Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, October 31, 2017
This is devotional thought number 48 in our devotional series, “Removing the Veil: Sanctuary Living in the 21st Century.”
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give Aaron and his sons the following instructions regarding the burnt offering. The burnt offering must be left on top of the altar until the next morning, and the fire on the altar must be kept burning all night. In the morning, after the priest on duty has put on his official linen clothing and linen undergarments, he must clean out the ashes of the burnt offering and put them beside the altar. Then he must take off these garments, change back into his regular clothes, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. Meanwhile, the fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must never go out. Each morning the priest will add fresh wood to the fire and arrange the burnt offering on it. He will then burn the fat of the peace offerings on it. Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out” (Leviticus 6:8–13, NLT).
Continual Fire. Continual Grace.
God is good! Can you say that in your mind with me? God is good! How good is He? Let’s see if we can get an idea from our theme passage for today.
So, the Bible is taking us back for another look at the burnt offering. We have seen where individuals would come into the camp/worship environment with an offering in Leviticus 1. The priests also burnt offerings and kept the kindling going around the clock, according to God’s command. We talked about how this could be useful to those who committed sins ignorantly, and thus were not yet able to offer sin offerings. The continual fire could be an allusion to God’s grace during our times of ignorance. Job gave burnt offerings on behalf of his children in case they sinned foolishly. This is all wonderful, and there is much to learn here if we drill down deeply enough.
Today I am intrigued by a few new things as we circle back for another look: First, a facet of the continual nature of this offering could easily be applied to our daily lives. In it, we see that there was a process involving the evening time. Do you have evening worship? Likewise, there is a process regarding the morning. Are you worshipping God in the morning? Then, there’s the continual aspect. Is your life worshipful before the Lord? This is a simple takeaway with immeasurable impact. Reserve special times for morning and evening worship, and top it all off with a whole life dedication to God, continually.
Is Your All On the Altar?
Second, we see a miraculous cooperation between God and humanity. It is common knowledge that God is the one who provides the fire. According to Leviticus 9:24 and several other stories in Scripture including the incident with Elijah on Mt. Carmel. After all, the priests were not lighting matches, pouring kerosene oil, or flicking lighters to get the fires going.? For years, the Lord Himself provided the flames for the altar of burnt offering. However, the priests had to add fresh wood and remove ashes all throughout the process. This means that the priests had to make sure they kept their duty schedules and shifts in order, because the fire absolutely must not go out. That’s cooperation with God. Our God will provide the power and zeal for us to continue to live and work for Him, but we must do our part. We must continually place our all on the altar for God’s supernatural power to ignite for the days, weeks, months, and years until He comes.
Fire of Great Relationships
Finally, the Bible says that the priests were to burn the fat of the peace and fellowship offerings on the altar too. Could it be that we need ever to be commemorating unity with God and unity with fellow believers? Isn’t it important that we never allow the fires of commitment to unity under the banner of our Creator to go out? Could it be that God is continually purifying us as long as we are willing to cooperate with Him? Yes! Indeed!
There is so much truth resident in the old testament sanctuary principles that we must not forget. If the sanctuary was a good enough training tool for the ancient Israelites who only had access to the symbols, how much more beneficial would our review be with the fulness of our knowledge of Jesus Christ? Keep the fire of great relationship with God, and service to humanity going until Jesus comes, by His grace.