1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time.’
3 “And you shall say to them, ‘This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs in their first year without blemish, day by day, as a regular burnt offering.
4 The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, the other lamb you shall offer in the evening, 5 and one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil.
6 It is a regular burnt offering which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the LORD.
7 And its drink offering shall be one-fourth of a hin for each lamb; in a holy place you shall pour out the drink to the LORD as an offering.
8 The other lamb you shall offer in the evening; as the morning grain offering and its drink offering, you shall offer it as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.
If there is anything that drives people away from the Old Testament, it’s long passages of instructions that seem to have no direct impact on us who are no longer under the law but grace. Numbers 28-29 are two chapters that fall under this category. After a series of trials and battles (cf. Num. 21-25), we reenter the arena of censuses and lists and names and detailed instructions on how and when to present offerings to the Lord. And the crowds that once gathered to watch as Israel conquered her enemies, the Angel of the Lord almost killed a false prophet, and Israel fell under another plague for sexual immorality and idolatry, slowly thins out, to skim over the next few chapters until some other narrative or an interesting prophecy pops up.
At least that’s what I found myself doing.
As I read Numbers 28-29 today, I couldn’t help but wonder how the passage applied to any believers, let alone me, until I saw a constant refrain throughout every section describing when and how Israel was to present offerings before the Lord. That phrase is:
“…besides the regular burnt offering…”
You see, God begins by telling Moses that Israel is to present an offering every day and every night.
In other words, every day was to begin and end with sacrifice.
Yes, there were special days on which Israel was to present offerings specifically commanded by God for the occasion – but these were to be presented “besides the regular burnt offering.”
Every day and every night – Sabbath to Sabbath, regardless of what else was going on.
And it dawned on me that this wasn’t just a list of details, but a visceral picture of what my life should look like – what every believer’s life should look like. As Israel’s days were to be marked by perpetual sacrifice, so the Lord calls His children to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice (cf. Romans 12:1-2). We are called to do this not once or twice, but always. We are to give ourselves, day in and day out, completely to God as Christ has “…given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5:2).
Since the sacrifice of the lamb points to Christ’s sacrifice for us, how are we to understand this passage of Scripture? What can we learn from it, as regards Christ?
Simply: All of Israel’s days began with the sacrifice of the lamb and ended with the sacrifice of the lamb, and we would do well to do the same – to surround ourselves with Christ, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
That’s all :)