TipriTV.com Numbers 28 (NLT) The Lord said to Moses, “Give these instructions to the people of Israel: The offerings you present as special gifts are a pleasing aroma to me; they are my food. See to it that they are brought at the appointed times and offered according to my instructions... This is the special gift you must present to the Lord as your daily burnt offering... On the Sabbath day, sacrifice two one-year-old male lambs with no defects... On the first day of each month, present an extra burnt offering to the Lord of two young bulls, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects... On the fourteenth day of the first month, you must celebrate the Lord’s Passover. On the following day—the fifteenth day of the month—a joyous, seven-day festival will begin, but no bread made with yeast may be eaten... At the Festival of Harvest, when you present the first of your new grain to the Lord, you must call an official day for holy assembly, and you may do no ordinary work on that day... Be sure that all the animals you sacrifice have no defects."
Today's chapter discusses sacrifices, a ritual of the past and my mind is boggled by the blood bath that was called for. How is this relevant to us today and are we expected to follow it?
If we truly spent time studying the old testament sacrifices and their purposes, we will see their significance because through it, men made peace with God and had a way to live in peace. The first sacrifice was recorded in Genesis when God made clothes of animal hide to cover Adam and Eve because they ate the forbidden fruit and were aware of their nakedness because the glory of God left them.
From this point onwards, sacrifices became a price to pay for making peace with God and it held far more significance because people in those times lived off the land and had herds to give milk and meat. In today's chapter, it seems God re-instituted the full regimen of sacrifices that were expected of the generations past and there are a few points to remember.
The Israelites had been in the desert for about 38 years at this point and during this time, a new generation were at the helm while the old died or were destroyed by God for their sinfulness. Therefore God had to teach them anew His ways.
The next fact was that the full spectrum of sacrifices were not enforced or followed while Israel journeyed to their eventual homeland. This refresher served as a reminder to them and was in preparation for their new lives in the promised land.
This reminds me of how in the life of the church, there has to be a constant revisiting to the basic foundations of our faith because in doing so, we teach seekers and new believers, we remind ourselves of what we are called to and for, and we reinforce the fact that our purpose is for His glory because this is all His story and we are key members of His family now.
The first sacrificial requirement God gave Moses to pass on to the Israelites was to bring Him their offerings at appointed times as per God's instructions. This is so vital to our faith walk today because we are reminded by Jesus to have our quiet times communing with Him and God the Father through the Holy Spirit in the study of His word and through prayer.
The next aspect is the doubling of offerings on the sabbath day. This again is so pertinent to us because we are expected to use the Lord's day (Sunday or Friday depending on where you live) to spend with the Lord and avoid doing the work we generally do during the week. A doubling of our time with the Lord is a wonderful opportunity for us to hear from the Lord and to be refreshed by His speaking into our lives.
Also note that there were no peace-offerings appointed in this chapter. These were mainly for the benefit of the offerers and that was not as important as the one who they worshipped. The burnt offerings were purely for the honor of God to celebrate his dominion and goodness. This is key to us in our time spent with God.
Our prayer time is to be spent honoring and glorifying God for without Him, we would not be and without His promises that He always keeps, we would have no hope. That is why Jesus when He taught us the Lord's prayer started with blessing His father, His works and the coming kingdom of God. Is this how our prayers are structured and is God the one we worship or is it all about us and our needs?
One of the most significant sacrifices God asked for in this chapter was during the festival of harvest when the first fruits of our harvest are offered to God as Thanksgiving. We thank God for the great harvest He has given us but in God's sight, when He sows plentifully in our lives, He expects to reap accordingly from us and the question we need to ask ourselves is are we really thankful and do we know what we are thankful for?
Interestingly this weekend (If you are reading this at the time of publication) is Thanksgiving in the US and in different parts of the world similar festivals are celebrated around this season and I love how this chapter reminds us of how we need to be thankful to God for all that He has done and to worship Him with everything we have because it was all from Him and is to be used for His glory.
Joshua 24:14-18 (NLT) “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” The people replied, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God.”
In His Loving Service,
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