Reading the book of Numbers in the Bible is not particularly easy for me. As it's name implies it is an accounting of the numbers of the Lord's people in the wilderness. It is also where detailed information is given regarding the different sacrifices that the Israelites are to offer up to the Lord.
I have read Numbers more than once over my lifetime and I feel as if I am trudging through it each time. My wise husband always reminds me that the book of Numbers was placed in the Bible for a reason. It was placed there by God's divine will. That means that there is something there for me to learn.
I was reading chapters 28 and 29 this morning and was struck by the sheer numbers of animals sacrificed. The offerings on the feast days have always stuck in my mind but it never really registered in my mind the vastness of the offerings.
Numbers 28:1-8 lists the daily food offerings:
- Two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering. (verse 4)
- A tenth of an ephah (about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters) of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with a quarter of a hin (about 4 quarts or 3.5 liters) of beaten oil. (verse 5)
- A drink offering shall be a quarter of a hin for each lamb (2 hins). In the Holy Place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the Lord.
It then follows in Numbers 28:9-10 the list of the Sabbath offerings and in Numbers 28:11-15 the monthly offerings. There are also the Passover offerings, the offerings for the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Booths. There are also personal sin offerings to be given detailed earlier in the book. After reading to this point I am always struck by the sheer amount of death and blood, which our sin requires. I am seeing something more this time.
When I look at the death and blood I am always reminded of the prophesied sacrifice to come through the personhood of Jesus Christ. Where His blood covers all of our sins permanently and the Old Testament sacrifices are far eclipsed by my risen Lord. God's provision of a savior was always promised and has been fulfilled. I am aware that God also provides for our needs (not necessarily our wants). This is not a promise for just New Testament believers. His promise extends to all of His children. And first and foremost Israel is His chosen people.
In my time over the years reading Numbers I tend to just move on through not really thinking beyond His promised provision outside of Christ for the atonement of my sins. I may be in the minority noticing this so late but I really hadn't thought about the daily provision by God of good crops and healthy herds for the Israelites so that they could worship; could give their offerings. I doubt that the Israelites actually thought about this either as they were a grumbly lot. God provided for both the physical needs of His people and for their spiritual needs. The cleansing required through the sin, food, and drink offerings were possible because of God's provision. My understanding of God's provision has grown today with a deeper awareness and understanding of His genuine love. We were created to worship Him and we cannot do so carrying around our filthy dirty rags. He has always provided the means for us to repent.
Jesus Christ replaced the Old Testament sin offerings with his excruciating crucifixion on the cross. His body provided all! He rose again on the third day and reigns in Heaven. The triune God has provided all.