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the appointed time

In Numbers 28-29, the Lord instructs Moses concerning the regular offerings Israel was to make.

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the people of Israel and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.’”

Numbers 28:1 ESV

There were daily offerings to be given. These were animals to be sacrificed to the Lord. There was also a weekly offering to be given on the Sabbath. Then there were monthly offerings required. To these daily, weekly, and monthly offerings were added several annual offerings. There was the Passover offering and the offering on the Day of Atonement. There was also the Feast of Weeks, and of course we cannot leave out the Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Booths. On these days offerings were to be given to the Lord. These offerings consisted of various animals to be sacrificed and grain.

It’s not hard to imagine the immense cost to the people of Israel, both in resources and in time. Their lives were regulated by the worship of the God of Israel. The law governed every area of life, including—as noted above—their finances and the types of clothing they could wear (no cotton/wool blends!) and how they planted and harvested their crops. The law governed all of life for each Israelite and defined what was acceptable worship of the God who rescued them. As I think about all these required gifts and sacrifices, I find myself thankful that we no longer must give these offerings! We’re no longer under law, right?

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1 ESV

It is true we no longer offer animals in sacrifice. Jesus is the final sacrifice who takes away our sin and reconciles us to God. Therefore we no longer need the blood of animals to cover our sins; his blood takes them away. Instead, having been reconciled to God, God requires a greater sacrifice from us, though it is not to cover our sins. Instead, God requires that we respond to him giving his life for us by giving our lives for him.

The apostle told the Roman believers that their lives are to be given as living sacrifices. When Israel offered a bull or a goat or lamb, it was a one-time offering. After the sacrifice the animal could no longer be offered. A living sacrifice can be offered again and again, repeatedly, throughout our lives.

As we spend time in prayer today, let’s offer our very lives to God as an act of our spiritual worship, knowing that it is holy and acceptable to God through the once-offered blood of Jesus. We do this by living our lives as a reflection of his glory, loving him above all else and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Let’s do this today. It is, after all, the appointed time.