When we went up to Yuendumu, most nights after dinner, we would all sit outside, around the fire pit that is a necessity in every home up there. The nights were refreshing and the fire burned bright, as we took time to reflect on life and share fellowship with one another. When we came home, we fashioned a fire pit in our back yard, not an easy feat, as we have covered almost every square foot of our property with trees and shrubs, and couldn’t find a place easily that would not catch a tree alight if we allowed the fire to get out of control. We did make a fire pit, used it about twice, and haven’t used it since. But we wanted to catch the sense of fellowship and sharing we had experienced around the pit.
This thought reminded me of the purpose of the altar of the burn offerings. The burnt offerings of the people varied in meaning and purpose, but all were a way of enabling fellowship with the Lord possible. To have fellowship with the Lord, one must be cleansed, and there needs to be a meeting place. All these things are blueprinted by the Lord, in preparation for the fellowship that would be enabled, continually. And these things were beautifully made; places of beauty, and places where mere human beings would be awestruck with wonder at the surroundings, and at their ability to be in relationship; in fellowship, with the Lord, who travelled with them, day and night. The materials were rich and splendid; what you would expect to have in the presence of the ‘King of kings and Lord of Lords’. At the end of this passage we have the list of the amount of materials that were used to create this wonderment. These materials were the offering of the people who wanted so much to give glory and honour to the Lord who had rescued them from slavery, and enabled them to come with the riches of the people of Egypt, to dedicate to the service of their Lord.
Hebrews 10 declares of the sacrificial system: “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he (Jesus) said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. We have continual access into the Lord’s presence, by Jesus perfect holy sacrifice, and through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
With that in mind, the Hebrew writer continues “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Take time to consider how you are going with this continual sacrifice of praise.