This wooden figure is very much like the nutcracker, but in fact, it is an incense burner! I love the beautiful wood craftsmanship of the Germans! It almost makes me want to burn incense…almost. I never got used to the smell of incense although my dorm roommates thought it was wonderful back in college days.
Burning incense has long been part of religious observances in Greece, Egypt, China and India. It is also currently used in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and in some Lutheran churches. In the Old Testament, burning incense was part of worship in the tabernacle and temple (Ex. 30:34). Now, because of Christ’s sacrifice we can approach God with confidence and without the many rituals of the Law (Heb. 10:19-22).
In our verse for today, David sees his prayers rising to God like the smoke of incense. Any way we can visualize spiritual truths is helpful in worship. Of course, burning incense does not make us more pleasing to God. But burning incense is a great way to “see” our prayers reaching His ears, just as lifting our hands can help us feel worshipful and closer to Him.
In Heaven there will be golden bowls of incense presented to Jesus in worship (Rev. 5:8). The incense represents the prayers of God’s people. Accompanied by harp music and a new song, the incense of our prayers will proclaim Jesus as the Lamb, worthy of all glory and honor! What a beautiful thought that my prayer might be in one of those golden bowls of incense!
Lord, may my prayers always be worshipful and a sweet aroma to You.
Look familiar? This is a summer re-post due to ministry schedule.