A Better Way

Numbers 28:2 “Command the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be careful to present My offering, My food for My offerings by fire, of a soothing aroma to Me, at the appointed time.”

Observation: God laid out the sacrificial system that was to be followed: Every day of the year, two male lambs. Once a week on every Sabbath, two additional male lambs. On the first day of each month, an additional offering of two bulls, one ram, seven male lambs, and one male goat. On Passover, for each of seven days, two bulls, one ram, and seven lambs. Similar patterns were to be followed for other special feast days, culminating in the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, when on each day there were to be two rams, fourteen lambs, and one goat sacrificed. In addition, a total of seventy-one bulls was to be sacrificed over the days of the feast.

Application: I am struck, as I read this, by one thing above all else: In establishing this system of constant sacrifices, God was creating multiple daily reminders to keep the Israelites in relationship with Him. As the people went about their daily lives, earning a living, going to school, preparing meals—whatever they did—they were never far from the reality of the system required by their covenant with God.

Despite physical sacrifices that the people could see with their own eyes and the manifest presence of God that they could see in the cloud by day and the fire by night, they would grumble and fall away from following God. How much easier is it to fall away from God today, when the required sacrifice is one of the heart, not outwardly visible? 

Christ, by whose one-time sacrifice I am offered eternal life with God, made it so much simpler to come to God. Once, for all, it was done. And yet, to enter into His life, I must still make daily sacrifices to put Him first, to put the first commandment in first place. These sacrifices, though, are not motivated by law, which God knew I could never keep, but are motivated instead by love—compelled, in fact, as the only possible response to His magnificent sacrifice for me.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for showing me the extent of the physical sacrifices the Hebrews had to follow, and the impossibility of keeping them perfectly enough to earn, by them, eternity with You. Thank You for the sacrifice of Your dear Son on the cross, wooing me by love into daily and eternal relationship with You.

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