Friday, January 18, 2008

What Can We Offer?

by Kathy Lay

This Week’s Verse: Exodus 29:24—“…and you shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD.” (NKJV)

On a Clint Brown CD we have there's an intro to a song called “Holy, Righteous” in which Clint spontaneously sings direction to the congregation: “…give Him a wave offering in this house.” I always thought that was kind of a neat idea and I could picture the crowd erupting into a wave for God that would rival any found in professional sports complexes. Who, after all, is more worthy of a mighty wave?

So imagine my surprise when I found that the wave offering is actually Biblical! (It wasn’t that I thought Clint just made it up, but I never remembered reading about it before!) There are many Old Testament verses that explain the wave offering along with all the other types of offerings the Israelites were to bring to the priests to present to God. If this is a new concept for you too, allow me to submit Exhibit A:

Exodus 29:24—“Place all of these [fat and organs from a ram and bread] in the open hands of Aaron and his sons who will wave them before God, a Wave-Offering. Then take them from their hands and burn them on the Altar with the Whole-Burnt-Offering—a pleasing fragrance before God, a gift to God.” (MSG)

I love the concept of the wave! When we wave it's to acknowledge someone or to get their attention, right? Have you ever felt alone, inadequate, or in need of God's touch? During those times, don’t you just want to stand on the roof top, wave like crazy, and shout “God, here I am! Right here! Can't you see me? I need you!” As the above verse would indicate, when we expose our inner-most vulnerabilities, it’s “a pleasing fragrance before God”—a gift to Him.

Exhibit B:
Exodus 35:22—“All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD.” (NIV)

Precious gold, beautiful ornamentation. I’m sure the Israelites liked their bling as much as we do. And yet they were willing to give it up in a wave offering. What precious blessing has the Lord has given you that you can now give back to Him? And let me just say right here that if you feel you have nothing to offer, you couldn't be more wrong. You just haven't discovered what it is yet. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” If you’re unclear as to what your gift is, perhaps a spiritual inventory (see Application below) can help you identify it.

So what CAN you wave before Him that’s as precious to him as pure gold? Do you inspire others? Are you good at listening and showing mercy? Can you provide a kind word to a worn-out sales clerk or a shout of praise in the midst of the mundane? All of those are precious offerings in the Lord’s sight.

Then there’s Exhibit C:
Leviticus 8:27-28— “He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons and waved them before the LORD as a wave offering. Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering as an ordination offering, a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire.” (NIV)

In many of the wave offering references, the waving of the sacrifice preceded placing it in the fire. First, wave. Second, fire. I can’t help but see a parallel with our sacrifices too. First we wave in acknowledgement that He is sovereign, He is worthy, He is our Redeemer who has our best interests at heart, then his Holy fire lights us into action…

Check it out—Exhibit D:
Numbers 8:11—“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.” (NIV) Mmm Hmm! Moving into action! Are you ready to do the work of the Lord?

What we learn from the detailed offering descriptions is that when they were presented according to God’s plan and with pure hearts, they were pleasing and fragrant sacrifices to the Lord. It’s no different for us. So the question is, what can you offer Him? What can we all, as the corporate body of Christ, offer Him? Let’s submit our very best and join together for a unified, colossal wave offering to our Father.

Father God, You tell us in Hosea 6:6 that You “desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Thank you for that! And yet You still offer glimpses about your will for us today in reading about the offerings of our Old Testament brothers and sisters. Thank you for allowing us to come straight to you with the offerings we bring. May they be pleasing to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If you’re already offering your gifts to God, press on, Sister! But if you’re unclear about what your gifts and talents are, click to do an on-line spiritual gifts inventory (or google "spiritual gifts test" for lots of other choices). Pray that God will direct you in how to serve Him.

Power Verses:
Re-read the above verses and meditate on how they relate today for you under the New Covenant.

No comments: