Saturday, October 8, 2022

Numbers 28:3–10 and the Morning+Evening Worship Pattern. Daily in our homes. Double on the Lord's Day.

“And you shall say to them, ‘This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs in their first year without blemish, day by day, as a regular burnt offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, the other lamb you shall offer in the evening, and one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil. It is a regular burnt offering which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord. And its drink offering shall be one-fourth of a hin for each lamb; in a holy place you shall pour out the drink to the Lord as an offering. The other lamb you shall offer in the evening; as the morning grain offering and its drink offering, you shall offer it as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

‘And on the Sabbath day two lambs in their first year, without blemish, and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering, mixed with oil, with its drink offering—10 this is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering with its drink offering.
Numbers 28:3–10

Daily evening and morning rest during creation
One of the things that we recently saw in the “Biblical Theology of the Diaconate” series at Hopewell is that the interconnection between work-service and worship-service began even before day 7 of the creation (which, incidentally, was the first full day of Adam’s—and especially his wife’s—life).

Each day, there was an evening time and a morning time that were distinct from the creation-work times. So also, the pattern holds up for us in God’s creational ordering of things that we physically need an evening time to wind down and a morning time to warm up.

Daily morning and evening worship for God’s people
And those who live in fellowship with God find that these are important times for worship as well. This holds true not only for our individual/private/secret worship but also for set times of leading our children “when you rise up and when you lie down.”

Weekly morning and evening worship on the Sabbath
Now here, in Numbers 28, we see the connection between these daily set times and the entire day that God had consecrated and blessed for the same purpose. In vv3–8, we see the lamb-in-the-morning and lamb-in-the-evening pattern that belongs to every day. Then in vv9–10, we see that this is doubled on the consecrated and blessed Day.

“How much more so” in the age of the Lamb
We no longer offer lambs, because the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world now sits upon the throne. But, we know that the Lord’s pattern of coming to God through the Lamb, morning and evening, every day holds true.

For those of us who can see the obvious connection of resting from work in the creation (Gen 2); to the corporate observation of that in holy convocation of resting from work as a church/state (Ex 20/Deu 5); to the anticipated revival of resting from work in order to be trained in Lord-delight in the time of the Servant (Isa 56, 58); to the realization of that in the resting from work for the Sabbtah-keeping that remains on the Lord’s Day as an anticipation when we finally rest from all works in this world (Heb 3–4, Rev 1)…

What does our individual/family morning and evening Lord’s Day practice look like?
This passage (Num 3:9–10) challenges us. Do we know that God has consecrated the Lord’s Day? Do we know that God has blessed it? Do we know that the instructions given here anticipate something more full and more blessed in the age of the Servant Who is the Lamb? Then, let us purpose to have a double coming to God through the Lamb in the morning and a double coming to God through the Lamb in the evening every Lord’s Day.

May the Lord bless it unto richer daily practice for us. Which He blesses unto richer weekly practice. Which He blesses unto still richer daily. And so may the virtuous cycle continue until He brings us at last into that rest that Christ has won for us, when we cease from our works in this world as He Himself has done.

p.s. Though the sacrifice times had an important personal aspect (n.b. Daniel’s continuing to keep them after 70 years in Babylon, cf. Dan 9:21) as applied above, the sacrifices themselves were offered corporately, and this has important implications for morning and evening corporate worship (cp. the introduction of the Spirit-titled “Psalm for the Sabbath” in Ps 92:1–2) for the church. 

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