Welcome to our Sunday Service livestream! We will begin shortly at 10:30AM.
Meeting ID: 933 981 197
Posted by International Church at Mont Kiara on Saturday, 7 November 2020
What is Your Life Orientated Around? (Numbers 28-30)
(For accuracy of this transcript, kindly refer to video or audio file)
We have one additional announcement, members, please take note that two weeks from today, on the 22nd of November, we have our Annual General Meeting. Sadly, that’s going to need to be through Zoom. We’ll plan to start that about 12:15pm, 2 weeks from now. Please do notice, you should have received two emails this’ll last day over the weekend, one with the agenda packet, a second email with the financial information. Please do take time to read through that, to pray through that, to be prepared. And then we do ask all of our members to make this meeting a real priority. This is an important part of our body life. That will be two weeks from today. With that, please open your Bibles, as we go now to God’s word, the book of Numbers. We continue our study today looking at chapters 28 through 30. Here on Planet Earth, we take 365 days to do it. If we were to go to planet Mercury, it would only take us 90 days. If one day mankind actually lives on the planet of Mars, it will take them almost two years to do this. And if anybody ever makes it to the planet Saturn, it would take almost 30 years. What am I referring to? I’m talking about the time it takes to revolve around the sun. We of course, live in what’s referred to as the Solar System, a system in which all of the planets are oriented around the sun. I wanted to keep that image in mind as we look to God’s word this morning and hear this challenging question. What is your life oriented around?
We’re picking up this story, we’ve been studying of the ancient people of Israel. They’re camped out on the eastern side of the Jordan River. They can look across and see the promised land that they are to inherit. The army has all been counted and prepared, that was last week. Joshua is the newly appointed leader to take the people into the land and yet we come to a couple of chapters now. That’s a list of religious rituals and festivals content that’s mostly a repeat of what we’ve already read in the books of Exodus and Leviticus. In that way, it seems like these chapters would have been a bit of a delay or a bit of a setback. To us, they might kind of seem like unimportant, boring chapters. Maybe, as Moses first gave this information to the people, some of them might have protested. Why not get on with it, let’s inherit the land? Let’s go conquer the territory and that’s going to happen. But first and the remaining chapters of the book of Numbers that we’re going to see the next several weeks, the people are given these important reminders as further preparation. Because, remember, most of the people alive now in the second generation, were not alive 40 years prior, when those instructions were given in the Book of Exodus and Leviticus. And even those who were alive would have been too young to pay attention to it. And so, before they received their inheritance, these people need to see the importance of the instructions that God had given about worship and how the lives of God’s people were to be oriented, revolving around him. And thus, in these chapters, there is great relevance for us as Christ followers today. Rob starts the reading for us in Numbers 28:1-2, 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 and it’s appointed time.” These two verses are the introduction for all of chapters 28 and 29, we see these appointed times that God has given. There’s this calendar that God has given, that’s organized around the people’s relationship with him. Remember that the last 40 years living in tents, God had this Tabernacle, this holy place where he dwelt and the people were literally camped around the presence of God. But now these tribes are about to spread out. They’re about to go and receive their inheritance. And while the Tabernacle will still exist as the holy place, most of the people of Israel are going to be far away from his presence. And so, God’s instructions here with this calendar are a new way for the people to keep God at the center of everything they do.
Notice before we get to the details of this calendar. This emphasis in the first couple of verses, five times we see the word “my” or “me”. Now it’s not that, as Israel prayed, God ever ate these animal sacrifices. It’s not that God was ever hungry and needed them. No, but these sacrifices were the means by which the people exalted God almighty, a way that people drew near in fellowship and relationship with God. These sacrifices were a way the people honored the covenant that God had made with them. For after all that, that’s what each one of us has been created for. We were made by the creator to worship him, to know him, to love him, to honor and praise him. And so, as these people are about to spread out and no longer be near the Tabernacle, God gives them this calendar to make sure that their lives stay oriented around him.
What is Your Life Oriented Around (Num. 28-30)
- Scheduled Worship (28:1-15)
- Daily (v. 3-8)
- Weekly (v. 9-10)
- Monthly (v. 11-15)
I’m going to divide these two chapters into a couple of parts. First of all, in the first 15 verses, we see the scheduled worship that God gave the people There was scheduled daily worship. Then we’ll see scheduled weekly worship and then there was scheduled monthly worship. We begin with a daily worship verse three. [Numbers 28:3-5] And you shall say to them, “This is the food offering that you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; also a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with a quarter of hin of beaten oil. It is a regular burnt offering, which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD. It’s drink offering shall be a quarter of a hin for each lamb. In the Holy Place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the LORD. The other lamb you shall offer at twilight. Like the grain offering of the morning, and like its drink offering, you shall offer it as a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. In our survey of the Book of Leviticus, we briefly mentioned different kinds of offerings, five main sacrifices that God had commanded. So, we’re not going to go into those details which are repeated here. Rather, we just noticed this morning that there is a reminder given here to the people that every day, twice a day both in the morning and in the evening. The priests were to offer a general sacrifice, a sacrifice that would show a dedication of the people to the Lord twice a day. Morning and evening, saying, Lord, you are our God and we are your people in a sense that every day was seen as holy. Every day was dedicated to and belongs to God, both in the beginning and in the end of each day we’re seen our life revolves around our God. Now we’re going to see the phrase pleasing aroma several times in these chapters, for the sacrifices given a phrase, which simply means God accepted the worship. He was pleased by it. It was a sign that his covenant relationship was continuing with this people. Now, as we said throughout the series as Christians, we know that Jesus came to Earth as the final sacrifice. And because of that, we don’t practice the specifics of the animal sacrifice mentioned here in the book of Numbers because we have something much better. We have Christ living inside of each of us as believers today. And yet the way we see that each day for the Israelites was to be oriented around God through the morning and evening sacrifices is certainly instructive for us. It’s certainly relevant, as we asked the challenging question this morning. Is your life oriented around God? This morning and evening sacrifice we read of is the basis for things we practice spiritually disciplines today, such as daily, quiet time personal devotions that we’re called to do. Not as empty ritual but as one of the ways we communicate to the Lord God, my life is built around you. Our Tuesday thoughts email that was sent out this past week encouraged our families, especially during this time of CMCO, to find simple ways where the Bible is opened up. Where there is prayer in our daily routines, our families need that. It’s a way we reflect that God is not just on the side of our lives, but no, our life is rotating around our savior, our king. So, God gave instructions for daily worship.
We also see next that God gave the Israelites instruction for weekly worship. Stephanie reads in Verse nine [Numbers 28:9-10] On the Sabbath day, two male lambs a year old without blemish, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, and its drink offering: this is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, besides, the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. We’re going to put a cumulative chart on the screen. I’m not sure how well you’re going to be able to read that, but we see that there have been two lamb sacrifices each day and on top of that, each Sabbath each seventh day, an additional two lambs. So, there have been four sacrifices on each Sabbath day. We see in the law, that got it set apart one day each week, the seventh day as a day of rest. Now, first of all, this would have just been such a gift. Remember, the Israelites had been slaves. They never got a day off. This was God’s kindness in giving this day. It was also a sign of the covenant. While every day was belonging to God, one particular day each week was devoted to him. On this day, they weren’t to work. They were just to trust his provision, no longer be self-relying on that day. Trust God to meet the needs of the family and this was a weekly pattern once every seven days, and it would have been an obvious example that the people of Israel, their lives, was oriented around God. Now we come to the teaching of the New Testament to what Jesus said, and we find that by his time, many of the religious Jews had misunderstood the Sabbath. It had become this legalistic rule keeping thing that was not God’s intention. And so, several times Jesus corrected that in his teaching. And then after the cross, we find instructions in the New Testament, for instance, in the Book of Hebrews that Jesus fulfilled what the Sabbath pointed to, that Jesus is now our rest, that every day of the week we can have union with Christ. And so, because of that, as we read the Sabbath laws of the Old Testaments, we understand that in Christ we’re not required to follow these specifics. And yet the New Testament is quite clear, as was read earlier in our service from Hebrews 10. That the regular gatherings of God’s people, is a crucial, essential element of the Christian walk. Believers in the first century began modeling for us how, Sunday was a central point of the week around which believers oriented their lives. Sadly, in the 21st century, many of us have strayed from that model. We’re now, we just kind of look for church, when it’s convenient. If you can fit in a Saturday night service here, that’s great. Or just catch a church service on the Internet and called it your worship experience for the weekend. And certainly, I know the CMCO, is not helping those matters at all, but I would just exhort our ICMK church family this morning that weekly worship should be so important to us as followers of Christ. We need these gatherings together as God’s people. We should long for the blessing that comes from Christ as we are gathered in his name together as his people. And so, I just encourage us church family, while we keep striving to make the most of the online gatherings we can have right now. Maybe some of us right now need to close out that other browser on our screens, that’s distracting us. Maybe we need to turn off the notifications on our phone, that’s keeping us from being present in our online gathering. Some of us, maybe we need to make it more of a priority to join at 10:30am each Sunday morning on time. So, we’re all gathered at the same time for our worship gathering because we see in Scripture that our individual faith is supposed to be oriented together around Christ through his church. And whenever we can meet again Church family. What I suggest to you that it should be such a rare occasion when you don’t attend our Sunday worship service. Please, brothers and sisters, don’t let sports, don’t let children’s birthday parties, don’t let office work, keep us from putting in our calendar that our life is oriented around Christ and the gathering of his people.
The Sabbath law was given to the Israelites again, not to be a legalistic thing. It wasn’t supposed to be a reluctant obligation on the part of the people, but no, from their heart, they would have this weekly worship. And I think this kind of proper motivation is reflected in another phrase we find throughout these chapters, that their gifts were to be without blemish. Can you imagine someone going to his flock of lambs and picking out a sick and injured lamb and bringing that to sacrifice. Scripture says no, God deserves our best at worship. And so, there was to be scheduled daily worship and weekly worship, which came from the heart of God’s people. So also, there was a scheduled monthly worship, verse 11, [Numbers 28:11-15] “At the beginning of your months, you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; also three tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, for each bull, and two tenths of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, for the one ram; and a tenth of fine flour mixed with oil, as a grain offering for every lamb; for a burnt offering with a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD. Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, a third of a hin for a ram, and a quarter of a hin for a lamb. This is the burnt offering of each month throughout the months of the year. Also, one male goat for a sin offering to the LORD; it shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. Notice back on our cumulative chart, significant increase on the first day of each month, totals up 10 burnt offerings that were to be given, significant first day of the month, dedicating the whole month to the Lord. Notice also, here a sin offering is now mentioned for the first time as a regular reminder at the start of each month that you are a sinful people needing forgiveness on ongoing basis. The people of Israel had a lunar calendar, meaning their monthly calendar was based on the seasons of the moon. It’s as if God had built rhythm into creation that is now helping to guide the worship of his people. We can be so easily distracted, we can forget the most important things in life. And so, God gave Israel this holy calendar to help prevent that. Now we go to the pages of the New Testament as Christ followers. We don’t find any instructions for us about having a particular holy day each month, although the Bible does teach that we should have a pattern of regular giving when we’re gathered together as God’s people. And so, maybe a parallel we could see here is, as many of us are paid on a monthly basis, and God would call us the first thing to do with our paycheck, before all of our other purchases as we give our regular offerings to the work of the Lord. And maybe that could be kind of a monthly rhythm of scheduled worship that we have this Christ followers today. But ultimately, as we’ve already said, Jesus fulfilled this entire calendar. These sacrifices at the start of each lunar cycle are also pointing to the final sacrifice of Jesus. And we know that because the new moon sacrifices are referred to in the New Testament. Colossians 2:16b-17, with regards to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. That’s why as Christian today, we don’t make a big deal on the first of March or the first of September, the first of each month as a holy day. Those were shadows pointing to the reality, the substance being Jesus. Having said that, as Christ followers we’re certainly not called to a lesser devotion than the Israelites would. It’s just that for us it’s not only the first day of the month that belongs to God, all 30 days, all 31 days belonged to him. And as Christ followers again, as was prayed earlier in the service, instead of giving animal sacrifices we’re called to give something much greater we’re to [Roman 12:1b, present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.] present ourselves on a daily basis as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. Jesus and his teaching hinted at this kind of change that would come because of his arrival in the Gospel of John 4:23, [But] the hour is coming and is now here, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the father is seeking such people to worship him. And so, as we look at our passage this morning, we see that Jesus fulfilled this calendar, and that’s why we’re not obligated to follow the specifics in this chapter. And yet the intention, the purpose behind all of these holy days that we are studying is that the life of Israel in the land would revolve around God. And certainly, that is very relevant for us. As again, we hear the challenging question this morning. What is your life oriented around?
- Right Priorities (28:16 – 29:40)
- Passover (28:16-25)
The rest of Chapter 28 and Chapter 29 continue with the calendar, but now to the annual calendar, the yearly festivals we’ll look at those from a different angle, we will summarize as, Right Priorities. The right priorities the Israelites were to have with their annual feasts. We further see the first one, the Passover, in verse 16 [Numbers 28:16-20] “On the fourteenth day of the first month is the LORD’s Passover, and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. On the first day there should be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, but offer a food offering, a burnt offering to the LORD: two bulls from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; see that there without blemish; also their grain offering a fine flour mixed with oil; three tenth of an ephah shall you offer for a bull, and two tenths for a ram; a tenth shall you offer for each of the seven lambs; also one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you. You shall offer these beside the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular burnt offering. In the same way, you shall offer daily, for seven days, the food of a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. It shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work.” Back in the book of Exodus, we read that as the Israelites came out of Egypt, God instructed that their calendar, their year, should begin with that very month, the month that they were delivered from their slavery. If you could read the screen, we see them, the first month in the Jewish calendar was the month called Nissan that corresponds today to the months of March and April. And as we just read on the 14th day of the first month is when the Passover was to be observed, followed directly by a seven-day feast of unleavened bread. This first month, once they were in the land, it would have been the time of the barley harvest so that people would have brought their sacrifices of grain and thanksgiving and praise to God. And while they’re bringing those harvest offering’s, the priest we see back in our chart would give the same sacrifices that would be given on the first of every month. And yet for this sacrifice, this feast they are uniquely remembering what happened at the Passover celebrating their salvation, how the firstborn children were all spared because the blood of the Passover lamb was spread over the door posts and they were saved. And they remember this, year after year as God’s salvation continued. We’ve mentioned previously in this series that, of course, the night before Jesus was crucified, was the Passover feast for the Jewish people and Jesus had interpreted the Passover for his followers in light of himself, how the bread and the wine now represented his body and his blood that would be shed for the salvation of his people. This is what we remember every time we celebrate the Lord’s supper. Of course, we’re back to a time now as a church family where were restricted. We can’t gather together anymore. We can’t observe the Lord’s Supper in person. I hope one of the positives that come out of the year 2020 for the ICMK Church family is that we’re learning more and more to cherish and to long for the Lord’s supper. When we come together in Jesus name, remembering what he has done in unity as the people of God with, the Lord’s Supper be such a cherished priority for us is the church family.
- Weeks (28:26-31)
First month, there was the priority of Passover. Third month, as we move on, there was to be another feast called the Feast of Weeks, verse 26 [Numbers 28:26-31] “On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you should have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, but offer a burnt offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenth of an ephah for each bull, two tenth for one ram, a tenth for each of the seven lambs; with one male goat, to make atonement for you. Besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offerings, you shall offer them in their drink offering. See that they are without blemish. Notice again on our chart, the priest would do the exact same sacrifices that they did for the previous feasts. Here, on this day, this feast gets its name because it took place seven weeks after Passover, it’s the Feast of Weeks. Once they’re in the land, this would have been the time of another harvest, a time of the wheat harvest. So again, the people would have brought their grain offerings and thanksgiving and praise to God. Another reminder of the privilege. They had to be the people of the Lord. There was another name for this festival that we’re more familiar with the festival of Pentecost. Penta pointed to 50, 50 days after Passover. And of course, we’re most familiar with this festival because it’s the one that was taking place in Jerusalem, seven weeks after Jesus, death and resurrection on which in Acts Chapter two, God sent the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church. Thus, as we see this festival told in the Old Testament, it’s a foreshadowing or foretelling of the gift we have today of God’s spirit.
- Trumpets (29:1-6)
So, the first month of the year the third month of the year, were these sacred festivals where all the men of Israel would have to travel to where the Tabernacle was. That would take time, that would be expensive. It showed that the right priority that people had with God at the center of their lives, same thing was to take place in the seventh month of the year, where we find actually the most important festivals, three in a row in the seventh month here in Chapter 29. The first was the Feast of Trumpets. [Numbers 29:1-6] “On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets, and you shall offer a burnt offering, for a pleasing aroma to the LORD: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the ram, and a tenth for each of the seven lambs; with one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you; besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and its grain offering, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offering according to the rule for them, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD. Again, we have quite similar sacrifices that the priest would offer up. As with the previous feasts, here on the first day of the seventh month announcements made by the sound of a Ram’s horn. This trumpet call was a call to repentance, announcing the first 10 days of this month, were preparation for the sacred day of assembly, happening on Day 10. Repentance is a theme, we probably don’t think about enough as Christians. I think most of us know what you need to repent in order to become a Christian, that’s true. The first sermon we hear Jesus preach in the Gospels was repent and believe the good news. Repenting is turning away from our sin and rebellion and turning to God and asking for his mercy available in Christ. So, yes, repentance is how we begin to follow Jesus. But we’re not supposed to stop repenting as we follow him. This has seemed clearly in last week, we remembered as an anniversary, the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the day on which Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg and did you know what the very first of those 95 statements were. It was this, #1 Our lord and Master Jesus Christ, in saying, “Repent” intended that the whole life of believers on earth should be a constant (continual) repentance. You know what? One way to measure how mature of a Christian you are, how regularly are you repenting? How regularly are you seeing the sin that still remains in your life? And are you aggrieved by that? And are you confessing to it asking God for his mercy in Christ? Because you see, even as God’s forgiven people, we daily dishonor him. We often are not loving him as we should. And so, the trumpet’s call on the first day of the seventh month was to remind the people of Israel to be confessing their sins. This was to be a priority for them and preparation then for the next festival of the month.
- Atonement (29:7-11)
The Feast of Atonement, coming on the 10th day, Rob reads in verse seven. [Numbers 29:7-11] “On the tenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work, but you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; see that they are without blemish. And their grain offering shall be fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for one ram, a tenth for each of the seven lambs: also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings. Again, we have very similar sacrifices that the priest would give, as on the other feast days. If you remember back in Leviticus Chapter 16 an entire chapter is given for this one holy day. Remember, it was the only day of the year, the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was and it was on this one day of the calendar that God proclaimed that the sins of the entire year were forgiven, that all of the people could be cleansed. Now if the sacrifices on this day were pleasing were acceptable aroma to God. How much more was God satisfied? Was God pleased when Jesus lay down his life as a sacrifice for us? See, the cross was the final day of atonement. When Jesus proclaims, it is finished, all of our sins for all of our life were atone for. Church family, may we never cease to marvel at the incredible kindness and love of God shown to us through Jesus. And so ancient Israel was given this one day on the calendar to make sure they kept the good news of their salvation at the center of their lives. We again have some something much better. We’ve been given the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit each day reminds us the Holy Spirit each day testifies to our heart that we are forgiven that we are the children of God and church family. Would this be such a priority then for us, we’re oriented around the gospel, we’re speaking the good news to each other, we’re speaking the gospel to our own hearts. Month seven was a big month flowing out of the first day that the trumpets sound. And the 10th day, The Day of Atonement came then, actually the biggest festival of the year.
- Booths (29:12-38)
The Feast of Booths, Verse 12. [Numbers 29:12-16] “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days. And you shall offer a burnt offering, a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD, thirteen bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old; they shall be without blemish; and their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two tenths for each of the two rams, and a tenth for each of the fourteen lambs; also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burn offering, its grain offering and it’s drink offering. Did you notice the significant increase in the amount of sacrifices the priest gave here on day 1, 13 bulls and 14 lambs. This seventh-month festivities would have taken place in the land after the final harvest of the year. This would have been the harvest of the vineyards of olives, of grapes, of other vegetables and as the people are bringing in all of their grain offerings, the priests are offering many, animal sacrifices each day. It was like the turkey and stuffing of American Thanksgiving. This was the biggest, largest celebration. In Malaysia, this is Chinese New Year. The people on the seventh month are remembering God’s faithfulness, and this feast was called the Feast of Booths because in celebration those seven days, they were to construct little Tabernacles, little tents, little booths where they sleeping and remember how, for 40 years, all they had were tents. A celebration of God’s protection and provision for them during their four decades in the wilderness. You can read for your own the rest of the chapter verses 17 through 34 which show the rest of this week again each day. Many sacrifices given in celebration, the exception, the change is that each day there was one less bull than the day before, 13 than 12 than 11 than 10. We’re not told why this is the case. Maybe it was just so that there would be this anticipation of a countdown, a kind of like in New York City on New Year’s Eve, before the ball drops for the Great Celebration at the end. Every year, this large celebration that people would remember they would celebrate, God brought us into the promised land. We come to the pages of the New Testament, and there’s nowhere that we’re told us Christians that would have some sort of a replacement for this feast of Tabernacles. Rather, what we are told is that, is that our greatest celebration isn’t a festival. Our greatest celebration is a person. It’s Jesus himself who again fulfilled everything in this great week. It’s interesting that there is once where we’re told that Jesus was celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. It’s quite interesting to see what he proclaimed then, John 7:37, On the last day of the feast, the great day (this is the feast of Tabernacles), Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” You see as Christ followers instead of a holy calendar. In Jesus, every day we are to celebrate. Philippians commands us. Rejoice in the Lord always not just a big festival. Once a year, each day we have so much to celebrate in Christ And I know with the pains and the challenges of life, that could be very difficult. Especially we’ve seen that in this year. But if our life is oriented around God, thankfulness to Christ will be such a priority. Well, all of this calendar we studied in these two chapters is summarized in the last two verses of Numbers 29:39-40, “These you shall offer to the LORD at your appointed feasts, in addition to your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your grain offerings, for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.” So Moses told the people of Israel everything just as the LORD had commanded Moses. At creation, God made the earth to revolve around the sun and that then lead to this calendar for the people of Israel entering the promised land. A calendar, which would help them orient the life of the nation around God. These two chapters have given this kind of corporate teaching for all the people, and that’s followed up directly in Chapter 30 with now more over Individual application.
- Family Faithfulness (30:1-16)
Well, just summarize it briefly as family faithfulness, Numbers 30:1-2, Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the LORD has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. It was quite common at this time for people to make pledges, take oaths in the name of God, give vows to God. There were promises where in response to God helping and God blessing someone promises to do something to give an offering to show their dedication to God. This teaching on vows is placed here where it is in Chapter 30 perhaps because it would have been at these three main festivals when people are traveling back to the Tabernacle that they would have been able to fulfill the vows, the oaths that they have made to God. Now one very clear truth from this chapter is that if you promise God something, you had better keep your word. As God is faithful, as God keeps his promises, so must his people. There shouldn’t be this case among God’s people where you promised God something when life is hard and then you don’t follow through on it when things all of a sudden get better for you. In God’s eyes, this is a great wrong. Several places teach this one example, the Book of Ecclesiastes 5:4-6a, When you make a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin. Now, elsewhere in Scripture, we see the danger in the Old Testament period that these vows became means that people tried to manipulate God or they gave vows with wrong motives. And that’s probably the reason why Jesus in Matthew Chapter five told his followers not to take oaths, not to make vows, he said, just say yes or no and then keep your word. We see the purpose in this command of Chapter 30 that God values truth and faithfulness, and he values that in our individual families. And so, after the initial command in the first two verses, the rest of the chapter addresses, the situation where there’s potential conflict in a family because an unwise vow has been made. Verse three of Chapter 30, [Numbers 30:3-5] “If a woman vows a vow to the LORD and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the LORD will forgive her, because her father opposed her. So, we see a situation where a daughter who’s unmarried makes a vow, the father hears about it, and we’re told in such a situation, if it’s a father disagrees, he can override and cancel out that vow. God would allow that, the girl in this case would not be forced to fulfill the about. But we read, if the father doesn’t stop it on the day that he hears about it, the vow is still required. Even with whatever financial obligations that might put on the family, the family as a whole must be faithful to keep the word that was pledged to God. Next section takes on additional scenario. Now it’s when a new husband hears of a vow that his bride made, before they were married, Verse six. [Numbers 30:6-8] “If she marries a husband, while under her vows or any thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she has bound herself, and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the LORD will forgive her. So, same template now, if a husband objects to what his new bride vowed before the marriage, he can override it, and she won’t be obligated to keep the vow anymore. But if he doesn’t stop it on the day, he hears of it, she will be required to fulfill it. You can keep reading the rest of the chapter on your own. Another scenario just for a married couple when a married wife makes a vow. And again, the same description of how a husband can handle the vow that his wife has made and an overall impression I think we have this chapter is that God desires there to be both faithfulness and truth, but also unity within families. You know this. This wife might think she’s made a noble and religious vow, but that shouldn’t lead to conflict with her husband. There’s to be harmony in the home.
Now we read Chapter 30 here in the 21st century, a century, where there is an ever increasing, equality between the genders, which is mostly a very good thing, and so to us we read this chapter and it seems sexist, and we wonder where their cultural differences back then and surely there were. I mean, this took place 3000 years ago. But while that’s true, we find a consistent teaching throughout the word of God, old and new testaments alike, whatever the time and whatever the culture God calls for husbands, for fathers to be providing wise and godly leadership for their families, husbands and dads are to represent the family before God. They’re responsible to guide the family and faithfulness and so as strange and as difficult as Chapter 30 might seem to us. At the very least, this chapter exhorts the men of ICMK to step up and with a humble strength, to lead our families. Likewise, this chapter exhorts the sisters of ICMK, with this gentle reminder. One way that you follow Jesus is by honoring the male leadership that God has placed in your family. Now, having said that, I don’t think Chapter 30 should be taken a separate from everything else we’ve said today. As we seek to have our lives oriented around God revolving around Christ. One of the main ways this is seen is when there is godliness in our homes, in our family relationships. So, bringing everything together that we looked at this morning, like planets orbiting the sun. God called the people of Israel. God calls all believers today, to orient our lives around, worshiping him not just theoretically, but in the specifics of our priorities. Now switching our analogies. The Christian life is like a bicycle wheel. God demands to be at the center. He’s supposed to be the hub of the wheel that holds all the spokes together around which the tire rotates. And yet, we as a religious people as churchgoers, it could be deceived into thinking that as long as God, is one of the spokes on my tire, I’m okay. No, everything flows from the hub, and God’s not the hub, something else is. And the Bible says that something else is called an idol. And so, for those of us who admit this morning that there’s something else at the hub of my life rather than Jesus, Maybe it’s career. Maybe it’s your family. Maybe it’s prosperity. Maybe it’s pleasure. Whatever God’s spirit is revealing to you, this morning is at the hub of your life instead of Christ. Would the truth we’ve seen this morning, will we hear from this ancient calendar given to Israel what these truths call us this morning as God’s people [1 Peter 3:15, In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.] to set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts. That’s the orientation we were created for. Let’s pray.