Day 30

Offerings, Festivals, and Laws

from the reading plan

Numbers 28:1-31, Numbers 29:1-40, Numbers 30:1-16, Hebrews 10:1-10

I once heard a pastor-theologian say, “Freedom isn’t the absence of restraints but the presence of the right ones.” That line has always stuck with me. While I was at physical therapy recently, a quote on a graffiti-covered back wall read, “Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you most want.”

These two quotes share a common theme: they emphasize that true freedom is often attained through making choices that align with a person’s purpose. Without the presence of definition or structure, we cannot truly become who we are meant to be. 

As I read through Numbers 28–30 today, I observed the same principle at play. While I was reading through the chapters, I couldn’t help but think that the people of God truly valued their festivals and feasts. However, as I delved into the details, all the specific dates, days, times of the month, burnt offerings, various drink and food-related offerings, and the requirement to abstain from ordinary work, it became clear that these offerings and abstentions were not mere acts of duty. Instead, they were celebrations of what the people had been saved from—and who had saved them—to become who they were meant to be.

Each individual offering, feast, and law carried with it the weight of a decision (and a story), leaving a mark in the present that reflected on the past (e.g., the Passover, wilderness wanderings) and shaped their future. Reading the dates, days, and details proved to be rhythmic; the rhythms of the feasts, offerings, and sacrifices set the movements of the people daily, monthly, and yearly. It was like the cadence and steps of a waltz. Each specific offering represented a step, and each feast was like the chords composing the music. When the cadence and steps are in sync, the people of God can joyfully experience all that life has to offer, reveling in the composition and choreography and dancing with delight at the work of God has done for them.

As I reflect on the significance of the feasts, offerings, and festivals in the life of Israel, I can’t help but see them as a foreshadowing of the good things to come in the context of modern Christianity (Hebrews 10:1). I see the Church being shaped through Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Practices like baptism, communion, and the regular gatherings of the Church on Sundays shape us into the likeness of Jesus. All of these rhythms can provide us with the right restraints that enable us to celebrate true freedom in Him.

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