The Continual

“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. With the one lamb shall be one-tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. And the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; and you shall offer with it the grain offering and the drink offering, as in the morning, for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord. This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you.“. Exodus 29:38-42

When I was a boy I remember being very fearful of coming to my parents to tell them about mistakes I’d made, or things I done intentionally, that I knew would upset or disappoint them. The reason for my fear was the knowledge that some sort of punishment was going to be afflicted upon me. My impression was that it didn’t matter how big or little the mistake or infraction had been the consequence was always the same. Part of the problem was also the fact that I was always making mistakes and doing things wrong so the frequency for punishment was quite often and the frequency with which I was given praise and told that I was loved was comparatively infrequent.

Please don’t think that my parents were unloving. I’m speaking of my memories of feelings i had when I was a child. Even for adults our feelings don’t always match reality; for a child, that understands far less, our feelings are often not in sync with the reality in which we live. This seems to be especially true in the homes where there are loving parents.

God took special effort to make sure that the message of his love and forgiveness was always present for the children of Israel. Continually an offering was upon the alter, its smoke rising up before the tabernacle, telling the people that forgiveness was always available if they would turn to God and confess their sins and claim the atonement made by the life and blood of the lamb.

This offering wasn’t created by the fear of the sinner in a hope that by offering it he, or she, would be protected from the anger of God and forgiven. No, this offering was created by our loving and forgiving, Heavenly Father in the hope that, if we should sin, we would remember that there is an offering on the alter, one which our Father commanded would always be offered there, so that we could know that love and forgiveness is always available for us.

Our Heavenly Father has sealed the guarantee of his love and acceptance in the life, death and resurrection of his own Son. And this isn’t just something that happened long ago. Hebrews 7:25 tells us, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Jesus continually reminds us of the Father’s love for us and the forgiveness he’s ready to give even before we’ve sinned or asked for forgiveness.

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