Gifts That Count


Today’s Devotion: Numbers 7

The second to the longest chapter in the bible and a very monotonous chapter at that. Eighty-nine verses and very repetitive as it describes each of the gifts that the princes brought to the tabernacle from each of the twelve tribes. My mind wandered as I read this chapter (confession), and I couldn’t help thinking about the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Every time the chapter shares which gift the prince presented I thought, “And a partridge in a pear tree!” I hope you see the humor – I was simply feeling the warm of the Christmas season as my Christmas tree glistens next to me, 12 tribes, 12 princes, 12 gifts.

Although, this chapter is much more serious than that; a very important message to you and me today. As much as this chapter seems to repeat itself, one of my applications that I believe God was speaking to my heart is how much He notices what we give. Some of the princes, namely the very first two, gave the identical gift. God couldn’t have said, “The first two princes gave a silver platter?”No! He spends paragraphs/verses describing it.

Why? Because we bring Him gifts and He pays attention – He notices. This is convicting to me because I just adjusted my monthly budget and reduced my offering. After all, its Christmas, I just got my tax bill in the mail, I’m going to be moving at the end of the month and with moving comes additional expenses. I justified, to myself, that I would ramp up my offering after things settled down.

I realize this is my issue and I’m personalizing God’s message to my circumstances, but that’s the beauty of God’s Word. It’s how He speaks to each and every one of us. You can read chapter 7 and get something completely different. If you do, and He does, please share it if you are comfortable.

The message I have for this cold, Wisconsin, Monday morning is that God cares. He cares not only what we give, but in the spirit in which we give it. God will continue to bless our Christmas season, provide for our tax bill and incur the cost of a move. It’s my flesh the fears, tries to control and withhold from the LORD feeling as if I need to “take care of things.” If you are feeling anxious about finances this season, based on what God showed me today, I have to say, “Put your trust in the LORD!”

Sin Substitute

Slushy Mess

Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 6

My daughter and I were at Target on Saturday and she asked for a cherry slushy from their concession area. It was one of those self-serve stations and when the red liquid froze it eroded like a volcano all over her hand, the counter top and floor. She looked at me with big blue eyes and said, “Mom! It blew up!” I was feeling a bit embarrassed for her and overwhelmed by the messy project before us so I asked the cashier for her help. She came over with the most genial, light-hearted spirit and said, “No big deal, that happened to me once.” Bless her for her sweetness, she took the awkwardness out of the moment and even offered some humor amongst the mess.

She cleaned it up and gave us a new cup for a second chance. As she walked away I said, “Thank you for taking such good care of us.” Another woman, within range of my comment, gave me a very strange look. My look back at her must have been equally odd so she qualified her reaction with a statement, “I am sorry, I just had to see who said that because it is so unusual to hear someone be pleasant and complimentary these days.”

It is unfortunate that our retail and food service employees take such abuse from their customers, its even more unfortunate that it is uncommon to see someone treating them with dignity and respect. This story is timely, of course, because you know I’m going to make this story about our devotional this morning.  Isn’t there a parallel to what God is doing with the sin offering?
In chapter 6, the instructions are again given to the priests. The sin offering, which speaks of the work of Christ on the cross, was to be offered where the burnt offering was sacrificed. The burnt offering speaks of the person of Christ. Christ must be holy, harmless, and free from sin to be a satisfactory offering for sin. He must be able to save. This is why the virgin birth is essential in the plan of salvation. This is the One who was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin. The sin offering was holy because Christ was free from sin—though He was made sin for us. It was my sin and your sin that caused Him to die, not His sin. He didn’t die simply because He was arrested by the Romans. He could have stepped off this earth at any moment. He told Peter that He could call for legions of angels, if He wished to do so. He was made sin for us and He died in our place.

Just as we had a chance to make another slushy, God gave the Israelities a chance to right their wrongs. In verse 5 God tells Moses,  “Or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering.”

Jesus paid it all – even the restitution we could not pay. What a great perspective to start the week.