I’m not sure how it started, but we have a playful competition among me and my sisters when it comes to gift-giving. If I put $25 in a birthday card for one of the kids, one sister might put $26 in hers, and another sister might give $26.50. I’ve been known to pull out my wallet and throw an additional $5 at a nephew if a sister out-gave me just so I will be the “good” aunt. One time, I was the highest gift-giver by a penny in a card to our dad.
Silly, I know. But we always get a good laugh out of it. And my nieces and nephews just shake their heads and roll their eyes.
Reading Numbers 7 is repetitious. I could have condensed this chapter to about six verses:
Every tribe gave exactly the same thing when it was their day to bring the sacrifices to the temple: one silver dish…”
However, God inspired the writer of the book to repeat the identical list twelve times. It’s tempting, because they are all the same, to skim over 90% of this chapter. Yet God wanted it to be written this way.
So I read every word this morning. And when I did I thought about my family’s little competition. It occurred to me that there can be no competition when we come to the Lord.
God leveled the playing field so no one can say they are the “good” child for bringing more. God says ALL have sinned. God says no one comes to Him except through His Son Jesus. God says unless a man is born again he will not see heaven.
Here’s what God expects of us, what He demands we give Him: everything!
We must all empty ourselves in humility, confess our sins, and ask Him to forgive us by the blood of Jesus. We can’t buy our way into redemption with money or talent or good intentions. And someone isn’t more saved than another by virtue of the level of their sacrifice.
And, here is what I love about the seventh chapter in Numbers. God accepted every sacrifice equally, whether given the first day or the twelfth. It tells me that today, every time a sinner repents, even if he’s the 1,000 sinner redeemed in a day, God accepts that soul with as much joy and love as though he or she were the only one.
So the winner is us. It’s we who have received God’s gift of salvation through Jesus. It’s those of us who have emptied ourselves and allowed God Himself to fill us up. I am the apple of God’s eye. But so are you, if you know Him. And we both received His forgiveness exactly the same way.