The gathering around holiness (Ezek 20:41-20:42)

“‘As a pleasing odor,

I will accept you.

When I bring you out

From the people,

I will gather you

Out of the countries

Where you have been

Scattered.

I will manifest

My holiness

Among you

In the sight

Of the nations.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I bring you

Into the land of Israel,

The country

That I swore

To give

To your ancestors.”

Yahweh was going to accept the Israelites as a pleasing odor, when he was going to gather his people from the various scattered nations and countries. Yahweh was going to manifest his holiness among them in the sight of the other nations. They would all know that it was Yahweh that brought them into the land of Israel. This is the same country that he had sworn to give to their ancestors.

 

Using Yahweh’s gifts to worship other gods (Ezek 16:17-16:19)

“‘You also took

Your beautiful jewels

Of my gold,

Of my silver,

That I had given you.

You made for yourself

Male images.

You played

The whore

With them.

You took

Your embroidered garments

To cover them.

You set my oil

Before them.

You set my incense

Before them.

You set my bread

That I gave you,

That I had fed you

With choice flour,

With oil,

With honey,

Before them

As a pleasing odor.

So it was.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh said that this young girl Jerusalem took the beautiful silver and gold jewels that he had given her and then made male images, so that she could play the whore with them. She covered them with her embroidered garments. She set Yahweh’s oil and incense before them. She took the bread, the choice flour, the oil, and the honey that Yahweh had given her to put as a pleasing odor before her new gods. Yahweh had spoken clearly.

The generous spirit of sacrifice (Sir 35:6-35:12)

“Do not appear

Before the Lord

Empty-handed!

All that you offer

Is a fulfillment of the commandments.

The offering of a righteous person

Enriches the altar.

Its pleasing odor

Rises before the Most High.

The sacrifice of the righteous

Is acceptable.

It will never be forgotten.

Be generous

When you worship the Lord!

Do not stint

The first fruits of your hands!

With every gift

Show a cheerful face!

Dedicate your tithe

With gladness!

Give to the Most High

As he has given to you!

Be as generous

As you can afford!”

Sirach wanted every Temple sacrificial offering to be generous. You should never appear before the Lord empty-handed. You should fulfill the commandments. Your offering should enrich the altar with a pleasing odor that reaches to the Most High God. The acceptable sacrifices of the righteous will never be forgotten. Thus, you should be generous when you worship the Lord. You should not be stingy with your offering of the first fruits. Every tithe gift that you bring should be with a cheerful glad face. Remember that you are giving to the Most High God as he has given to you. You should be as generous as you can afford to be.