April 4, 2022 - Numbers 28-30
Sacrifices come in many forms and at various costs. It may be as simple as a child giving up a toy for another child to have an opportunity to play. As we grow older, the value of our sacrifices may increase but not necessarily the level of importance which they hold in our lives.
Israel was specifically instructed as to what were acceptable sacrifices and offerings to be presented to the Lord. A second generation of people were prepared to enter the land of promise. The required offerings were broken down according to daily, weekly, monthly, and annual contributions to the Lord.
Considering the great number of offering and sacrifices required, Moody Commentary states, "Not including the Day of Atonement sacrifices or other feast day sacrifices addressed elsewhere (e.g., First Fruits; Lev. 23), the burnt sacrifices here included 113 bulls, 37 rams, 1,093 lambs annually, as well as 30 goats for sin offering" (Moody Bible Commentary, p.254-55). The many sacrifices were from people who were already followers and were part of the covenant community of Israel.
These sacrifices were not to be misunderstood as a way of earning salvation but a catalyst to make individuals aware of their sins and the separation between a holy God and man. Each time a sacrifice was made, the individual was dealing with their own personal sins and being restored to God. Sacrifices were not an end in themselves since God was primarily interested in the person.
An individual who brought the right sacrifices with a heart far from God, would never please Him. Repeatedly in the Scripture, it is stated that God is more interested in the person's heart than the sacrifices they make (Gen.4:1-8; Ps. 40:6-8; Isa. 1:10-18; Micah 6:6-8). Also, in Hosea, it is recorded, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" (Hosea 6:6). This verse is recounted by Matthew in 9:13 & 12:7.
There is a cost to sacrifice. The Old Testament sacrifices and offerings pointed forward to not only Christ's death (Hebrews 9:26), but also to believers being daily living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). Let us examine ourselves before the Lord and be prepared to sacrificially present ourselves to Him in our leisure, labors, and language.