Numbers 28:11-15 – 98 Month-End Closings and Counting…

Posted: October 29, 2016 in Book of Numbers

Numbers 28:11-15

The Monthly Offerings

In my job as comptroller of my company, we have a once-per-month ritual called month-end closing. It is two days of intensive work and long hours. When clock strikes midnight on the last day of the month, we get up the next morning to do the same ritual each and every month. My general ledger accountant downloads the bank statements and spends much of the first day of month-end closing reconciling our general ledger cash accounts to their respective bank statements and ensures that we have not missed booking a transaction in the general ledger. My accounts receivable specialist reconciles total cash receipts per the bank statements to total cash postings in the accounts receivable general ledger accounts. My accounts payable specialist ensures that all payables transactions for the month have been posted and ensures that total disbursements agree between the general ledger and the bank statements. As for me, on that first day, I reconcile the accounts receivable agings to the general ledger accounts receivable accounts. I reconcile the accounts payable agings in the same manner. I reconcile inventory reports to the general ledger and the open receipts report to the general ledger. Day 1 is always about reconciling – making sure that our major general ledger balance sheet accounts tie out to their supporting documentation. Sometimes it goes like a breeze. Sometimes, the supporting reports don’t agree to their general ledger control accounts. Then, we have to figure out why and book adjusting entries.

 

Day 2 of month-end closing is all about booking entries to the general ledger that we cannot book until the month is over and can run reports with the full month’s worth of data in them such as the bad debt reserve adjustment, employee and third party sales commissions expense, inventory obsolescence adjustments, reconciling intercompany payables and receivables with our sister companies, and any other miscellaneous adjustments to income and expense that are warranted. When all that is done, the books are closed for the month. After that, I spend the next two days generating reports, writing commentaries about financial performance and so on. It is a lot of work during that first week after a month has ended. It is a ritual. Since taking over as comptroller for this company, I have performed this ritual many times. In fact, this coming Tuesday when we close the books once again, this time for October 2016, it will be my 98th month-end closing since taking over here as comptroller. Ninety-eight closings. The ritual comes every month like clockwork. My staff members on my team have worked with me for much of that time, anywhere from four to six years among them. We all know what we have to do each month. There are things that have to happen to get the books closed each month and I and my staff know what to do without instruction. We have our assignments and we get it done. We have it down to a science where we know what time of day each of these tasks have to be completed by so that we will keep on schedule. There are little quirks to each month that have to be dealt with but the base level activities are the same every month. There is comfort in knowing what we have to do. There is comfort in the experience that we have together as a team. We know month-end is coming every month and we prepare for it so that when it gets here, we click it off like a well-oiled machine.

 

The repetitive nature of the cycle of life in accounting is what I though about this morning. In my department, we close the month. We then, begin reconciling general ledger accounts for the middle two weeks of the month, and then we start analyzing current month activity and make adjustments before month-end so that we don’t have so much to deal with DURING month-end closing. Then, the cycle begins again. Cycles of life. That is what I thought about when I read the passage for today, Numbers 28:11-15:

 

11 “‘On the first of every month, present to the Lord a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect. 12 With each bull there is to be a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah[a] of the finest flour mixed with oil; with the ram, a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with oil; 13 and with each lamb, a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with oil. This is for a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord. 14 With each bull there is to be a drink offering of half a hin[b] of wine; with the ram, a third of a hin[c]; and with each lamb, a quarter of a hin. This is the monthly burnt offering to be made at each new moon during the year. 15 Besides the regular burnt offering with its drink offering, one male goat is to be presented to the Lord as a sin offering.

 

Here, in this passage, we see that God is prescribing that there be a monthly special sacrifice and offering. It was done to signify to the Israelites that God had seen them through another month. It was time to reflect on what God had done in the previous month and honor Him for what He would do in the coming month. It was time to reflect. It was a time to step aside from the hustle and bustle of daily life and remember that God is still God and to take time to specifically reflect upon what God had done in the life of the individual as well as the whole Israelite nation.

 

I think that the takeaway for today is not to get hung up in the details of this passage but rather think on the point of the passage. That point is to stop and take stock of where God has taken you and where He is going to take you. Do you take time to sit back in private moments periodically to thank God for getting you through the tough times. Thanking Him for being with you if you are in the midst of a struggle. Or thanking Him for having landed you on safe shores after a tempest sea of trouble. We should make it a habit say maybe on a monthly basis to take stock with God. We should have our month-end closing with God just as I have every month without fail month-end closings at work. Maybe, we should consider marking the last day of the month or the first day of the month to just sit down with God and reflect on the month that has just passed. It will, I think, begin to attune us to the wonders of God and what He is doing in our lives. That ritual, that thing that you do every month, will become something that you count on to give you a specific look at God’s actions in your life. Let us try it for a while and see what happens. I am sure that it will heighten our awareness of God and His actions in our lives. That was the reason for the monthly sacrifice and offering in the life of Israel. Maybe, we should have a ritual time to take stock with God and start becoming amazed at what we see – a God that is active in our life, a God that cares for us deeply, and a heightened awareness of the need to praise Him.

 

Amen and Amen.

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