'Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.Leviticus 6:13(NASB)
The Law of Moses was far wider than the 10 commandments that we generically call 'The Law'. It covers food laws, sacrificial laws, laws that pertain to the feast days, and laws concerning prophets, priests, and kings.
There were also household laws and laws to do with sickness and personal cleanliness, together with a wide range of moral laws, judgements for breaking the Law, and laws connected with sacrificial offerings.
There were four compulsory, sacrificial offerings that the children of Israel were required to make to the Lord, and one voluntary offering, 'The Burnt Offering'.
Priests had a certain dress code and a specific routine to carry out when preforming this ritual for an individual or group of people, and in the morning, the priest was to take off his priestly garments and put on other garments before carrying the ashes of the Burnt Offering outside the camp, to a clean place.
One of the requirements for the Burnt Offering was that the fire which consumed the sacrifice, should be kept burning continually on the sacrificial altar and not be allowed to go out - which causes those with an enquiring mind to ask why?
The Burnt Offering was a voluntary act of devotion and dedication to the Lord. It was offered by an individual person or group of people... and the significance of the fire which was to be kept burning continually, was a beautiful picture of continual, voluntary devotion to God. It portrayed a broken and contrite heart of loving trust that was dedicated to the Lord by the person, or group of people, who gave the offering.
So often, Old Testament Scripture provides New Testament believers with a picture of Christ's life or His character - or it portrays the pattern of living that God's desires from all His people. From writings of the past, we understand that the Lord desires mercy from His children and not sacrifice, and this picture of the Burnt Offering shows that the Lord yearns that His children grow in grace and gain a deeper, more intimate knowledge of the Father, and of Jesus Christ Whom He has sent.
The Lord Jesus not only offered Himself as the compulsory Sin-Offering to take away the sin of the world, but He gave Himself as the voluntary Burnt Offering. He was prepared to say, "Not My will but Thine be done." He was ready and willing to GIVE His life as the full and final Burnt Offering to the Lord - as an act of mercy and grace so that all who believe on Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.
May we follow in the steps of our Saviour and by the mercies of God, present our bodies and our very lives as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God - for this is our reasonable service of thanksgiving and praise to the One Who gave Himself for us. May our lives be our own, personal Burnt Offering to our Father in heaven. May our lives be our own voluntary sacrifice to the Lord - Who loved the Church so much that He gave Himself for HER.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me such an amazing understanding of Who You are and what You desire from Your children. Thank You that Jesus was both the Sin Offering Who paid the price for my sins, but also the Burnt Offering Who willingly gave His life to fulfil Your plans and purposes for the redemption of the world. I pray that I may willingly present my body in continual devotion and dedication to You, by giving up myself to Your service. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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