Careful Offerings: Numbers 28
In Summary: Numbers 28 comes back to the laws of offerings for the people of Israel. There are several rules and laws regarding offerings, all of which are covered in Leviticus.
However, it’s important to realize that the end of Numbers addresses an entirely new generation of Israelites than lived in Leviticus. Remember, after all, that Moses, Joshua, and Caleb are the only surviving men from the incident of the spies
With this in mind, I think we can understand why the rules are restated in this and following chapters. Additionally, we see that God is reminding the Israelites of some of the daily, continual offerings and sacrifices that are to be made. During 38 years of wandering the wilderness, these may have been neglected. Or they were simply not started, awaiting arrival in the Promised Land.
Any direction you look at it, these are sacrifices are important. It is part of the worship of God in the Old Testament, and we as Christians see these as foreword looking to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
In Focus: I think one passage that is worth a focused look is Numbers 28:2. God commands that the Israelites be careful to present the offering. Think on that.
Careful. What does it mean to be careful? Careful means to watch over all the details. Careful means to notice and fill in the all the blanks.
A careful observance of God’s commanded sacrifices will note all of the requirements. The perfect animals. The right times. The proper people involved.
Careful also speaks to the investment of time before, during, and after. One does not count a sacrifice as carefully offered if it was not considered beforehand. Neither does it count as careful sacrifice when there’s no thought afterward.
In Practice: How, then, does this transfer into the New Testament church? We do not, after all, need to offer sacrifices like cattle or sheep. How does this matter?
First, we ought to be careful with our gratitude. Every day, the redeemed of Christ ought to carefully note how He has saved us and redeemed us. Being paid for by the blood of Jesus should cause us to be more grateful than if we had to bring sheep.
Second, we ought to be careful with our lives. Our sacrifice, according to Romans 12:1, is living. We live in obedience to the commands of Jesus, we walk through life loving our neighbors.
Third, we ought to be careful with our gathering. Our service to Christ is not a solo act. We serve with a body, within a body, as part of the fellowship of believers. Are we careful to guard our time to prepare for this? Or do we hope that showing up is enough?
In Nerdiness: The biggest nerd part of this I found is the whole idea of a soothing aroma in the offering. As in, it smells good?
This is part of the concept of anthropomorphism in Scripture. This is a literary term that reflects using human-sounding terms to describe non-human figures. God does not need air freshener, but that’s the best way to make it clear to us.
And the more I think about it, I would suggest that the constant fire and smoke might be less than pleasing to some people. But sacrifice that is convenient is not really a sacrifice, is it?