Numbers 28:1-8 (Part 3) – Are You Sacrificing Your Best Or Just What You Have Left Over?

Posted: October 27, 2016 in Book of Numbers

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

The Daily Offerings

 

Today is moving day in Duncan, SC at the Bowling household. After six years and two and half months in this modern traditional style home with its open floor plan, a house that was only 3 years old when we bought it, we are moving. We are going to miss this wonderful two story home with its 2,100 square feet of living space. We are going to miss this house in which our so much our married life has been spent. Elena and I were only married for about a year and half before we moved into this house. This house has been where we grew from spiritual babies into spiritual young adults (we have a ways to go before I would consider us mature believers), though we are middle aged chronologically. Oh, the history of our lives together that this house has seen. This has been a happy home. It has been a calm home. It has been a home of great spiritual growth. It has been a home of good food and good times. If it were not for a feeling, a calling, to move to “The Village” a few short miles (four to be exact) from here, we would stay in our Holly Tree Circle home for years to come. This house just fits our lifestyle and everything about this house is convenient and well placed. It has a big yard, 7/10 of an acre with a high quality,  6 foot high, wooden fence around the backyard for privacy. It is a quiet neighborhood though it is right off the main highway (SC 290) through Duncan. It has been a perfect house for us.

 

The Village is an old mill village where the homes were mostly built in the early to mid 1920s. It is a neighborhood that is experiencing a revival right now where over the past few years people have been snatching up the houses and renovating them. It is just this cool, little neighborhood that is up and coming. It is a throwback in time where neighbors know neighbors and people sit on the front porch. It is such a cool neighborhood that is regionally known for going all out at Halloween that people from all over the region come to trick or treat. Even our church comes there to give away free hot dogs and popcorn to the thousands that come to this neighborhood for Halloween. The neighborhood is a real neighborhood where all the houses have great character. As the neighborhood continues to be renovated home by home it will only continue to sizzle in value. Everybody who drives through this old neighborhood says to themselves that it would be neat to live there. We feel called by God to live there for several reasons. First, to continue to simply our financial lives. We are reducing our mortgage debt by moving into a bungalow style home with a lower price tag than our current home. We have managed over the past six years to pay off all our debts so the final step is to reduce our mortgage. We have learned to live more simply in expectation that God will call us to full-time ministry at some point. I am working part-time in ministry right now in addition to my full-time secular job. We are downsizing by about 1,000 square feet to simplify. We only use about half of this house regularly so it makes sense to simplify. What we have learned over the past six years is that freeing ourselves of debt is freeing and has allowed us to be more and more generous and more and more at peace in life.

 

We are sacrificing what some would call the American Dream to continually buy up and escalate our debt. We are sacrificing these things to God so that we can live a more peaceful and more free life. We are called to minister to our new neighborhood so sacrifices must be made. We are giving up the fruits of our labor, this wonderful house, to live in a way that we are called by God to live. To live with less and less debt, to minister to our neighborhood because we will be more free to do so. Sacrificing that which was the fruit of my blessings at my secular job and following a call. We offer up this house in Duncan, that we have worked hard to pay for, improve, love and nurture. This house that we have labored over and loved is now being sacrificed to the Lord and we move on to a simpler home that will enable us to do more of what God has called us to do.

 

Two blogs ago, we talked about the reason for the daily offerings in Numbers 28:1-8. Yesterday, we talked about the necessity of the daily offerings and, today, 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 content of 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.

 

There are three parts to the daily sacrifices in Israel – the lamb, the flour and the oil. According to D. Young in his writings on this subject, he says,

 

“The lambs, the flour, the oil, the wine were taken out of the present food store of Israel. The Israelites were therefore presenting part of their own life. If these things had not been taken for offerings they would soon have entered into the physical constitution of the people. The acceptability of the offering lay to a great extent in this, that it was from Israel’s daily ordinary food. There would have been no propriety in making an offering from occasional luxuries.”

 

This reminds me of how we give today compared to how the Israelites gave. We as Americans pursuing the American Dream on average live off of 104% of what we make. We buy, buy, buy. Get bigger and bigger and more and more expensive things to the point that whatever wage increases we get are spent in new fixed costs every year. We never break free from pursuing our materialistic desires. Then, Sunday comes, we sacrifice from our excess. If we happen to have an extra $20 bill, we throw it in the plate. We typically don’t tithe. We give what we can and pat ourselves on the back for our generosity from what we have left over. We never trust God enough to let go of our money and we consider our money just that. We never consider that our talents to earn money in our jobs as coming from God. It’s all about us. We want more and more things and give God what’s left over. We don’t truly offer sacrificial offerings to the Lord though He commands us, not suggests, to do so. We do not give up going after what we want to please God. We give him the leftovers. We are not sacrificing from our “necessities”. The Israelites gave forth the first fruits of their labors. We don’t carve out room in our financial lives to give obediently to the Lord. We want to be generous to the world around us through our church but only if it comes after our house, cars, and toys. Why is God not first on our list? Why are we not living off of 90% or less of what we make and being generous to a lost world through our local churches? Why are we not sacrificing from our first fruits?

 

The Israelites gave their best and umblemished lambs, oil, and flour to be a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Elena and I are by no means superior in this compared to others. We are simply trying to be obedient to the Lord and live more simply, to find the happiness in less, and to be able to be generous as a habit and not as something that we do when we can from our excess. We are attempting to live more and more simply so that we can follow God’s call. We are sacrificing our favorite thing, this house. There is no asset that we have enjoyed more than this house. We love it. We are sacrificing that thing we love to follow what we feel God is calling us to do. We used to live the maxed out life. There was emptiness and frustration there. We live more simply and desire less now. When you live to have less debt and be more generous, it opens your eyes to God more widely! When you give to God first and live off the rest, you see God more clearly. When you cut out all the white noise of debt, He becomes clearer.

 

Now, Lord, we offer up our most loved lamb, oil and flour to you, this house. Help us to become more and more in tune with your call on our lives. Let us hear you more and more clearly. God, please bless this sacrifice from our first fruits and help us to be more intimate with you as a result.

 

 

Amen and Amen.

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