The Need For A Sacrifice
A daily devotion for August 21st
30 "We promise not to give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us or take their daughters for our sons.
31 "When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts.
32 "We assume the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the bread set out on the table; for the regular grain offerings and burnt offerings; for the offerings on the Sabbaths, New Moon festivals and appointed feasts; for the holy offerings; for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel; and for all the duties of the house of our God.
We assume the responsibility. For the holy offerings; for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel; and for all the duties of the house of our God. (Nehemiah 10:32-33)
The people recognized the need for offerings and sacrifices. The history of Israel clearly reveals that this nation emphasized shedding the blood of animals and offering up their crops and grain to God. By so doing they were never allowed to forget the cost of redemption. Blood shed means a death has occurred. God is teaching His people that their problem with sin within is of such a serious nature it cannot be solved by merely instructing the mind. Only death can cure it.
These bloody offerings prepared the way for the death of Jesus and even our remembrance of that death at the Lord's table. We ought to meditate on this every day. We should never allow ourselves to forget the cost of our redemption. It took all that God had to open a door that we might return to Him. As Peter put it,
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Very closely related to the blood offerings was the promise of these people to bring the firstfruits of their crops, herds, flocks, and even their sons to God. What they were doing was recognizing the ownership and rights of God in their lives. A corresponding truth for us today is,
You are not your own; you were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a). God owns us. We do not own ourselves. The world says,
You are your own. If you are pregnant and you do not want the baby, you can kill it, because you have a right to do what you please with your own body. But the Bible says,
No, you are not your own. You do not have a right to do anything you like with the body God gave you.
This is true in other aspects of life as well. We are not our own. We have no right to determine what we are going to do with our lives or even whom we are going to marry, apart from God's limitations. We have certain choices granted to us, but not all choices. One of the important aspects of becoming a Christian is to recognize the rights of God and to live our lives within the limits He establishes. This is what this great passage is teaching. It is the way by which Israel recognized frequently and continually that their lives were not their own. They too
were bought with a price. They belonged to God. He has the right to direct their affairs and make many choices for them.
Thank You, Lord, for this reminder that I am not my own; I have been bought with a price. I surrender my life to You, knowing that You have redeemed me with the precious blood of Christ.
Life Application: Can we daily and joyfully choose to sacrifice our will for His will? Do all of our choices reflect the ownership rights of the Lord Jesus who bought us at infinite cost?
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