Sky Awake…I Up Now

Numbers 7:19-23 “The offering…was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, and one silver sprinkling bowl weighing seventy shekels…each filled with fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold dish weighing ten shekels, filled with incense, one young bull, one ram and one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering; one male goat for a sin offering; and two oxen, five rams, five male goats and five male lambs a year old to be sacrificed as a fellowship offering” (NIV).

Observation: The tabernacle had been set up, its utensils unpacked and properly placed. Moses had consecrated everything, and it was now time to celebrate. For twelve days, a leader from each of the tribes was to bring offerings for the dedication pageantry.

Application: The odd thing about this passage is not its detail; by now both the Hebrews and I should expect that God was able to precisely communicate His requirements for an acceptable sacrifice. I should also expect that the people would have learned to obey; in fact, “Learn or Burn” might have been the subtitle for His training manual.

The odd thing about this passage, and the thing that makes this chapter the longest of the first five books of the Bible, is that it is repeated verbatim twelve times. Why was this necessary? Why not just list the requirements once and then say that each tribe brought the same thing in turn?

I think about my exposure to the developing speech patterns of a small child: repetition is key. My eyes may want to roll with the certainty of what’s coming, but repetition helps imprint understanding into an impressionable brain. “Sky asleep, Grandpa; time for bed.” “Sky awake, Grandpa; I up now.”

Within such repetition to the Hebrews, another message is confirmed: there will be no competition before God for the best or the biggest offering. No tribe needed to bring more than required, and none dared bring less. In the sameness for the Hebrews is the security of acceptance. God loves and accepts me for one thing only: that I am in Christ. When He sees Christ’s blood applied to my sin, I am as fully accepted as I will ever be. No further striving is required, no competitive giving, no sacrifice of my own devising draws me one iota closer to the Father than the sacrifice He has already given. My life in Him, then, can be simplicity itself: Sky asleep; time for bed. Sky awake; I up now.

Prayer: Lord, it is Your sacrifice, not mine, that makes me acceptable. Your life given once for many, has opened heaven’s gates to all who accept Your work on the cross. Thank You, Lord.

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