Exodus 30:1 through 31:18

Daybreak for Students

Exodus 30:1 through 31:18

Exodus 30
Exodus 31
And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. — Exodus 30:7-8

My nephew has always figured that substantial meals are a critical part of each day and not to be missed. One time when he was a teenager, he slept in and didn’t wander into the kitchen until almost noon. Never one to skip breakfast, he delved into the refrigerator, pulled out bacon and eggs, and fixed himself a heaping plateful sided by several slices of toast. His mother observed his activity and was not surprised that, even though it was late morning, he felt it necessary to start the day out with a hearty breakfast. She was a bit surprised, though, when just a half-an-hour or so later, he proceeded to make himself an equally hearty lunch! 

While most of us probably do not have as voracious an appetite as my nephew, we likely make sure that we take in nourishment on a regular basis. Are we as eager to provide regularly for our spiritual needs as we do for our physical needs? In today’s text, we read that the high priest was to go into the Tabernacle every morning and evening throughout the year to offer sweet incense (symbolic of acceptable prayers) to the Lord. This twice-daily routine was to be repeated throughout the generations.

In modern days, referred to as the New Testament dispensation, we worship God in a different manner than the Children of Israel did in their rites under the Old Testament Law. Rather than depending upon a priest to represent us before the Lord, we approach Him directly through prayer. It is important that we avail ourselves of this privilege on a regular basis, for this is how we receive the sustenance we need for spiritual survival.

We should start each day with prayer, asking for God’s guidance, strength, and protection in the hours ahead. We also need to lift our hearts to Him in prayer as our day progresses, much as we would communicate spontaneously with a friend. When the day is over, we need to thank the Lord for His provision and care.

Let us purpose in our hearts to make prayer as much a daily habit as eating!


Moses was nearing the end of his forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai. In chapter 30, God gave His final instructions to Moses regarding the Tabernacle and its furnishings. These included the dimensions and shape of the altar of incense, orders concerning Aaron’s burning of incense on it, and warnings against prohibited sacrifices and offerings. He also was instructed to make a laver of brass for the washing of the priests’ hands and feet when they came to minister.

In verses 22-33, Moses was given the exact recipe of specified spices to make “an oil of holy ointment” for the anointing of the Tabernacle and all its furnishings, and for Aaron and his sons as they ministered. Over and over, God stressed that this was to be a holy anointing oil for use throughout their generations. Other sweet spices were to be blended to make a perfume that would be the “sweet incense” used in the Tabernacle. The Children of Israel were not to use the oil or incense for any other purpose, or even to make some that had the smell of these spice mixtures for their own use; to do so would bring a severe penalty.

In chapter 31, verses 1-11, God revealed to Moses that He had called Bezaleel, the grandson of Hur, and Aholiab to serve as skilled craftsmen who would create the beautiful furnishings for the Tabernacle. It is noteworthy that although their task was physical in nature, they were equipped by being filled with the Spirit of God, “in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” 

Verses 12-17 address the emphatic requirements God gave the Children of Israel regarding the observance of the Sabbath, indicating that this was to be another sign or distinguishing mark of His people. (Circumcision was the earlier sign.) Failure to obey the Sabbath commandment was punishable by death, for breaking it symbolically nullified the whole covenant between God and Israel.


(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V.   The construction of the Tabernacle
     B.   The instructions for the building
           14.   The altar of incense (30:1-10)
           15.   The ransom money (30:11-16)
           16.   The bronze laver (30:17-21)
           17.   The oil (30:22-33)
           18.   The perfume (30:34-38)
           19.   The workmen (31:1-11)
           20.   The sign of the Sabbath (31:12-17)
           21.   The tables of stone (31:18)


  1. How often was Aaron instructed to sprinkle blood on the altar of incense?

  2. Why did the incense and oil for the Tabernacle worship have to be different from any other?

  3. How might the specific blessings given to Bezaleel aid us in our calling? What can we do to ensure that we receive from God as Bezaleel did?


When was the last time your spirit was fed and filled through prayer? If every morning and evening was the schedule commanded by God for His people in Moses’ day, it is a good one for us to practice in our prayer life as well.