Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, September 9, 2012

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Reading through this chapter and counting the sacrifices, you may be saying to yourself, “There was a lot of slaughtering and sacrificing going on!” Yes, there was, but with a purpose.

 

Beside the morning and evening offerings, what was the purpose of sacrificing all those other animals? Was an angry God just after his share of flesh, flour, and olive oil? What was the reason for all these specific rituals and special days? God’s people needed to be constantly reminded of one event and one important event only—they needed to behold the sacrifice to be made on the cross. Why? Because by beholding the cross they would be changed. The cross defined for them why they were there, what their purpose in life was to be, and where they would be going in the end. The message is the same for God’s people in all generations—behold the cross, and by beholding become changed. Love responds to love demonstrated.

 

But since today God’s people no longer participate in offering daily animal sacrifices, what has taken its place? What do you do on a daily basis to remind yourself, your family, and your community of faith, of the cross—the sacrifice of Jesus and God’s gift of transforming grace? A suggested recipe given to us by the messenger of the Lord states that it would be a good thing to give God at least a thoughtful hour every day contemplating the life and death of Christ (see DA 83).

 

All these sacrifices and specific rituals required by God as outlined in the book of Numbers were designed so that his chosen people would not leave God out of their thinking, their conversations, and their behavior. It’s the same for you and me today. God desires that we think, speak, and behave as His children - children who are planning to inherit eternal life and to live with Him forever. “Live as children of light” (Eph 5:8NIV). “…live as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16 RSV).

 

Fred Knopper

Adventist Media Center