Two verses in the middle of the chapter prompted my heart and mind to ponder. Verses 12-13: The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.
Once the tabernacle was up and running it was to have a perpetual offering upon it. How they did this as they moved is a mystery to me. However, laying that tidbit aside, the idea of perpetually having fire burning and offering cooking drew me to thought.
There was always to be the aroma of devotion and praise rising up to the Lord. God is so worthy, that there should never be a moment when His praises are not being sent up to Him by His people. Never a moment! Animals to sacrifice was not a factor. Having wood to keep the fire going was not a factor. Priestly labor or the disposal of ashes was not a factor… God has given His word. Human unfaithfulness was the only potential disrupter… if the priests didn’t do what they were charged to do.
The idea of perpetuity stuck me… there are no fires anymore. There are no sacrifices any more. Jesus has offered the once for all sacrifice and we, His people, are to be perpetually praising Him by offering our lives in service to Him.
My prayers, and that of the church around the world, my good deeds (Matthew 5), my love for others, coupled with the same from saints everywhere… all of this is to be the constant perpetual aroma of praise rising to the Lord God Almighty always.
It took effort by the priest to see that the fires and offerings were perpetually burning. Am I employing the same diligence to see that my prayers, deeds and love are continually making praise ascend to my God in glory?
More pointedly will I live today in such a way that my life is praising God and will I do that tomorrow and the next and the next… perpetually until I am with saints in glory standing before the throne of God in eternity?
How about you? Is your life a perpetual praise offering to the Father, Son and Spirit? …
As the prayer of St Francis goes,
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy....
I pray in Jesus name. Amen