Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Canonical Plan for Feb 23, Num 28-30

Today's readings are Num 28-30.

While the offerings detailed in Num 15 were designed to show the gratitude of a redeemed people, the offerings outlined in Num 28-29 are an ongoing demonstration of how sacrifice for sin fits in the life of a Jew living in the time before Christ. Israel is unable to stop sinning. Sins require atonement. So, God fashions a complex series of sacrifices to be made on a continual basis, reminding Israel that they are always in need of deliverance even though they are God's people.

Notice how Num 28:2 is worded, God says that the sacrifices and offerings are, “…my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma…” At the onset, God makes it clear that the livestock and food being offered are already His. This establishes that His people are not owners of their belongings, but stewards.

There are regular offerings, daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, monthly offerings and festival offerings like The Passover, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. Note, the daily offerings and sacrifices continue during the feasts and festivals. In God’s economy, sins must be addressed on a daily basis.

The calendar year is filled with these rituals. Through them, we see that there will be a rhythm of life in the Promised Land, which they are about to enter.  The abundance and regularity of the sacrifices called for is a guarantee that God will provide an abundance of livestock, grain, grapes and olives. The sacrifices total 113 bulls, 32 rams, 1,086 lambs, more than a ton of flour and a thousand jars of oil and wine each year. Although God will provide, Israel will have to be diligent to work together to provide the livestock, grain, grapes and olives for the sacrifices. In their diligence, they will put on display the unity and close relationship of God’s family.

Every ritual, ceremony, and feast is designed to remind the Jews of what God has done, what He is doing and what He has promised to do. Notice, every blood sacrifice is accompanied by a grain and drink offering. The blood sacrifice covers sin. The grain and drink offerings are thank offerings. Between the two types of offerings, sins are covered and thanks are rendered to God.

There is great symbolism in the burnt offerings. They reveal much about the character and nature of God and His relationship to His people.
  •      The offering is burned completely. It is rendered wholly unto the Lord with nothing held back, the smoke rising up and figuratively filling the nostrils of God is a pleasing aroma to Him. Check Eph 5:2 on this one.
  •        God demands absolute purity, so the animal sacrificed must be without blemish.
  •       Nothing of the offering is retained by the owner showing God’s complete possession of the sacrifice.
  •       The rituals are performed in a very public setting as an outward demonstration of faith and obedience.
  •       The blood is poured out on the altar representing the return of life to the giver of life, God.
Num 30 deals with vows made by women and reinforces the godly order of the family and marriage. It’s a rough and imperfect shadow of the structure that will eventually become the template for the body of Christ that will govern its relationship with Jesus.

Meanwhile, in all these arrangements and guidelines, we see that God gives His people a unique order. While some of the directives may seem archaic to us, to the Jews, living in the ancient culture of the Mideast, where women were something similar to chattel, they are liberating and mindful of the vital role women play in their society. While a Jewish woman lives under some structure and authority in the home, she is capable of making commitments and decisions. This is actually a far cry from how most women in other cultures were perceived and treated. In the Jewish family, the man was ultimately responsible for what happened in his home. But, the woman could make binding vows and could effectively manage the affairs of the family (Prov 31). For this to be effective, the man and woman, or the father and daughter, would have to work closely together, treating each other as equals while recognizing godly order to the way things are done.

Israel's social structures and laws defy the norm, creating a society of equals that occupy different roles. There is structure but not a series of social classes. In these early books of the Bible we see, not only God's progressive revelation of Himself to His people, but the foundation for the two New Testament statements that will summarize the Law: "Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" and "You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself."

These three chapters will also serve as a stabilizing influence on Israel as Joshua assumes leadership from Moses. God continues to watch over His people, providing for them, protecting them and being faithful to His promises.

God's people are certainly unique and set apart. Their sacrifices are meaningful and carry with them blessing and peace with a holy God, who lives with His people and loves them. This is a contrast to pagan sacrifices which are offered out of fear and appeasement of a distant and capricious god.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Pastor John Kuvakas. I am also a Pastor from Mumbai, India. I am glad to stop by your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I am blessed to go through your Daily Bread Bible study. I am blessed and feel privileged and honored to get connected with you as well as know you through your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I love getting connected with the people of God aorund the globe to be enocuaged, strengthened and praying for one another. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have young people from your church to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life channging experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God's richest blessings on you, your family and friends. Also wishing you a blessed and a Christ centered rest of the year 2017. God willing I will be coming to the States in the month of May 2017 and will be so glad to visit you and share more about out ministry to the poorest of poor as well as program for the young people to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time.