Thursday, March 17, 2011
Remember the Alabaster Box I wrote of last year? Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3, Luke 7 and John 12:3. Add another bit of information about precious ointment history, stopping first in Exodus.
And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. (Exodus 30:25 KJV)
The recipe was given in earlier verses for this oil to anoint the tabernacle. And, it was done:
And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary. (Exodus 37:29 KJV)
Apothecaries made more than this holy oil, designed as a sweet savour for the Lord. But a fly in it ruins it. Have you heard the phrase “a fly in the ointment”? It comes from our King James Bible:
Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. (Ecclesiastes 10:1 KJV)
That sweet fragrance of ointments would attract flies, just as an honorable man with a good reputation would attract those who do not wish him well. That was the center of our Youth Minister’s message at church last night. In addition to getting an interesting bit of history on apothecaries, we were also given a message that we must take care to keep even a little folly away from our Christian lives.
He illustrated it with a memorable application of a fly-swatter to an imaginary fly, as well as a large cockroach in a plastic storage unit. Sorry, you just had to be there to get the full effect!
We all know of people who led exemplary lives, yet fell through temptation and displayed a great deal of folly. Instead of being examples of wisdom, their lives became a source of derision and laughter. Those with a Christian background were labeled hypocrites – they did not practice what they preached.
Where do we fall as to temptations? We’re told no temptation is so great it cannot be overcome:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV)
Disposing of that temptation, however, mean giving up something that is strongly desired, that would give us pleasure, make us happy (for a while) or ease our lives. But – yielding to the temptation would be the fly in the ointment, destroying the sweet savour meant for God and perhaps leading others astray. Not disposing of that temptation would cost us our reputation for wisdom and honour.
Will we look for that way to escape? Or yield and lose our reputations.