What does it say?
The Lord gave Moses instructions to make an ornate altar for burning incense on which is to be placed in front of the veil that separates the holy place from the holy of holies. Like the other articles, the altar of incense was designed to be carried with poles. This altar was for burning incense in the morning and in the evening and was not for sacrifice, but once a year the high priest was to make atonement on it with the blood of the sin offering of atonement. The Lord then instructs Moses to take a census of the sons of Israel, and every man numbered from twenty years old and older is to pay a ransom for himself; a half shekel for the service of the tent of meeting. A laver of bronze filled with water is to be placed between the altar and the tent of meeting; the priest are to wash their hands and feet before entering the tent of meeting or before approaching the altar with a sacrifice. A recipe for making a special perfume is given but this perfume is only to be used on the priests and holy articles. Then a recipe is given for making the incense that the high priest is to burn morning and evening on the altar of incense; no one else in Israel may use this incense for themselves, nor is the perfume to be pored on a layman.
What does it mean?
This chapter is about making clean and making the articles and the priest smell good. The incense burning day and night represents the smell of good works. I find the instructions regarding the census and the half shekel tribute for the tent of meeting service interesting because it shows that the Lord considered all of the sons of Israel equal. The Lord is holy and the sons of Israel were in a desert. They would have been covered with dust much of the time. The priest washing before entering the tent or approaching the altar with a sacrifice is demonstration that the Lord is to be consider holy; therefore, care is to be made when approaching him. Two recipes are given: one for making a special perfume and one for making a special incense, neither of which are to be used by or on a laymen. While the half shekel tribute showed equality in persons, the use of these special recipes shows election in service.
What shall I do?
Every single human is of equal value to the Lord; therefore, I shall consider every human in that way. Much of the things talked about in this chapter regarding priestly ceremony is no more. Jesus Christ has entered through the veil and is in the holy of holies making intercession on our behalf. Jesus washed his disciples hands and feet and Jesus was anointed before his death and before his burial. Everyone of these things represent the things that happened at the end of Jesus ministry. I shall consider everything written in the Gospel of John 12-19 regarding these things as representing Jesus ministry.