Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Numbers (Musings Part One - Incense, Aromas, Sacrifice)

Scofield points out that the Hebrew name for this book, ‘Desert’, is more apt. It is because this book talks about Israel in the Desert and the Wilderness. There is little argument that this book features two ‘takings of a census’ but it is clear to me - at least - that the type of census is very different from what we might expect from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in its general census. There are differing numbers and for now I’m happy to defer to other theologians or apologists to answer them; this isn’t the point of my post.

Whilst I knew very well the tribes were wandering lost in the desert, what struck me was the rhythm of the sacrifices. There were always a set number of tribes who did and they didn’t sacrifice wily-nilly. There were a set number of animals, a set number of grains and such to be given to the Priests to bless and to make holy. The priests were permitted to have some of the sacrifice but again in a consistent way.

And whilst Numbers appears to lean towards the Aaronic and Levite priests, they too were bound to offer some sacrifice to the Lord.

I haven’t finished contemplating this book or its words but I will commit to writing this: in the days before Jesus, the Lord God clearly delighted in the rhythmic aroma and offerings of sacrifice. If He did not, why command all the tribes to do so, so consistently and with such insistence? Scofield argues that these sacrifices and aromas were only just enough to soothe the Lord God before the sacrifice of His Son.

This raises to me a question: if I today raise incense to the Lord, will that remind Him that my sacrifice is so much less than the faith in my heart, but that the scent still is pleasing to his senses?

I wonder.

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