Close Enough

Daily Bible CoverIf you haven’t read much in the Old Testament, you may be wondering why parts of it are even in the Bible.  It would be easy to say who cares about all this stuff.  There is so much detail.  It seems like a lot of work.  In fact, you could be saying to yourself, why is this stuff so important?  As I was reading our passage for today and saw the precise repetition it reminded me of the Christmas carol, A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE.  Only this song, sung to the same melody as the partridge song would go like this. On the first day of giving Nahshon brought to Moses, one beautiful silver plate.

On the second day of giving Nethanel brought to Moses, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the third day of giving Eliab brought to Moses, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver    sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the fourth day of giving Elizur brought to Moses, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the fifth day of giving Shelumial brought to Moses, one……young……bull, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the sixth day of giving Eliasaph brought to Moses, exactly one ram, one……young……bull, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the seventh day of giving Elishama brought to Moses, one male lamb, exactly one ram, one……young……bull, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the eighth day of giving Gamaliel brought to Moses, one male goat, one male lamb, exactly one ram, one……young……bull, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the ninth day of giving Abiden brought to Moses, two oxen, one male goat, one male lamb, exactly one ram, one……young……bull, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the tenth day of giving Aheizer brought to Moses, five lovely rams, two oxen, one male goat, one male lamb, exactly one ram, one……young……bull, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the eleventh day of giving Pagiel brought to Moses, five male goats, five lovely rams, two oxen, one male goat, one male lamb, exactly one ram, one……young……bull, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

On the twelfth day of giving Ahira brought to Moses, five male lambs, five male goats, five lovely rams, two oxen, one male goat, one male lamb, exactly one ram, one……young……bull, one gold dish, the finest flour mixed with olive oil, one silver sprinkling bowl and one beautiful silver plate.

I don’t really expect this new song to replace the original song about the partridge in the pear tree, but it shows us something very important that we don’t want to miss.  In these passages that we have been reading, God’s approach to worship and obedience is anything but casual.  Instead it is specific, detailed, and involves forethought and preparation.

How do you approach worship and obedience to God?  We need to first of all realize that they are intertwined.  Now I know that because of what Jesus did on the cross, it has become simpler and more personal for us to worship God.  Whereas one man, one time a year was able to enter into the holy of holies, because of Christ we have unlimited access to His presence.  But I still am asking the question, “How do you prepare yourself for worship?”  If you have come to the conclusion that worship is wrapped up in how we live all of life, and that would be a correct conclusion, we could ask, “How am I living out my life before God?”

One thing that I never like to hear my doctor or dentist say is, “That’s close enough.”  Close enough is not good enough when it comes to my health and wellbeing.  How about you?  If a physician is involved in some intricate procedure involving your body, is “close enough” good enough for you?  Yet it is so easy many times for any of us to get kind of loose and casual with the way our lives offer worship to our Father in Heaven.  God says no sex outside of a marriage commitment.  We say that only applies to the time before I was married.  It’s close enough.  God asks that the first offerings we bring out of what He has provided for us, is to be the tithe or tenth.  The last statistic I read regarding evangelical churches and their giving was that Christians are giving something close to 3%.  I guess they think that’s close enough.

There is nothing in the passages that we have been reading that would give me any idea that close enough is okay with Him.  In regards to giving, in the book of Malachi, he says his people have become thieves.  They didn’t bring Him what He asked for.  They gave Him what they wanted to.  I guess you could say they thought it was close enough.  He said that they were robbing Him.

I would like to unpack this further, but for now I would recommend that we all ask ourselves a question.  When it comes to the way that we live our lives, when it comes to the way that we seek to obey what He has set out, when it comes to the way that our lives offer worship to Him have we started to settle for “close enough?”