Numbers 28:26-31 – Today, It’s More Than Just the Sale of a House…

Posted: October 31, 2016 in Book of Numbers, Uncategorized
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Numbers 28:26-31

The Festival of Pentecost

Today, we have the closing on the sale of our house for the past six years, and during the past six years, our house, bought at the bottom of the Great Recession (2008-2010) in 2010, has since appreciated in a nice little way. It has increased in value by 13% in those six years. Today, we harvest that crop, that value increase. It is a reminder of God’s faithfulness to us even in uncertain times. When we bought the house six (6) years ago, Elena and I were still newlyweds having been married about a year and a half. So, this house was our first major purchase together and it was in this house that we learned greater and greater dependence on the Lord. Until one of our friends in California told us to just check and see if we were pre-qualified for a mortgage, we would not have even considered buying a home when we moved back to South Carolina in 2010. We were thinking of continuing to rent until we followed the advice of this friend. We thought because of my credit past that we would never qualify. However, while in California, we faithful in taking on my past credit mistakes and paying them off as we could. Instead of blowing refunds and bonuses on extravagances, we paid off old debts and negotiated settlements on them to clear my credit profile. That plowing of the fields in preparation was necessary for us to be in a position in 2010 to buy our first house together as a couple. The purchase of the house was a seed planted. Today is the harvest of the planting.

 

During the past six years, we have been faithful to the Lord with our firstfruits of my income. We have been faithful in that. The Lord has taught about being obedient to Him in our finances and we have learned to be less concerned with keeping up with the Joneses and more concerned with pleasing God. During this time, we have learned that the blessings of obedience to the Lord in our finances is not some investment/payback scenario where you invest in God and he will bring you cash blessings as some huckster media preachers might suggest. The blessing of being financially obedient to the Lord means that He changes your mindset about riches and what blessings are. The blessing is no longer chasing after things but rather seeking to be generous to God and watching Him use it to bless the world around us. The blessing is changing from a mindset of consumerism to a mindset of generosity. The peace that comes with being obedient to the Lord and seeking to live on 90% or less of what we make is amazing. The peace that comes desiring fewer things and less debt is eye-opening. Being able to be generous instead of just wishing to be begins with being faithful to God’s Word when it comes to our finances. The peace of knowing that God will provide when we quit worshiping our money and our things is the biggest blessing of all. Placing our trust in the Lord through obedience begins with our finances and trickles down to the rest of our lives.

 

Today, when we close on the sale of our house. It is a celebration of what God has done in our lives during the past six years. It is a time to celebrate His provision in our lives. It is a time to celebrate how He has grown Elena and me over the past six years. Six years ago, we might not have seen the power of God’s provision in our lives as we do today. It would have been seen as more of as the luck of the market. But six years later, we are able to see God’s orchestration of our lives. The way that He orchestrated our desire to live more simply in a smaller home, the timing of our meeting our real estate agent, the timing of our finding the home that we are going to purchase, all of it stems from our being faithful and obedient to the Lord. Today, we celebrate the growth that God has done in us through our obedience to Him. Today is more than a sale of a house, it is a celebration of God’s provision. I do not tell you these things to boast but rather as a signal to those who wonder if it is worth to be obedient to the Lord in the last area of our lives that we typically give up to Him – our finances. Our finances, our harvest, is one area that the Lord invites us to test Him as He states in Malachi.

 

Ours is a story of trying to live our lives our own way and not being obedient to the Lord. Our finances are the evidence of the things that we worship and thus making our finances obedient to the Lord is the first step in being obedient to the Lord in all areas of life. Being obedient to the Lord in our finances is not some cash invest/cash return scheme. It is about learning to trust the Lord to provide for us. It is about trusting that God is our provider and that He will never leave us. It is about changing your mindset about money. So, this is not boasting, but as evidence of how trusting the Lord with your finances brings blessing of peace that are what He desires for us. Today, we celebrate God’s provision and His blessing upon our lives. Today, we celebrate what He has done in our minds, hearts, and souls over the past six years. It’s more than a sale of our house. It is celebrating God’s bounty and His provision in our lives.

 

It is that idea of being obedient to the Lord and reaping the blessings from that I thought of when I read today’s passage, Numbers 28:26-31, with its talk about the offerings to be made at the Festival of Pentecost, fifty days after the Festival of First Fruits. The Pentecost festival was a celebration of the harvest. It was a celebration of what God has done and how He has provided for His people. The similarities of this festival to the life event that Elena and I go through today is not lost on me. Let’s read the details of the offering together but keeping in mind what the Festival of Pentecost was all about:

 

 

26 “‘On the day of firstfruits, when you present to the Lord an offering of new grain during the Festival of Weeks, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. 27 Present a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs a year old as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 28 With each bull there is to be a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with oil; with the ram, two-tenths; 29 and with each of the seven lambs, one-tenth. 30 Include one male goat to make atonement for you. 31 Offer these together with their drink offerings, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its grain offering. Be sure the animals are without defect.

 

 

To the Jews, this time of celebration is known as Shavout, which is the Hebrew word meaning “weeks.” This is one of three separate names that are used in Scripture to refer to this important Jewish feast. Each name emphasizes an important aspect of the feast as well as its religious and cultural significance to both Jews and Christians. Besides being called the Feast of Weeks in Leviticus 23, this special feast celebration is called the “Day of the Firstfruits” in Numbers 28:26 and the “Feast of Harvest” in Exodus 23:16.

 

The Feast of Weeks takes place exactly 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits. It normally occurs in late spring, either the last part of May or the beginning of June. Unlike other feasts that began on a specific day of the Hebrew calendar, this one is calculated as being “fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath” (Leviticus 23:15–16; Deuteronomy 16:9–10).

 

The festival was instituted by God to remind His people to be thankful to Him for His provision in the harvest. How often do we forget that it is through God’s providential care for our lives that He provides us with the talents that we have? He gifts each one of us with the talents that we have and that makes each one of us unique qualified to do something. We use these talents to earn money in the vocations that he gives the talent for. God guides us toward those vocations that will use the talents that He gives us. Some are accountants, some are mechanics, some are engineers, some are talented to be stay at home wives and mothers, and so on. We all have God given talents that we use to earn money. Thus, our money comes from Him and the way He talents us. Thus, should we not honor Him by giving Him the first fruit of the harvest of our wages? He commands that we give Him the first fruits of our labors. When we are obedient, He provides and He blesses. There are times that we must celebrate that. Today, Elena and I celebrate our Pentecost Festival. It is not lost on us how God has provided for us and how He has changed us and how He is the Master of everything. So, it’s more than just a sale of a house today. It is a celebration of God’s provision.

 

Amen and Amen.

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