“My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma,
you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.”
My daily reading plan has me currently reading through the book of Numbers, and, while I cannot say how many times I’ve actually read this book, I am always amazed at the new things that stand out to me.
I was struck this week with an early morning read through Number 29. Here, God provides instructions to Moses on how the regular feasts and celebrations were to be celebrated. The amount of blood and sacrifice is overwhelming. Just consider the required offerings for the Festival of Booths. This festival followed the Day of Atonement, and was a week-long enacted celebration in which the people of Israel would live in Booths to remember and give thanks for God’s provision during the 40 years in the wilderness. As a sign of their thanksgiving, sacrifices were to be brought to the Temple – a lot of them.
Here are the totals for the offerings: 70 Bulls, 15 Rams, 105 lambs (plus another 18 lambs for the regular daily offerings and the Sabbath offering), and 8 goats for the sin offerings. Imagine the quantity of blood, the smoke from the burnt offerings, the market for the feasts, the commotion of the celebration. All of this, done each year, to be reminded of God’s mighty hand in delivering His people into the Promised Land.
Contrast this with how we bring our praise and thanksgiving to God in the new administration of the covenant in Christ. Christ has come as our high priest, and has entered the holy places on our behalf, “not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus securing eternal redemption” (Heb 9:12). We, therefore, bring our sacrifices of praise to God, not in the blood of the bull or ram, but rather presenting ourselves, “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1).
From the Pastor’s Desk
An Ordinary Red Brick Church – This is an excellent article about an ordinary church. So often we compare ourselves to other churches in other settings and wonder why we’re different. Here, the Pastor provides a great reminder that we are to celebrate who Christ has called us to be as a rural, Presbyterian, and Biblical Church.
Today in Church History – On this day in 337 A.D., Constantine, the first Roman emperor to consider himself a Christian, died. While Constantine did not bring Christianity to the Roman Empire, nor declare Rome a Christian state, he did issue an edict officially tolerating Christianity and summoned the Council of Nicea to settle the Arian dispute over the nature of Christ.
Theopedia – Here is a great resource I’ve been using for years as a Wikipedia for Theological topics. Theopedia is a growing online evangelical encyclopedia of biblical Christianity, a network of interconnected pages, constantly being refined and updated.
Free e-books – If you’re looking for something to read, and like reading on a Nook, Kindle, iPad, or other device, here is a website for you. There are tons of free books ranging from classic Puritans and early church fathers to modern, contemporary, reformed writers.
Just Because… Here’s a video on the book of James