“And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.”
In today’s passage, the incense represents prayer. The fire on the altar represents the Holy Spirit, for it is He who takes our prayers and ignites them in the will of God.
This means that without our prayer, there cannot be ignition from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit helps our infirmities. “…We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” Romans 8:26. Our wordless groans are a sign that we want the intervention of the Holy Spirit.
The altar has to be set, and incense laid on it, before fire can fall. It is vital that we understand that our agreement, or our willingness is needed for things to happen. If we want the Lord’s presence in our lives, we must learn to ask Him in prayers, while submitting our hearts and desires to the Holy Spirit for Him to ignite and turn it into a blazing fire or sweet smelling aroma pleasant to God.
The Holy Spirit can do many things for us, but without our willingness to surrender, He most likely won’t. Just like there cannot be fire on the altar without an incense, without our willingness to surrender, the Holy Spirit cannot operate in us.
Further Study: Exodus 30:1-10, Luke 1:1-11, Romans 8.
Thought for the day: What is the state of your altar?