February 18

Numbers 28-30, Psalm 49

Suppose we're in a closed room with someone and we hear shooting outside. Unfortunately, with the recent shootings, this is no longer a rare event. Suppose the door flies open and the gun is pointed at the other person's head, and you purposely jump in front of the gun and are killed in the process. The shooter is then wrestled down and captured. Suppose the family left behind by that act of heroism finds themselves in difficult times: unable to obtain food or maintain their shelter. Though you thanked the family publically, how much do you believe you should consider the life of the one who truly saved your earthly life and lost his own in the process. This hypothetical situation in reality usually requires nothing on the part of the one saved. When we contemplate how much we would owe this individual for this act, how much more do we owe Jesus who did so much more. This sinless, unblemished Lamb took on the penalty that none of us could ever pay. He willingly went to the cross to suffer and die so that He could say, "It is finished" or paid in full. He did so much more than save our earthly lives, He literally came to save our souls and offer us eternity. How much do we think that is worth?

Since we no longer observe the required offerings in Numbers 28-29, it is easy to gloss over them. From our current situation, it also seems like a very bloody demand. Someone did the math and calculated from the sacrifice of a single lamb in the morning and the evening in Numbers 28:4 to the end of the daily, weekly, monthly and feast sacrifices in Numbers 29, the sacrifices would result in a total of over a ton of flour, 1000 gallons of wine and oil, 13,000 oxen, and 60,000 sheep annually. Many would look at these numbers and consider it such a waste. Think of all the poor and homeless who could have been fed with these animals and food products. That is the problem with rationalization and secular thinking, which many in the church are also guilty of. God gave us our very lives. God gave us all that we have and made us all that we are. If we even lay down our lives for God, it's only because He gave them to us in the first place. When Daniel is brought before King Belshazzar in Daniel 5:23, he said, "And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hands and owns all your ways, you have not glorified." Like King Belshazzar, many have no time or money left for God, since they have spent it all (including time) on the materialistic things of this world. Yet, the God who literally puts the breath in our lungs we fail to thank or give to.

In addition, what is spelled out gave a rhythm to their spiritual life. This gave people the opportunity to draw their hearts and minds back to God's goodness on a regular basis. So many Christians would rather worship God in a haphazard and inconsistent fashion. How many begin their year reading the Bible in Genesis only to stop because they failed to set aside a consistent time to continue. How many begin the year going to church and/or serving in some capacity, only to fall off due to inconsistencies in their allotted time. God gave them annual feasts in which they were to gather and focus their eyes on God. Most Christians celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. If we were honest, at these few holiday gatherings, what is the main event? Even if a small prayer is said and grace is said, if people were honest isn't the main event usually the company, the food, and the gifts? Father God literally has created us and provides for our every need. Even when we struggle, He faithfully provides us with our every breath. How much should we consider that? We all have one thing in common. We are all sinners and are unable to get ourselves out of this state by our own strength and good works. Jesus, our Messiah, selflessly paid the price, and literally gives anyone who so desires the opportunity of heaven, regardless of our past. How much do you think that should be worth? Rather than viewing these passages as a bloody mess, may it humble us all when we realize the debt we owe God. With that, may we keep our eyes glued on Him like a laser beam, growing daily in our relationship with Him. The author of Hebrews writes in 12:1-2, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster