. Everyone who is numbered shall give a half shekel as an offering unto the Lord; it was to be used for the Tabernacle. “Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord‘s offering…. You shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the Lord, so as to make atonement for your lives.” Doing so, all Israel would partake in ministering to the Lord supporting the service of the Tabernacle.
In preparation for Sunday, please read Exodus chapter 30; as you do, take note of several Old Testament types that point to Christ.