Reading through the Bible together

Saturday, September 8, 2012

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The breeze that often comes in the afternoon, cooling an otherwise hot day, is a blessing of nature. At such times I open all the doors and windows to allow this cool breeze to invigorate the house. Unfortunately, sometimes my neighbor decides to roast his meat outdoors and I quickly close the doors and windows until he is done. At the beginning of Numbers 28 God says that He desires a pleasing aroma. It’s not possible to end up with a pleasing aroma while burning dead animals—lambs, rams, goats, and bulls. Can you imagine the kind of odors that must have pervaded the camp of Israel with so many animal sacrifices going on daily?

 

Have you considered how many lambs, rams, goats, and bulls were killed for sacrifice every year? Counting all the animal sacrifices in next chapter, you could easily come to the conclusion that the camp was huge slaughter field. Then picture a million or more people camped in the desert along with possibly as many animals, and you can see why God had to give specific commands about organization, cleanliness, and order. How big an impression was God trying to make with the killing of so many animals? Were not morning and evening sacrifices enough to impress upon His people the fact that sin leads to death? Why then all the additional animals at specified times throughout the year? God loves animals, but he would rather sacrifice every dear animal than allow one of his children to suffer the consequence of sin, or to misunderstand His character of unselfish love.

 

Each animal offering pointed to the ultimate sacrifice God was going to make by offering up His own Son, the dearest life and most costly sacrifice God could offer. What more could He do to convince His human creation that He can be trusted and that He requires nothing less than He Himself is willing to give? How could God best bring His people to the point where they would choose to die rather than sin? What must God do today to convince those who claim to be His followers that sin is destructive, and that only through self sacrifice can the harmony of the universe be restored? “But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No­ one who lives in Him keeps on sinning” (1 John 3:5­6 NIV). How can your life be a pleasing aroma to God today?

 

Fred Knopper

Adventist Media Center