No Ordinary Shoes – Exodus 30
For my birthday last year, my husband surprised me with ballroom dancing lessons. We knew from our time as show choir partners way back in high school that dancing together could be a lot of fun, and we had a blast reconnecting on the dance floor as an “old married couple.” Though lessons cost more than we wanted to continue paying, we found instructional DVDs and kept learning on our own.
So when his company Christmas party rolled around, and I began my annual search for something to wear, I was also thinking about the chance we’d have to put our dance lessons to use. I needed new shoes to match my dress, and I thought, “Why not kill two birds with one stone and just invest in some ballroom dance shoes?”
Upon visiting the local studio to ask for advice, I found out how much I didn’t know about dance shoes. The strappy heels I’d seen on display during our lessons weren’t merely “shoes that are good to dance in”—they were “shoes that are ONLY for dancing in.” Our instructor informed me that you never, ever wear your dance shoes outside. You bring them in a bag and put them on when it’s time to dance. They have suede soles, perfect for both spinning and traction, but also easily ruined. In other words, if I chose to purchase some ballroom dance shoes, they would most certainly not double as party shoes. If they were to retain the very features that made them good for dancing, they would have to be kept aside, reserved for special use.
A similar rationale accompanies the worship regulations described in Exodus 30. The anointing oil is sacred; God instructs Moses to use it for consecrating priests and objects within the tabernacle only. And God means business. The recipe isn’t a guarded secret; it’s clearly described here—but anyone who tries to make his own sweet-smelling oil or put the real stuff on an outsider “shall be cut off from his people” (v. 33). God’s instructions are explicit: “This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on the body of an ordinary person” (v. 31-32).
The holy incense was protected by similar regulations: Make this exactly according to instructions, and don’t you dare mix up any for your own common use. This specific blend of spices was carefully hoarded, not to be used anywhere but in the temple.
These stringent restrictions were dismantled in a stunning way a few centuries later. Because The Holy hung naked and bleeding on a cross, “cut off from His people,” His people could be made holy like Him. The death of God’s own Son would tear down that heavy curtain dividing holy and common, sacred and secular.
And after Jesus had risen again, He would do something unbelievable, something vaguely akin to letting my little niece wear my ballroom dance shoes to an outdoor princess party. Forget merely pouring holy anointing oil on an ordinary person. God was determined to pour His own Holy Spirit INTO every ordinary person who trusted in Him.
After the ultimate Sacrifice ascended to God, and His Holy Spirit was poured out to dwell in us, we ourselves would become the “incense…holy to the LORD” (v. 37). “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).
“Thanks be to God,” Paul says—God, who no longer hoards His holy incense and oil, but who pours out His own Spirit extravagantly to make us holy like His Son. God, “who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Perhaps we could even call it a victory dance.
Amy Kannel often suffers from spiritual amnesia, easily forgetting who Jesus is and what He has done for her—so she writes to remember His faithfulness and help others see Him as the Main Thing. She makes her home in the Nashville area and will be forever grateful to the South for introducing her to tomato pie. When she’s not writing, you might find Amy making said pie and other kitchen messes, singing to her three-year-old son, reading with her six-year-old son, or ballroom dancing in the living room with Mr. Wonderful. And if you’d told her ten years ago that she would even think of mentioning cooking in a bio, she would have declared you certifiably insane…which just goes to show that she serves a God who’s in the business of changing people. You can find more of Amy’s writing at Choosing Hallelujah.