I have a fantasy where I’m dating a handsome man – who also happens to be rich. He takes me to the mall and insists on buying me dress after dress, despite my protestations.
Yeah, yeah, okay, I know it’s ridiculous. Stop looking at me like that.
The pull of that fantasy is less about the money and clothes, and more about that kind of energy.
It’s the kind of energy that’s brimming out of this chapter of the Bible.
A cornucopia of gifts
Numbers 29 is full of more rules and more instructions, but when you look closer, you see that they’re rules and instructions about how to, well, romance God.
Festivals and offerings and holidays. Taking time off from work to spend with God. Making twenty-nine offerings one day and then twenty-eight the next, and then twenty-seven, and then…(verses 1, 13-20)
And all this on top of the daily, monthly, and weekly offerings the children of Israel regularly made (verse 6).
It makes me think of someone who’s madly in love, someone who can’t stop giving time, kisses, or gifts because they like their person so, so much. It overflows from them. It can’t be stopped.
We should have that energy with God.
The thought might be cringy. It might seem a little unnecessary. And it would be, if God were little different than, like, a pastor or a teacher, only with more power and more knowledge. But God doesn’t perch in heaven, squinting down at you and wrinkling his nose when you do something wrong. He’s a God that comes close.
He’s a God who knows everything about you, from your favorite color to your oldest memory.
He’s a God who has plans for you, lessons to teach you, people for you to meet and places for you to go.
He’s a God who talks to you, who listens to you, and who smiles when He sees you coming.
He’s a God that offers up that same energy that’s in this chapter. He says “if you ask anything in my name, I’ll do it” (John 14:14). He’d move mountains for us, stay up all night talking to us, pour out blessings so that we won’t have room for them. And all of that on top of giving us breath and food and water and a job and health and…
How can we resist that?
Your spiritual love language
We can’t, or at least we shouldn’t. So how do we give that energy right on back to Him?
Maybe we already have daily devotions, and we go to church every week, and every month we even pay tithe. That all seems like a lot.
But don’t you think if we were in love, I mean really in love, we wouldn’t stop there?
Maybe we’d offer up sacrifices by giving God time that used to go to Netflix. Or maybe we’d give Him gifts by using our money to support the spread of the gospel. We could even have our own private festivals for God – sing to Him, retreat to His creations in nature, and do a specific act of service for someone in need.
It would kind of be like preparing a present for Him. When my friends’ birthdays come up, I do some brainstorming. I think about who they are and why I love them. I think about what they like. And then, armed with that information, I try to conceive of the perfect present.
It doesn’t matter (I hope) that what I can actually achieve probably doesn’t compare to how amazing they are to me. The point is that I did it out of love. I did it with my chest. I put energy into my relationship with them.
Are we putting that kind of energy into our most important relationship?
“Love Me with all of your might”
The above words describe an ideal, don’t they? A nice idea. A pretty dream.
But let me be real. I’m not there in my relationship with God. I think it’s right and good to be there, but I’m not there. 99.9% of the time I’m convinced I’ll never be there.
Yet even in this chapter, God had to tell the Israelites how to love Him. He gave them explicit instructions for every festival and offering. They didn’t come up with that on their own.
Love is a gift. It’s something Jesus teaches us. It’s something He helps us do.
That’s what I tell myself when I’m sitting on my bedroom floor, close to tears because I messed up again and I’ll never be good and wondering why I easily spit in the face of the God who loves me so well every single day.
I tell myself that it’s still possible to love Him. He will change me. I know He will because that’s what He wants, too. So if God wants it, and if I want it, what stands in my way?
Well, me. Me in two and a half hours facing the next temptation stands in my way, but that doesn’t change the fact that God is powerful. All I have to do is say a prayer and that temptation is beaten before it comes.
That’s the kind of love He offers us. That kind of love inspires love. It creates love. So let’s will trust in that love. We will remind ourselves of that love. We will beat back shame with thoughts of that love.
And we’ll do it with all our hearts, with all our minds, and with all of our strength.
What do you think? How do you love Jesus?