Iâ€™m sorry all has been quiet on the blogging front for a few days! Sometimes the food youâ€™re cooking needs to stew in the pot for a little while longer before itâ€™s ready to eat. And sometimes I think itâ€™s better to let my thoughts stew a little longer before they come to the table! Things are well and I have lots of good stuff to share with you, including pictures of the new photos nicely hung in our flat, and some other craftyness we got up to on Saturday! YAY!
Anywho, I was reading in Numbers 7 the other morning, and letâ€™s be honest, itâ€™s one of those repetitive chapters that you might be tempted to skip over because youâ€™re just reading the same thing over and over again. The people of God are still in the wilderness, and Moses has just finished setting up the tabernacle. Itâ€™s anointed and consecrated, including all its furnishings, and itâ€™s time for the leaders of each of the tribes of Israel to make an offering.
Each day for twelve days, one of the leaders brings an offering to the Lord: a silver platter and a silver bowl with fine flour and oil, a gold pan full of incense, a young bull, a ram, and male lamb in its first year, a kid of the goats,Â and then two oxen, five rams, five male goats, five male lambs, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay so that last part was a joke. The next day, the next leader in line brings his offering. And guess what? Itâ€™s exactly the same. And so on and so on for twelve days.
The part that might lose you is the fact that even though each leader, each day brought the exact same offering, each leaderâ€™s offering is still listed out. Including how much the silver platters and bowls and gold pans weighed, the age of the animals being offered, and the type of offering each thing represented. Itâ€™s written Exactly the same. Exactly the same. Exactly the same. Times twelve.
Sometimes I like to think about why something would be listed like that, twelve times in a row, instead of just writing â€œand everybody gave the same thing and that was good, and at the end of it, the Lord was pleased and so He talked to Moses.â€ You know, this system of offerings was a type and shadow of Jesus — it was basically foreshadowing the perfect sacrifice that was ultimately going to be made which would cleanse us of our sins once and for all.
If you think about it, each of the tribes of Israel was different. Some were considered more honourable because they descended from Jacobâ€™s wives instead of his concubines. The firstborn and the biggest were usually honoured. The people of Israel remembered the personalities of each of the sons of Jacob who became those twelve tribes. I think they perhaps developed reputations as a result.
Based on this, it might be expected that the big tribes, because they were big tribes, would like to bring greater offerings. Or perhaps the smaller ones who gave later in the sequence during those twelve days would like to try to out-give the bigger tribes, to demonstrate more devotion to the Lord. But it seems like no one was really playing around — the same sacrifice was made for everyone. Tough or timid, great or small…the list was listed again, exactly the same. Exactly the same. Times twelve.
What can we glean from this tidbit of interest? Among the many lessons, I think there is the simple fact that Jesus is our perfect offering. Once and for all. We donâ€™t need to try to bring anything before God besides Jesus. We donâ€™t need to try to point to our good works as a demonstration of our worthiness for salvation (although I think itâ€™s important to do the will of God, and the works He has planned for us to walk in.) When we come before God, we donâ€™t need to drag ourselves through the mud on our knees to get there, and we donâ€™t need to feel like we should be working our way into His presence. We have boldness and confident access because we all have exactly the same sacrifice to bring to God: we are coming through the sacrifice Jesus made for us.
And this the Good News. Even if you feel like youâ€™ve done too many wrong things to be accepted by God, you still only need the exact same sacrifice as everyone else — Jesus. And if you feel like youâ€™ve done quite well with your life and youâ€™ve pleased God and probably deserve salvation a little more than everybody else, this is a good reminder that you also need Jesus, just like everybody else. And I suppose thatâ€™s a lesson worth talking about, over and over again. And I suppose thatâ€™s a lesson worth talking about, over and over again.
The Sermon in a Nutshell: All of us…all of us always need Jesus. He is the complete, whole and perfect sacrifice for you, for me, and for everyone.