Numbers 28 is all about offerings and how they are to be given and time is to be used. God comes to Moses and asks him to “command my people”. Note that this isn’t just suggested behavior – it is commanded. Why is God so specific about how His people were to offer thanks and make atonement for sin. Very specific, very detailed, very important. It wasn’t optional – it was directed.
Why is it important? This gets to the heart of the reality that all of the things in our world, and even those we may lay claim to as ours, really are not. They all belong to God. We are merely taking care of what He has entrusted to us. When God requires some of His stuff to be sacrificed and given back – it isn’t that He is taking from us – it is that He is reclaiming what He already owns. We often lose sight of that reality – He already owns it all. We are mere stewards of what He has.
In this chapter we find God commanding offerings “in the morning….at twilight….on the Sabbath…..at the beginnings of your months…..at feasts….throughout the months”. It is an ongoing way of living. God expected His people to give regularly – to return to Him that which He already owns. It is a matter of remembering that. It is a way to put God first. We often think that giving is such a sacrifice. It really isn’t – because God already owns it. We are simply returning that which He has blessed us to be able to use for a while. And He always gives us far more than we returned.
The other area that is key here is what to give. Not the blemished and left overs. God requires the best and the “firstfruits”. He wants us to give first. Far too often today we give some of what is left after we spend the rest on ourselves. Giving should be the other way around. We give to God first based on what He directs and live on the rest. A big part of the direction here involves time too. Sometimes we tend to think throwing a few bucks in the offering plate or going online to type in our credit card number takes care of it. But God is all about our giving from who we are as well as what we have. Time can actually be the biggest gift we can give. He required a lot of that to be given and committed here. God first, work – well it was not to happen. “You shall not do any ordinary work”. What a change that would make in our families and churches today – if we truly gave God our time, energy and attention to be used for His ministry and our leadership in the home. It is His design!