Numbers 28:1-8 (Part 2) – Grits & Upper Room Devotional Booklets: Rituals of My Youth

Posted: October 26, 2016 in Book of Numbers

Numbers 28:1-8 (Part 2 of 3)

The Daily Offerings

 

I remember growing up, until we were teenagers and it stopped, that it used to be part of our daily routine to have breakfast together as a family. Every morning without fail. There was one constant to each of those daily breakfasts when you lived in my dad’s house. My dad is a southern man in all the best that it entails. My father was part of the changing of the times in the South. He marched in civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s and he made it clear from his pulpit that all men were created in God’s image. Yet, at the same time, he was all the wonderful idiosyncrasies that make us Southerners unique and make the South just a cool place to live. One of those quirks about us “born and raised Southerners” is grits. My dad loved grits. I heard my friend, Freddy Coan, say the other day that “grits are flavor carriers. They are not meant to be eaten by themselves. They are meant to have things added to them to carry those flavors – butter, ham gravy, and so on.” My dad loved grits. We had to have grits for breakfast. Every breakfast. Without fail. Every and I mean every…did I tell you, every….breakfast! As long as the sun rose every morning, one thing that I could count on with my dad was that we had grits for breakfast every morning. I had become so disdainful of grits during my 18 years at home that I have rarely, if ever, let grits touch the lips of this Southern boy. I am very proud of being a Southerner. I am very proud of being a South Carolina Southerner. The quality of life here in Upstate South Carolina is just amazing. It is a combination of Southern flair and gentility and a place that is all about business (meaning that as the Upstate has become a hotbed for business, we really don’t have time for the old patterns of race relations).  But, one of the things that expect about us Southerners, you will not find with me is grits. I hate grits. I won’t eat grits. They will make me convulse if I see them on a plate where I am expected to eat them. I am Southern through and through, but grits and me are no friends. It’s all because of my dad and his love for grits that caused my hate for grits. Bless his heart! He loved ‘em and still does! The irony of it all is that after my mom died in 2010, he remarried in 2012…and he remarried to a transplanted Yankee from Upstate New York (though she has been here for probably 25 plus years…still a Yankee). I can imagine the discussions about his love for grits are choice each morning as they live out their lives together in retirement.

 

But there were other rituals that dad had for us growing up too that I am thankful for. Strangely, this one disappeared as we became teenagers too. We must have rebelled against all of dad’s required rituals or something or maybe we just got busy with teenage jobs in the evenings or teenage activities in the evenings. However, this one was a good one. In the mornings, it was about the grits but in the evening, we had a daily devotional time as we ate our evening meal (when we ate at home). I don’t know if any of you remember those Upper Room Devotional booklets that were and still are published monthly by the United Methodist Church’s general publishing house in Nashville, TN. If you don’t they are monthly devotional booklets that have 30 devotionals or so devotionals in them, one for each day of the month. Each month’s devotionals would be written by about maybe 4 or 5 authors so there was a sense of consistency to them throughout the month. The format was to present the writer’s real life situation that he wanted to write about, then tie it to Scripture, and then broaden it out to a general statement of how that Scripture applies to the real life situation and how to put it into practice. These Upper Room daily devotionals were part of our meal time routine in the evenings. Before we would break off into nightly routines of homework, family chores, television, church meetings for dad, getting ready for bed and bedtime. We had this family moment around the table. We were studying Scripture together. Thinking back on it now, I miss those days of family meals and family study of Scripture – back before life got complicated when we became teenagers, and now adults. That was a worthwhile ritual to have. Daily praise to God. Making focus on God a central part of family life.

 

Yesterday we talked about the reason for the daily offerings in Numbers 28:1-8. Today we will talk about the necessity of the daily offerings and, tomorrow, finally (3) content of the daily offerings. Today, let’s look at the passage, Numbers 28:1-8, from the point of view of the necessity for the daily offering requirements:

 

 

28 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Make sure that you present to me at the appointed time my food offerings, as an aroma pleasing to me.’ 3 Say to them: ‘This is the food offering you are to present to the Lord: two lambs a year old without defect, as a regular burnt offering each day. 4 Offer one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight, 5 together with a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah[a] of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin[b] of oil from pressed olives. 6 This is the regular burnt offering instituted at Mount Sinai as a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord. 7 The accompanying drink offering is to be a quarter of a hin of fermented drink with each lamb. Pour out the drink offering to the Lord at the sanctuary. 8 Offer the second lamb at twilight, along with the same kind of grain offering and drink offering that you offer in the morning. This is a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

 

According to D. Young in his sermon so aptly named, “The Daily Offerings” (gotta give him credit for originality there! LOL!), he says,

 

“To make a daily offering was not enough. Israel was not left to its own will as to the time of day for the offering. The sustaining of life is indeed going on all day long, by the secret and unfailing power of God, and the recognition of this power is always meet at any hour of day or night. But the day has its own peculiar blessings, and also the night, and they are to be made special in our thoughts, as they are made special in our experience. The dawn and the twilight bring each their own associations. In the morning we look back on the rest, the sleep, and the protection of the night, and forward into the work, the duties, the burdens, and the needs of the day. Similarly evening will have its appropriate retrospect and anticipation. That is no true thanksgiving which does not discriminate, marking the difference between thanksgivings which may be offered at any hour, and those which are peculiar to the morning and evening. The very recollection of the gradual regular changes in the time of sunrise and sunset should impart an ever-freshening sense of the faithfulness of God, and of how orderly and exact all his arrangements are.”

 

Some rituals if not done with worship of our Creator can become mindless to the point that you hate them and they lose their meaning. Some rituals if you approach them in the right frame of mind where you are engaging your mind and your heart with your God, then, these rituals can be truly uplifting and provide us with daily recognition of God in our lives. It is like the difference between the Grits Ritual and the Upper Room Ritual in my dad’s house when we were growing up. One seemingly was done for the sake of doing it – grits – and the other was done as an interactive family discussion between and among parents and children about Scripture. One was meaningless to the point of loathing and the other was engaging our God through Scripture.

 

I think God wanted the Israelites to remember that He was God all day long. Not just something we do in the morning but something we finish off our day with as well. God is God all the time. The morning and evening offerings were such that it reminded Israel of that fact. All day long God is God. All day long and every day we worship Him. Do offer praise to God everyday? Are there certain rituals that you go through each day with God that remind you that He is part of your daily life? Do you study the Bible in the morning and/or evening? Do you pray daily – in the morning and/or in the evening? Is God part of your daily routine or is he something you put in a box and get down and play with on Sunday. The only way to mature in our relationship with God is through daily interaction. Do you think any of our earthly relationships would survive if we did not pay attention to them daily? We lose so much when we do not encounter God daily. We lose so much when we are not intentional about Bible study and prayer. If you want your relationship with God to grow – spend time with Him daily. Recognize His guidance and control over your life. Recognize the details of how He interacts with you daily. Make God a part of your daily, every day, life. But don’t do it cause I said so – that would be like grits everyday growing up for me, meaningless and unnecessary. Do it because you want to grow more intimate with your Maker – like looking forward to those Upper Room devotional discussions at dinner table of my youth.

 

Amen and Amen.

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