Tag Archives: sacrifice

Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 9 JOY and Sacrifice!

The sixth use of the word JOY is here in Philippians 2 where we read —

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. (ch. 2)

What makes you GLAD (a form of the word JOY)? I can’t help it, but when I think of the word GLAD I think of . . . garbage bags. Yes. That’s Madison Avenue advertising at its best! We use such bags for garbage, for getting rid of trash.

However, Paul doesn’t say that his life is being thrown away, but it is being “poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith.” Although Paul will use the imagery of garbage in 3:7-8, here he is referring to the Old Testament issue of sacrifices. The following article from is helpful —

Question: “What is a drink offering?”

Answer: The first recorded occurrence of a drink offering was that given by Jacob in Genesis 35:14, right after God changed his name to Israel. Drink offerings were also included with burnt and grain offerings in God-ordained sacrifices, including the morning and evening sacrifices of Exodus 29:40. One-quarter hin, about one quart, of wine was poured out into the altar fire for each lamb sacrificed (Numbers 15:4-5). A ram sacrifice required one third of a hin (Numbers 15:6), and a bull required one half (Numbers 15:10).

It has been speculated that the offering of an animal, grain, oil, and wine—the smoke making a “soothing aroma to the LORD”—is a metaphor for providing food for God, an important cultural requirement in the Middle East. What we do know is that the pouring out of a drink offering is a metaphor for the blood Jesus spilled on the cross. Jesus spoke to this directly in Luke 22:20 when He instituted the New Covenant. He picked up a cup of wine and said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled the need of a drink offering, His blood literally pouring out when the soldier pierced His side with a spear (John 19:34).

Paul took the metaphor further, twice using the image of a drink offering to describe his own service. In Philippians 2:17, he challenged the church in Philippi to live a life worthy of his dedication to them. In 2 Timothy 4:6, he sensed the end of his ministry, again comparing his efforts to wine poured out of a vessel onto an altar. (

Paul does not resent his life being poured out. He rejoices that it is all worth it! Do you and I see our lives as drink offerings being poured out for the service of our King?






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Posted by on May 1, 2019 in joy


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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 16)

Self-redemption is a myth.  These experienced, strong sailors could not defeat God’s winds and sea, and finally succumbed to Jonah’s suicidal suggestion.  They pick him up and toss him overboard — and the raging sea becomes calm.

They understand cause-and-effect, but life does not go back to normal for these pagan men.  The circumstances could not have been more obvious — Jonah’s God was indeed the God of the sea and the dry land!  And He had spared their lives when they had excised the object of God’s wrath.

We read:  “At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.”  These polytheists now became monotheists and, apparently, became converted to Jonah’s God, despite his poor testimony.  Notice:

(1)  They “greatly feared the Lord” (something that Jonah never does in his book, it seems).

(2)  They offered a sacrifice to the Lord (tossing Jonah overboard didn’t count as their sacrifice, apparently).

(3)  They made vows to Him.  They made promises to Jonah’s God even as Jonah is drowning as his punishment for blatantly ignoring the Lord.  Whereas Jonah did not have the courtesy even to respond verbally to God’s call on his life, these men put into words their gratitude for God sparing them.  Perhaps Jonah, as he descended into the depths of the sea, thought he was finally free of his God and His demands.  He could not have been more wrong.  (to be continued)

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Posted by on August 16, 2017 in Jonah


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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 15)

Don’t you hate it when you are only one who thinks your idea is a great one?  Jonah volunteers to be tossed overboard and is sure that the sea will calm down when it claims his life.  But Jonah did not count on the consciences of pagan sailors who stood with dropped jaws as they heard of Jonah’s heresy.  Words are cheap and Jonah’s orthodox declaration (“I am a Hebrew and I worship  the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land”) was clearly contradicted by his silly attempt to escape this God!

The sailors do not immediately grab Jonah and hurl him over the side.  They once more grab their oars and try to row back to land.  But in vain.  They needed to play their part in this drama of sacrifice and redemption.

Their failure to rescue themselves drives them to cry out to Jonah’s God!  And what an elegant prayer!  “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life.  Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.”  What a prayer!

Their prayer was much more orthodox than Jonah’s life!  Notice several aspects of their prayer:

(1)  They pray to Jonah’s God!

(2)  They recognize that He is a righteous Judge who will hold sinners accountable.

(3)  They acknowledge that He, Jonah’s God, had done as He pleased.

With a modicum of words, Jonah had unwittingly led these men to his God.  And all he wants to do is go drown.  Sad.  (to be continued)

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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Jonah


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #53 (the Book of Leviticus)

I must admit — Leviticus is one Old Testament book I was not looking forward to unit-reading!  But we read through it this morning.  Man, am I glad we are not under the Old Testament sacrificial system!  There is a lot of splashing of blood and slaughtered animals and regulations and sin and guilt and fellowship offerings. Here are my notes:

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A couple of takeaways for me:
1. Offerings to the Lord have an aroma which pleases Him.
2. God cares about process — sin must be dealt with!
3. God’s holiness ought to impact everything we do — what we eat, what we touch, what we look at.
4. Leviticus is clear about homosexual behavior being sin (18:22; 20:13).

My prayer: “Lord, thank You that Jesus is the end of the sacrificial system. But help me, Lord, to put You first in all things! In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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Posted by on May 13, 2016 in unit-reading


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“I have to get that ball!”

I think these pictures of dogs going after tennis balls are amazing.  Full-tilt, no distraction, total concentration on the task!  I find often that my attention is so distracted and disjointed that my best energies aren’t invested.  And how quickly ennui or boredom or satiety (words we discussed in our previous blog) inflict themselves on me!

As I study the picture above, I see a pooch whose eyes are fully open, whose mouth is ready to clamp down on that orange tennis ball, whose whole being is determined to accomplish one task:  get that ball whatever the cost!

If I were that little guy, my eyes would be slammed shut or squinting, my mouth would be closed in fear of swallowing some water, and retrieving an old tennis ball would be the last priority on my mind.  My passion, my determination, would result in a very poor picture.FirefoxScreenSnapz240

What is one determination of your life, one priority that you would say motivates you, inspires you to step out of our flattening, comforting, inertia-infected culture to pursue that goal no matter the cost?

The Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian believers:  “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (I Cor. 2:2).  Where is your determination — and mine?

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Posted by on August 11, 2013 in excellence


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