wave offering

Numbers 8:1-11

11 Aaron is to present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the Lord.

My choice of the book of Numbers was quite random this morning. I simply opened my bible to anywhere, and began to read. I skimmed over Numbers chapter 7, and it wasn’t until I got to wave offering in the 11th verse of chapter 8 that I was paused. I’d never heard of a wave offering. The only thing I could think of was the literal waving of a hand, as in going to the alter and waving at God.

I’m accustomed to this by now. I’ve been reading the Bible my whole life. So when I say pause I mean it was not a voluntary thing. I knew that God was bringing this to my attention. One verse that I’ve kept as a promise from God is,

John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 

What it’s always been to me is a promise that the Holy Spirit is my teacher, ever present. This pause is part of that ministry, part of the gift that the Holy Spirit is. Jesus promised to be with us always, through the Holy Spirit.

For now I have thought this over for today. And it will stay with me, like an unfinished work of Art. It’s like what my Art Teacher in High School, Randy Marchinko, used to tell us to do. Work on a project, but don’t be in a rush to get it done. Do what you can, then lay it aside. For a period of time let the painting or drawing hang on the wall, or put that sculpture over in a corner, but somewhere that you’ll always see it. This allows your mind ‘work on it’ while you go through your day to day activity. Some of this work is unconscious and some is conscious.

To be quite honest I don’t know where I end, and the Holy Spirit begins. I credit insight into spiritual truths to God’s work in me. This is something I am fascinated with, and long to know more about. I think that’s why the idea of a wave offering is so interesting to me.

Here’s some loose thoughts as I ponder this 11th verse of Numbers chapter 8.

  • Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1
    • notice both the Lord and the workman/watchman are both at work on the same thing
    • it’s like my not knowing where I end and God begins
  • Romans 12:1-2
    • Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
      • I’ve known these two verses for most of my life. The wording so closely matches the wording there in Numbers that it helps me at once to see what a wave offering is.
      • God is living and active in this world, and in my life

My prayer, my spoken word, my actions, all make an impact on my life. This reminds me of when Moses met God at the burning bush,

  • Exodus 3:2-5
    • There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

In the case of the Levites, they were being presented to God. They belonged to him, for his service, in the Temple. Their lives were not their own.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
    • Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
  • Galatians 2:20
    • I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Jesus, as we read in John’s gospel, said that everything HE said and did was what God the Father told him to say and do. He was our example.

I’m offered to God, but I’m still alive, and I’ll never be free from that fallen nature. The testing of what God’s will is spoken of in Romans 12 is a matter of sorting out my thoughts. It’s like having a group of ‘friends’ that I can’t shake. They’re always there muttering away, and when I’m in the right (or wrong) kind of mood I’ll actually go over and it’s like old times. But its a slippery slope to once more becoming a dope. The friends are influences of various kinds. Sorting out the voices in my head is even more a labour because of my battle with anxiety.

Lets look at a camp fire metaphor. There we all are, sitting around a camp fire late at night, and one of us says, “I know! Let’s go throw a rock through Dr. Cambell’s window!” and so we all go do that fantastically fun sounding idea and get into furious, serious trouble, maybe get beat up by the guard dog, or put in jail for the night, or any and while we’re all healing we beat up the idiot with the bright idea… but once were all healed, and forgetful, and bored, sitting around a camp fire, the same idiot speaks up… “I know, lets…” and that’s as far as he gets… “SHUT UP!”, we all say in unison.

I cannot really get rid of all those voices in my head, but I don’t have to listen to them. Soon I begin to more easily discern God’s voice amoungst them, and I trust that one. Knowing God’s voice becomes second nature.

  • Hebrews 5:11-14
    • We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

BUT in real life, friends of mine in some form or another do this. My own children, go off on their own, eventually, to do their own thing. I don’t go along with them. Knowing how to indicate to them that I disagree with the direction they’re going in, while still being at peace with them can be difficult. Doing so with friends can be even more difficult. Especially if they are Christian friends.

So I am, in fact, still in a metaphor when I say, if some of my friends listen to one of my other friends and head off into trouble, maybe next time they’ll have learned their lesson, and stay here around the boring glow of a roaring fire, with me. I hope, also, that when I’m heading back to the camp fire, after having left my friends on my own trip away from God’s perfect will, that they are there waiting there for me, with a cup of tea, maybe, and in time, loving reflection, and forgiveness.

Eheh… yeah