Raw Material – January 12, 2019

“As I understand it, the “wave” of a sacrificial object was a way to present it to God.” John Oakes
A wave offering would present something to God (such as a portion of meat or bread), and essentially say, “This is Yours, God.” The nation came before God, and essentially said, “These Levites belong to You, LORD.” David Guzik
Reading in the book of Numbers this morning for my Bible reading I felt a bit guilty. Was it guilt? Not doing what I SHOULD do or what I USUALLY do… that was the kind of guilty I mean. But, I proceeded, the same kind of attitude that I have when I’m mindlessly browsing through video’s on YouTube. By browsing I mean I click on the suggestions there on the page when I open it’s website. Guided by my past choices, and their agenda, and if I understood alogarithms enough to even be able to spell the word properly I’d mention that to.
Why was I reading my Bible. A little voice in my head reminded me that my friend, Angie Ferreira, had asked me if I read the verse of the day (from the YouVersion app) and she continued to point out there are also daily reading plans. I had something else on my mind at the time, but the little seed had been planted, and I believe the Holy Spirit to be at the bottom of it – the seed was the thought that my daily routine did not include simple bible reading anymore.
I’ve become like the one’s who so quickly turns me off. I am become a person who is reading the bible so that I can tell other people what it means, by-passing what it means to me at times. Doing the very thing I don’t believe in. I feel shame as I type this. I feel that I am going to back space over it. LOL!
So, this morning I plodded on. I randomly opened my bible to Numbers chapter seven. “Offerings at the Dedication of the Tabernacle” – it’s a listing of what each of the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel brought. I read one, and then another… ok, I skimmed one, and then skimmed another… and noticed that they are the same offerings. Is this them imitating one another? How like me to right away implicate myself, by criticizing these men that I knew nothing. I am weary of myself. I shrugged my shoulders
and moved on in my reading. As I read chapter eight, something caught my eye.
I was literally half invested in this devotion. Cheryl had already come downstairs and was chattering away in her ‘small child’ like way about stuff in the news that she read from her NEWS1130 app on her little iPhone, her coffee beside her, getting cold (her version of this is that she’s waiting for it to cool off)
sfd – this was a random grouping of letters to hold the next line place while I clicked on the above paragraph to indent it. In otherwords I was violating, as I am now, the process Anne Lamott calls SFD’s… unconscious mind reaching out to mildly correct me?
I guess I should be

…there’s 89 verses in Numbers 7: to thumb past.

setting apart of the Levites
make them clean
to do this… sprinkle the water of cleansing on them… etc
verse 11 Aaron is to present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering…

I’d never heard of a wave offereing before. Seeing something in the bible I haven’t ever seen before is a novelty to me. I’m an arrogant puffed up person STRIKE THROUGH i stopped right there… and took my phone out of airplane mode to look up wave offerings.
A response to texts I’d sent to my son in law, Andre, who lives in Portugal with my daughter, Cherish, was there… four of them. The WhatsApp icon had a beautiful red four taped to it. I looked at his response… sent him a response, and moved on through my morning.
I asked my wife to get her bible. She took out a kitchen knife and waved it in front of me telling me to get my cotton pickin’ hands off her morning… OR she mournfully told me she just wanted to drink her coffee, fine! Have YOUR version of things! you weren’t even here! How would you know! She’s a manace that needs to be stopped! The heathen!

So, I looked again at the book of Numbers 8:1-11

The Seven Lamps
8 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.” 3 And Aaron did so: he set up its lamps in front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses. 4 And this was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
Cleansing of the Levites
5 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. 7 Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification upon them, and let them go with a razor over all their body, and wash their clothes and cleanse themselves. 8 Then let them take a bull from the herd and its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another bull from the herd for a sin offering. 9 And you shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting and assemble the whole congregation of the people of Israel. 10 When you bring the Levites before the Lord, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the Lord.

And I’m off and running… and I’ve hit GOLD in a couple of respects. I now have the verses I need for Wednesday night’s Home Group and something to meditate on in the meantime. And an incite into my blog.

Guzik’s commentary, simple as it is, on the Wave Offering interests me profoundly, but this also smells of God’s usual fashion with me. It flows into the other things that he’s been teaching me of late.
I’m convinced God uses us, and leads us, patiently regardless of our ways. SHOULDS are culturally, socially, familialally imposed things that are different from intrinsic guilt. Intrinsic guilt is something that comes from what we did that is bad in and of itself, not a matter of debate or opinion.

Another allusion that
A Living Sacrifice
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]
Gifts of Grace
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

One of the many themes of late in God’s work in me is OBEDIENCE and PREPARATION – Be prepared! Be Ready!

Angie’s prompting about and/or question about ‘what is it to be fruitful’
– John 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

Robert’s reaction to 2 Peter
– was to see things from the vantage point of the things he needed to WORK AT to keep from being ineffective in his faith
Nina’s reaction to 2 Peter
– was to talk about submitting to God
Art’s response to reading 2 Peter was
– to wonder if he was even a Christian
– As we shared, he was admonished, indirectly, because he hadn’t even shared his mind yet, by both Nina and Robert’s reaction to the same scripture.

As I pondered what a wave offering was the first thing that came to me is the literal WAVE of the hand… going to the alter and waving at God. Talk about cultural distance. Talk about trying to interpret the bible according to our own understanding.
Then I thought of my wife a few minutes earlier waving a kitchen knife at me in response to asking her to get her bible (the passive request being, “do some bible reading with me”)
Then I finally looked up and began meditating on the WAVE offering.
This can take a few minutes, or many years, I never know. But in this case it flows into what God has already been talking to us about as a group.
We offer ourselves to GOD… as a living sacrifice.
In the case of the Levites, they were being presented to God. They belonged to him, in his service, in the Temple. Their lives were not their own. Their lives were lived out in obedience to what God told them to do.
Very random arbitrary sounding things like “take off your shoes, for you are on Holy ground”

But as I wonder at that I am awfully aware of the fact that our Sovereign God is the one who uttered these requirements. My temptation to MOCK ends there. My respect for the Bible as God’s word is too great to entertain that thought
– my thoughts are to be tested
– weighed
– thoughts held captive to his will
– they are not my thoughts until I own them. Once I discern from whence they came I can make a decision to confess them as sin, evidenc of my fallen nature still being alive in me, I’m still alive, and I’ll never be free from that fallen nature. I just don’t have keep listening to his dumb ideas. 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.
Like the friend who says, all of us sitting around a camp fire late at night, “I know! Let’s go throw a rock through Dr. Cambell’s window!” and so we all go do that fantastic idea and get into furious, serious trouble, 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 think that’s what it looks like to God. Sure, I should maybe have a better group of friends to hang around, but these are the only boys in town. I cannot really avoid hanging around them, but I don’t have to listen to them… in fact, if some of my friends listen 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. Eheh… yeah, I live in a camp ground where fire’s are legal 24 7 365

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.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children[a] of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate

19 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; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (I Corinthians 6)

John 8:28 New International Version (NIV)
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up[a] the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.