Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh: The Shadow of His Presence

God loves us and wants to be with us but His presence is a sacred place. When God declared His intention to come and dwell among His people, Moses was given strict instructions in preparing that holy space. The tabernacle was designed with intricate detail according to God’s plan.

In Exodus 30 we have a recording of those instructions. In the tabernacle’s innermost area there was to be several furnishings. For one of them, Moses was to make the Altar of Incense and overlay it with gold. On that altar was to be burned a special and sacred recipe that included frankincense as a pleasing aroma to God. All of the holy items were anointed, consecrated, with oil consisting of myrrh as its base. When complete, God said that this is “where I will meet with you."[1]

In His great mercy, God humbled Himself to join us in the flesh and so we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Lest we forget who this Child really is, Matthew is careful to convey the gifts that were brought to Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh. These items mirror the sacred setting of the tabernacle where God promised to meet them.

The joy of the season is outdone only by the wonder – that a holy God would dwell with us. God with us. Emmanuel.

And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11


[1] Exodus 30:6

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