Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Are You Giving...?

So I've been reading through the Pentateuch lately (that is the first five books of the Bible) and have been amazed at how specific all the rules and instructions are.

For instance, today I read Numbers 7 which relates the offerings the people made for the dedication of the tabernacle and altar (the traveling church structure where God's presence was to dwell). After bringing six wagons and twelve oxen to be used to transport the tabernacle and altar, each of the twelve tribes brought a dedication offering, one tribe per day for twelve days.

And they each brought the same thing: a silver platter weighing 3¼ pounds and a silver basin weighing 1¾ pounds. These were both filled with grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil. A gold container weighing four ounces, which was filled with incense. A young bull, a ram, and a one-year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a male goat for a sin offering. For a peace offering, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five one-year-old male lambs.

Amazing. How crazy that they were so specific to the weights and numbers. How unbelievable that they all agreed to give the same and so much. How compelling that they were so dedicated as to take almost two weeks to celebrate this religious structure.

And all evidence points to that they did this willingly and spontaneously (that is of their own decision). But the key to this faithfulness and dedication I believe is in the end of the chapter. After the offerings were all made it says:

Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him. (Numbers 7:89 ESV)

What wouldn't you give to have God's actual presence dwell among you? What wouldn't you do to have God's audible voice give you guidance and direction?

And yet for us, that offering has already been made on our behalf. Jesus is our sin offering. He is our mercy seat. He has prepared the way for us to enter into God's presence forever. We have only to put our hope and faith in Him.

May we as the Israelite tribes respond to the truth that God wants to dwell among us with joy and generosity and devotion and faithfulness.

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