Lent Devotion for March 3
Reader: "Give this command…”
Response: “to the Israelites.”
SCRIPTURE: Numbers 28:1–8
1 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 of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin 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.
Reader: "The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
As you read in the Pentateuch, you have undoubtedly noticed how very specific God is in describing exactly what He wants in relation to worship. There are specific instructions as to the kinds, times, and content of the offerings. Have you wondered why? After all, the worship in the New Testament seems quite different. In older times, “feeding the gods” to keep them from being angry was a central theme in pagan worship. The gods were always in a bad mood and feeding them was a way of placating their spirits. The worshiper of Baal, Molech, and other gods was never personally connected to the gods. The gods were in separate worlds as the thinking went. Israel’s God, Yahweh, was entirely different and the Lord was working through Moses and Aaron to help the people understand Yahweh. Hence, you’ll notice, rather than feeding the gods, the worshiper of Yahweh ate part of the sacrifices in some cases. God was relational to His people and a living God, not one of stone or wood made by human hands. Israel’s God was wholly other and wholly connected to the reality of His people. Another major difference was that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was holy, which demanded certain things of His worshipers. They were not holy which meant there would be certain requirements regarding His worship. What was offered in sacrifice needed to be flawless and the choicest of the choice. The times of offering from the day of the week, to the month of the year, were all spelled out. God was a God of order. Worshipers were not free to come anytime, anyway, and in any manner they wished. As with each worship encounter, the reliance and reminder of God’s presence and guidance was central. There was a remembering of history. Communion with God was hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. God was teaching His people to live in relation to himself all the time. By the time of the New Testament that mindset was ingrained and we read of the believers gathering daily to worship. I fear the structure God gave us has largely fallen by the wayside and worship has become an optional weekend activity for many believers. We basically have five work days and two Saturdays. Perhaps we should pay more attention to the structure God laid out for His people.
“Lord of Eternity” by Fernando Ortega (Watch on YouTube)
Lord, I am willing to appear to the world and to all to have lost my life, if only I may have made it good in your sight.
- Temple Gairdner 1873-1928