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Numbers 29

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Book of Numbers Chapter Twenty-Nine
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

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Sacrifice And Rest

This chapter is a continuation of Numbers 28. Moses was soon to leave the scene and these verses would remind his successors that the religious laws applied to Israel were to continue after he was gone. This section of Scripture is also the continuation of a revelation, a parable showing what we all need, including: Forgiveness, God's rest, a celebration of the Lord, a Sacrifice acceptable to Him, and we need His Holy Spirit. It sounds complicated, except that we complete all of it by the simple act of expressing "YES" to the Lord, abandoning self-trust and instead trusting in Him. He has done the work and we participate by falling into His loving arms, outstretched at Calvary for you and me. He did the hard work and we receive His love.

Verses 1-6: "Now in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall also have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It will be to you a day for blowing trumpets. 2 You shall offer a burnt offering as a soothing aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, and seven male lambs one year old without defect; 3 also their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram, 4 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs. 5 Offer one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you, 6 besides the burnt offering of the new moon and its grain offering, and the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord." The Feast of Trumpets—God assembled the people by the blowing of trumpets (Exodus 19:16-17). He warned the people and began their journeys with the sound of trumpets (Numbers 10:1-6). Just about everything Israel did was accompanied by loud trumpets so that all might hear and respond. Do you hear trumpets? Something very similar is happening in our lives, like a trumpet directing us, and though you may think you function independently, at some point you will recognize that each step of your life was and is at the direction of the Lord. He has that way of turning even our mistakes and troubles into our ultimate "good" and for His glory (Romans 8:28). From a human perspective, death is thought to be the worst thing that could happen to us, but at the sound of a trumpet and at the direction of the Lord, death will be no more and the faithful will know first hand the victory that the Lord has won for you and me (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

Verses 7-11: "Then on the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall humble yourselves; you shall not do any work. 8 You shall present a burnt offering to the Lord as a soothing aroma: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs one year old, having them without defect; 9 and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 10 a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 11 one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement and the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings." These verses portray a time and a method of "atonement," a word referring to repayment for a wrong or injury. We are focused on human repayment, through the centuries building jails, enacting laws and devising various methods of execution in the process. But our focus, though important for the preservation of society, has been misplaced. David sinned by committing adultery and then tried to cover it up by the murder of her husband (2 Samuel 11). This warrior-king fooled himself, as we often do, believing he made things right by marrying the girl, "but the thing that David had done displeased the Lord" (2 Samuel 11:27). In the chapter that followed (2 Samuel 12), David was confronted by God's prophet, forcing the man to see that his sins were terrible, and in his confession he now understood that all sin is against God. As he said to the Lord, "Against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight" (Psalm 51:4). In Verses 16-19 of that chapter, we learn that the sacrifices of Israel were not sufficient to appease God, though they were ordered by Him. Something infinitely more is needed. A foreshadowing of God's solution is glimpsed in the prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 53:6 and its context, where we find that "the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Those who later saw Jesus make atonement for our sins referred to Him who was "without defect" in this manner: "He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26).

Verses 12-16: "Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to the Lord for seven days. 13 You shall present a burnt offering, an offering by fire as a soothing aroma to the Lord: thirteen bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old, which are without defect; 14 and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two-tenths for each of the two rams, 15 and a tenth for each of the fourteen lambs; 16 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering." Do you notice here the emphasis on feasting and rest? All these sacrifices were fatal for the sheep, bulls and goats involved, but Israel was to reap God's intended benefits out of their loss, just as He has abundance and rest for you and me. If our lives are hard, and they are, it's often because He is so busy correcting our injurious thoughts and actions that rest and abundance seem far from us. Jesus Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). He is our worthy Sacrifice, making us right with God. He came to give abundance and rest to those willing to finally, utterly trust in Him. Do you trust in the Lord?

Verses 17-22: "Then on the second day: twelve bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 18 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 19 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings. 20 Then on the third day: eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 21 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 22 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering." These verses are one set of instructions given to Israel through Moses; words that began in Numbers 28:1 and continue through this chapter. This is an in-your-face reminder that the sacrifices, the religious acts done by us are insufficient to save us. Someone outside of ourselves is necessary as an intervening factor, dying on our behalf so that we might live. On this second day and third day of these verses, we are to see that our need is continuous. If we did something wrong last week, but are nice today or express religious sentiment right now—it's not enough. We need the Sacrifice, the Savior seen in Revelation 13:8, who died for the sins that we committed yesterday, last year, next year and for all of our lives. Deep inside we can see that our attitudes are not what they should be—He died to rescue us from ourselves.

Verses 23-28: "Then on the fourth day: ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 24 their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 25 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering. 26 Then on the fifth day: nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 27 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 28 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering." The week in Numbers 29 is a representation of our whole lives—we continually need the Sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. We can never do enough to please Him. We cannot perform enough religious acts or good works. Yes our good deeds please Him, but He wants our hearts even more—and then the good works become His, in and through us. Instead of "random acts of kindness," we become deliberate blessings, sent by God as part of His directed kindness toward the world. The substances of these verses, by the way, were everything to ancient Israel. In the desert where they wandered, they could not live without meat, grain and drink. What is important to you? Are you willing to give up supermarkets, TV sets and comfortable lives if He so leads? Israel is an example—we become willing to risk everything through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He expects no less.

Verses 29-34: "Then on the sixth day: eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 30 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 31 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offerings. 32 Then on the seventh day: seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect; 33 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 34 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering." With the seventh day of Verse 32, the week of sacrifice that represents the need of our entire lives is shown. Each goat, all the bulls, rams, lambs and every life, including the grain that was plucked and the grapes crushed to produce the drink—all of it, all life is precious to God. And He would never end the life of any of these perfect creatures unless it was absolutely necessary. He is getting our attention. Our efforts are not enough. Sacrifice is needed, the Sacrifice of God's Son is essential to us, atoning for our past, present and future sins. We will only spend eternity with the Lord by accepting Him and the Sacrifice He became for us. He died for me. I am to live for Him, and die to this world as He directs me.

And notice in Verses 35-38 that the words of the Lord through Moses continue beyond just a week, and into a new week, seen as the eighth day: "On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly; you shall do no laborious work. 36 But you shall present a burnt offering, an offering by fire, as a soothing aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs one year old without defect; 37 their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bull, for the ram and for the lambs, by their number according to the ordinance; 38 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering." The "rest" required of us cannot be contained in a week, a lifetime or any human limitation. We are to be taken by the Lord out of our abilities and into His. Jesus said, "Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Hebrews 4:9 assures us, "There remains... a rest for the people of God."

Verses 39-40: "You shall present these to the Lord at your appointed times, besides your votive offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings and for your grain offerings and for your drink offerings and for your peace offerings. 40 Moses spoke to the sons of Israel in accordance with all that the Lord had commanded Moses." Moses did not delay—he spoke the words of the Lord to the people immediately. He did it right now. And it's true for us also. We are to turn to the Lord and trust in Him—right now. The Holy Sacrifice has been given. All is ready for you and me. It has been done. We are to come to Him and receive His rest. Will you trust in Him with me—right now?

Lord, I am so tired. I have sinned. I am weary, often unable to know what to do. I fall into Your arms and I trust in You. Thank You for Your Sacrifice for me. I am Yours, Lord, I place my faith in You and enter Your Rest. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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