1610.) Numbers 15

Jewish man wearing a prayer shawl with tassels at each corner.

Jewish man wearing a prayer shawl with tassels at each corner.

Numbers 15   (CEV)

Laws about Sacrifices

1The LORD told Moses 2to give the Israelites the following laws about offering sacrifices:

Israel was at one of its lowest points in history. It had just rebelliously rejected God’s offer to bring the nation into the Promised Land. God had consigned them to wander in the wilderness for 38 years, until the unbelieving generation had perished in the wilderness and a new generation of faith would take the Promised Land. Yet, immediately after this stinging rebellion and the chastisement from the Lord, Israel received precious tokens of God’s mercy, care, and help to Israel.

–David Guzik

3Bulls or rams or goats  are the animals that you may burn on the altar as burnt offering sacrifices to please me.  You may also offer sacrifices voluntarily or because you made a promise, or because they are part of your regular religious ceremonies. The smell of the smoke from these sacrifices is pleasing to me.

15. gardenia

Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful fragrance of, among other things,  gardenias!

Genesis 8:20-21 (NIV)

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.  The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though  every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Philippians 4:18 (ESV)

I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

4-5If you sacrifice a young ram or goat, you must also offer two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of olive oil as a grain sacrifice. A quart of wine must also be poured on the altar.

Part of the offering included flour . . .

Part of the offering included flour . . .

6-7And if the animal is a full-grown ram, you must offer four pounds of flour mixed with one and a half quart of olive oil. One and a half quarts of wine must also be poured on the altar. The smell of this smoke is pleasing to me.

. . . mixed with olive oil . . .

. . . mixed with olive oil . . .

8If a bull is offered as an offering of well-being, as a sacrifice to please me or to ask my blessing,  9you must offer six pounds of flour mixed with two quarts of olive oil. 10Two quarts of wine must also be poured on the altar. The smell of this smoke is pleasing to me. 11-13If you are a native Israelite, you must obey these rules each time you offer a bull, a ram, or a goat as a sacrifice. 14And the foreigners who live among you must also follow these rules. 15-16This law will never change. I am the LORD, and I consider all people the same, whether they are Israelites or foreigners living among you.

Everyone who made a sacrifice had to bring it with the thanksgiving of grain and the joy of wine; God did not want grudging, griping sacrifices brought to Him. If one could not serve the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2), then God didn’t want his service at all.

–David Guzik

. . . in addition to some wine.

. . . in addition to some wine.

17-19When you eat food in the land that I am giving you, remember to set aside some of it as an offering to me. 20From the first batch of bread dough that you make after each new grain harvest, make a loaf of bread and offer it to me, just as you offer grain. 21All your descendants must follow this law and offer part of the first batch of bread dough.

22-23The LORD also told Moses to tell the people what must be done if they ever disobey his laws:

24If all of you disobey one of my laws without meaning to, you must offer a bull as a sacrifice to please me, together with a grain sacrifice, a wine offering, and a goat as a sacrifice for sin. 25Then the priest will pray and ask me to forgive you. And since you did not mean to do wrong, and you offered sacrifices, 26the sin of everyone–both Israelites and foreigners among you–will be forgiven.

27But if one of you does wrong without meaning to, you must sacrifice a year-old female goat as a sacrifice for sin. 28The priest will then ask me to forgive you, and your sin will be forgiven.

Sin — even if committed with the best of intentions — is still sin. Do we excuse or ignore our own sins, thinking that they aren’t so bad because we meant well? Better to confess and be forgiven and renewed in holy living!

29The law will be the same for anyone who does wrong without meaning to, whether an Israelite or a foreigner living among you.

30-31But if one of you does wrong on purpose, whether Israelite or foreigner, you have sinned against me by disobeying my laws. You will be sent away and will no longer live among the people of Israel.

Psalm 19:12-13 (NIV)

Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

A Man Put to Death for Gathering Firewood on the Sabbath


“The Sabbath Breaker Stoned”  by James Tissot, 1900 (Jewish Museum, New York)

32Once, while the Israelites were traveling through the desert, a man was caught gathering firewood on the Sabbath.  33He was taken to Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the community. 34But no one knew what to do with him, so he was not allowed to leave. 35Then the LORD said to Moses, ” Tell the people to take that man outside the camp and stone him to death!” 36So he was killed, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

The Tassels on the People’s Clothes

The Lord commanded a fringe religion!

The Lord commanded a fringe religion!  To obey this command, some Jews wear a four-cornered prayer shawl, called a tallit, with tassels at each corner, during certain services.

37The LORD told Moses 38to say to the people of Israel, ” Sew tassels onto the bottom edge of your clothes and tie a purple string to each tassel. 39-40These will remind you that you must obey my laws and teachings. And when you do, you will be dedicated to me and won’t follow your own sinful desires. 41I am the LORD your God who led you out of Egypt.”

God is so concrete and practical! Our very clothing is to remind us of who he is and therefore encourage us to behave as his obedient children.



What I do, what I think, what I say, what I wear, who I am —  HERE  is “All to Jesus I Surrender.”


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:
man wearing prayer shawl.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/15-jewish-man-wearing-prayer-shawl.jpg?w=450
gardenias.    http://kalihiunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Gardenias.jpg
flour.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/860bf-flour.jpg
olive oil.   https://salutwineco.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/heart_healthy_secrets_olive_oil_v-708152.jpg
wine.  http://www.oralhealthgroup.com/MktgImages/science%20daily/201405271438460rlbvplnyj5lqmxnyn1trcz55.jpg
Tissot.     http://urpaint.com/images/James-Tissot/The-Sabbath-Breaker-Stoned_James-Tissot_Symbolism_religious-painting.jpg
tallit.   http://www.rockfordmessianic.com/Tallit%20-%20bl&gd%20w.techelet.jpg

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