The closing chapters of Numbers are filled with additional instructions about various types of offerings and vows. Chapter 28 begins: “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Command the people of Israel and say to them, My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time’” (28:1-2). God is very clear and precise in his instructions to his people. The Pharisees took the good instructions of God, added many of their own demands, and heaped them upon their followers making lives miserable. God’s laws were never meant to make our lives hard as if we have to run around, daily worrying about the divine ledger. Yes, God expects us to obey him; but that’s the thing, isn’t it? We are to obey HIM, and his instructions are good and life-giving.
Do you remember how the apostle John wrote in his first epistle: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3)? And what of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11: “In making his appeal for people to follow him, he gave this reason: ‘For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light’” (Matthew 11:30)? And, oh my, hear Paul’s encouragement: “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4). It’s a good day to walk with the Lord in his commandments and to enjoy the life he has given us.
How gentle God’s commands!
How kind His precepts are!
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord,
And trust His constant care.
Why should this anxious load
Press down your weary mind?
Haste to your heavenly Father’s throne,
And sweet refreshment find. -- Philip Doddridge (1755)