Unfortunately, it seems that I seek God most when life is difficult. When life eases up, so does my faith. I realized recently that I follow the Lord most faithfully when trials come but my dependence on the Lord quickly slips below mediocrity when life is going my way.
I read an article last week that described Beth Moore as a woman “who God uses”, not because she is well-known or has written a lot of books but she is faithful to seek Him and does what He says. I thought about this description and how much I want it to be true of me one day. A woman God uses is one that follows Him faithfully.
God reminded the Israelites of their regular need for Him through the grain offering:
“When anyone brings a grain offering as an offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it and bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests. And he shall take from it a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all of its frankincense, and the priest shall burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. But the rest of the grain offering shall be for Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the Lord’s food offerings.” Leviticus 2:1-3
The grain offering was always performed right after the burnt offering that we learned about in “What Are You Consumed With?” Unlike the burnt offering, the grain sacrifice had to be grain and it went through a strenuous process to become finely ground. Imagine taking hours to grind grain finely with a stone on a daily basis.
Also, there was no blood involved in the sacrifice because while the burnt offering related to remission from sin, the grain offering was symbolic of God as their Sustainer. The burnt offering had to be offered first because man’s contribution to God is only acceptable on the basis of atonement. Man has nothing to give God until He has received atonement from the Lamb of God.
Grains comprised most of the Israelites’ meals while they had been in Egypt, but now grain was a very rare commodity. What’s important to keep in mind is that while in Egypt the Israelites were primarily semi-nomadic herders. Farming was not their primary livelihood and the small amount of grain they farmed grew very easily in the moist, rich Egyptian soil. It would always lead to a bountiful harvest with little effort on their part.
They realized that when they get to Canaan, they will no longer live in tents, but in houses and they would be tied to the land. Farming would be their main source of revenue. Therefore, their grain crops were necessary for their survival.
As they were making their way through the desert, they had no way to buy or grow grain, so what grain were they to use? God was faithfully supplying them with manna to eat, but the law specifically called for grain, not manna. The grain the Israelites used for their grain offering was the precious grain they brought over from Egypt to use as seed for their new crops in Canaan.
God’s people were accustomed to the humid climate and rich soil of Egypt. Imagine kneeling down to scoop up some moist rich soil and seeing the hole fill with water. This was not the case in Canaan. The climate in Canaan was much like Texas in the summer – hot, dry and rain was unpredictable. They knew the seed they were sacrificing for the grain offering was the seed set aside to ensure their survival in Canaan.
This was a huge act of faith.
Their only hope of survival was to rely on God. The grain offering was a reminder that God was not only Israel’s Creator but their Sustainer. The great danger was that they would arrive in Canaan and forget where they came from and why. The daily provision of Israel’s physical need and their prosperity was tied to their obedience. God was teaching them that He is their Provider and Sustainer by forcing them to rely on Him.
God’s involvement doesn’t stop there. He wanted them to remain faithful in the Promised Land as well. They would have to learn that although the rains of Canaan were unreliable, God would always be faithful to supply their every need.
The same applies to me.
I so often pull close to God during my desert times in life as I am thirsty for relief that only He can give. When I am in the midst of a trial, I am most aware of my need for Him and huddle up under His Wing through prayer, the study of His Word and an overall reliance on Him. These are the times I lean into Him the hardest.
What about the times when life’s pressures ease up and things go our way? Does our need for God lessen in these times? I’ve found I am less aware of my need for him in the “good times” when in reality my need for Him is unchanged. He is just as essential to me today as any other day.
God promises His faithful blessings to Israel if they obey Him. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God…” – Deuteronomy 21:1-2
Once again, the burnt offering reminds us of God’s once-for-all atonement for our sin in Jesus, the Lamb of God. After our sin is atoned for, the grain offering reminds us of God’s desire to provide for us on a daily basis. John 6:35 states, “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’.”
As I type, there is a sticky note on my laptop that says “Pray First”. I have such a bent towards doing things without relying on Him that it is my reminder to always pray before I write my blog posts. Without constant dependence on Him, I have nothing to write…or at least nothing worth reading.
The times of dependence on myself instead of Him come most often when things are going well in my life. God wants us to seek Him with the same veracity when things go well, as when we are in turmoil. In order to position ourselves to hear God and be used by Him, we have to rely on Him …not just in the bad times, not just in the good times but for all time.
You don’t miss this song from Lauren Daigle – “Lord, I Need You”. Also, I’d love to hear any comments or ways God has been faithful to you!