The Scriptures often refer to a nation, or a people who are spiritually inert as a “barren wasteland,” a place that is dry like a desert. The lesson is simple enough: If you want the outpouring of God’s blessings in your church and your community, worship the King- no worship … no rain!


Another Biblical picture of a similar idea is found in Revelation 8:3,4: “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” The Old Testament type that illustrates true spiritual worship is the altar of incense and the elements burnt on it. In Exodus 30:34-38, God commanded Moses, “Take fragrant spices-gum resin (stacte), onycha and galbanum – and frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord.”

God tells us what acceptable worship consists of. The four ingredients that made up the holy incense illustrate the worship God seeks.

One half of the incense speaks of our contribution to worship, the other half speaks of God’s part. The first half was made up one-third of gum resin (stacte), one-third of onycha, and one­ third of galbanum. Frankincense made up the other half of the formula.


Stacte was a gum-resin that oozed spontaneously from the bark of the storax and opobalsurnum trees of the Palestinian region. This speaks of the spontaneity of worship. As we spend time with the Lord in prayer and in His word every day, we will see more and more just how great and worthy He really is. Our hearts will “ooze spontaneously” with gratitude and worship.


Onycha is a substance which is obtained from the ‘closing flaps’ of certain deep-sea mollusk.

This speaks of two things: First it tells us that just as they had to go to the depths of the sea to get this sea creature, so God wants worship to come from deep within our innermost being. It was for lack of depth in Israel’s worship that God said to Isaiah, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isa. 28:18). God wants our worship to come from deep within our hearts:


Secondly, onycha tells us that God wants our worship to come from open hearts. Paul speaks of this when he says, “but we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed ‘into the same image from glory to glory , just as from the Lord the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). “Unveiled face” speaks of a whole-hearted, unhidden, honest communion with the heavenly Father. Our worship should invite Him to examine us, cleanse us, and transform us into the image of Jesus, His Son. We must put to death our human tendency to withhold ourselves from the Lord (we must lay aside our ‘closing flaps’) as we enter true spiritual worship. True worship involves our opening totally before Him.


Galbanum was an amber-colored substance gathered by breaking the stem of a certain local plant and collecting the milky substance that oozed from the break. Fig trees, milkweed, and dandelions all produce a milk like this. This speaks of the brokenness God desires in our worship.