Reading Through the Bible, Thursday, February 17. Numbers 29-31

Numbers 28 and 29 offer the most extensive description of sacrifices in the Old Testament.  This particular presentation is date sensitive.  It begins with daily offerings, moves to weekly offerings, then monthly, then the offerings during the particular festivals.  Passover comes first, occurring on the 14th day of the first month, followed by Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) fifty days later.  The seventh month has the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles, the latter of which required a specific offering each day for eight days.

Before you skip over these festival days as being redundant, note that the focus is on what sacrifices will be offered, and note the repeated phrase that these sacrifices are “in addition to” the regular burnt offerings and grain offerings, as well as “in addition to vows” and freewill offerings.

There are a lot of sacrifices, and in an economy where meat was a rarity at the dinner table, the sacrifices were costly.  Why would God insist on such extravagance (or, as some might put it, waste)?

The sacrifices were an ongoing sign of Israel’s relationship with God.  It required dedication and expense; not something to be treated lightly.  The fact that these regulations are repeated in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy reminded Israel of the importance of that relationship.  Ours is no less an important relationship.  We should remember that when we prepare our offerings to the Lord.