“Sacrifice these to God as a congregation at your set feasts: your Whole-Burnt-Offerings, Grain-Offerings, Drink-Offerings, and Peace-Offerings. These are all over and above your personal Vow-Offerings and Freewill-Offerings.” Numbers 29:39 (MSG)
It’s been interesting for me to spend specific times at the lake this summer with children of different ages. It’s amazing to see how kids act and react in the different stages of life from infant to toddler to tweens to teens. For adults and parents, each stage has its blessings and each stage has its curses. As I interacted with all the children in their various stages, I found myself trying to create teaching moments when the opportunity arose.
This past weekend we were at the lake with some great young kids who, nonetheless, found themselves bored and ended up whining about it. During one of these moments I saw a big stack of laundered towels on the floor and I picked them up, asking our bored guest if he would take them down to the towel bin and put them away. There was a point to asking my young guest to do this. In fact, there were a couple of points I was subtly trying to communicate. First, if you’re bored enough to whine about it, we can certainly find something for you to do. Second, there is plenty of work that must be done to ensure that everyone has a good time at the lake and if you can participate in the fun things you can participate in the work, too.
As I read through today’s chapter and the dizzying list of offerings and sacrifices God prescribed for feast days (which was above and beyond those already prescribed), I’m reminded that there was a point He was trying to make with us His children. The point was that no human being can possibly sacrifice enough, offer enough, or do enough to achieve the status of being good enough to be acceptable for God. The impossible system of sacrifices was a giant word picture and object lesson to teach us that we can’t possibly do enough or be perfectly obedient enough to earn our salvation.
That’s why God sent Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of the world. God’s Message says it is by God’s grace and unmerited favor we are saved through placing our faith in Jesus, His sacrifice and resurrection. Salvation is not something we earned ourselves by keeping a system of sacrifices or doing enough good deeds to balance out the bad. Salvation is the gift of God, not the result of our human works or any good works we might think we can boast about. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Today, I’m thankful that I’m free from having to earn God’s favor, and I’m grateful for the sacrifice God made to set me free.