Numbers 29 (NLT) “On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets... On the tenth day of this seventh month hold a sacred assembly... On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. Celebrate a festival to the LORD for seven days... On the second day offer twelve young bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect... On the third day offer eleven bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect... On the fourth day offer ten bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect... On the fifth day offer nine bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect... On the sixth day offer eight bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect... On the seventh day offer seven bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect... On the eighth day hold a closing special assembly and do no regular work. Present as an aroma pleasing to the LORD a food offering consisting of a burnt offering of one bull, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect."
What is most staggering to me is the number of animals that were sacrificed and the rituals that were expected of the Israelites. How is God able to speak to us through all this bloodshed?
My first reaction to reading this chapter was one of shock. The desert was obviously strewn with blood and gore due to the many sacrifices the Israelites had to do as a requirement given by God and I cannot imagine the sight and smell.
It is shocking to see all that man had to do to be able to continue to commune with God because of the fall. No one was exempt from these requirements of God to keep up that relationship and I am certain after a point, it would have been mindless work for the Levites who performed these ceremonies throughout every day of the year.
What was the significance of this new festival in the seventh month? It was the time between seed-time and harvest, a time when the people had free time to themselves as they generally all lived off the land and there was little work they could do but wait.
This is a reminder to us that when we have such free times in our busy lives, a key priority for us is to spend time with God worshipping and serving Him. In our free times which might be weekends and vacation days, we cram it with activities like household chores, trips to visit new places, friends and family and while all of that is great for us personally, do we dedicate extra time to study God's word and talk with Him?
This morning, I prayed and thanked God for giving me a new day and the air to breathe. While these may be simple expectations, I was reminded by God the significance of it. Every breath I take in needs to be the right mix of gasses ordained by Him and every moment added is not one I earned but one He chose to bless me with.
Have we taken for granted the abundance God has blessed us with because it is only when we don't have that we realize what we had? When my Dad struggled to breathe in his dying days in hospital is when he truly appreciated the gift of breath God gave him that he squandered smoking cigarettes. Every moment we 'waste' or don't recognize as from God is an opportunity lost to serve Him.
Today we Christians don't sacrifice animals and don't have to contend with the ugliness of all the blood and gore simply because Jesus came and paid the price for all eternity for all people by offering His perfect and holy body. He took on all our sin and shame and was nailed on a cross to pay for it and this has become the permanent payment that did away with sacrifices.
Are you and I taking for granted this great sacrifice by either not submitting to Him and receiving salvation through Him or by forgetting God's pain in sacrificing His only son for us? Have we become so calloused that we cannot see all that we are spared from doing like the Israelites of Moses' day and are we able to celebrate the freedom on God could give us?
In His Loving Service,
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