Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Ultimate Reward

(Realized that I had this post waiting to be published over a month ago and never did!!!)

Reading through Philippians the other day, I was suddenly and profoundly inspired by Paul's statement in chapter two...

"Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all." Philippians 2:17

I decided to do some quick research on what the drink offering was in the Old Testament, and to understand that meant understanding the other Levitical offerings as well (which I had never studied before and only knew by name).

The Levitical offerings were all a type of foreshadowing of Christ's ultimate sacrifice for us. There were six main offerings: the burnt offering, the meal offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, the trespass offering, and the drink offering.

The burnt offering speaks of the death of Christ accomplishing the will of God for the pleasure of God, bringing glory to his name.

The meal offering presents Christ in perfect sinlessness of His Manhood, His perfect obedience, ever fulfilling the will of God from His birth to His death on the cross.

The peace offering presents Christ as the One who has, through death, reconciled God and man, allowing man to enter into the enjoyment of the fellowship with the Father and the Son in a settled peace.

The sin offering presents Christ as the Sin bearer, the One who took OUR sins upon Him during the three hours He hung on the cross in darkness.

The trespass offering speaks of the death of Christ meeting our need in regard to sins we commit as believers; Christ is our Advocate.

The drink offering came later and speaks of the JOY of God in the completed work on that cross.

The joy of God was not in Christ's sufferings, but in Christ's obedience unto death thus fulfilling the will of God the Father. The drink offering was instructed to be composed of pure wine, not watered down; the use of wine itself acted as a symbol of joy both to God and to man. The drink offering was to be poured out in its entirety before the Lord. No part was to be consumed by the offerer. It was ALL for God.

All of the sacrificial offerings satisfied a righteous requirement of the law, but God's real joy was expressed through this offering. For Paul to compare himself to a drink offering was no small thing. His life was poured out in its entirety for Christ..."But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ." The drink offering of his life must have brought so much joy to God.

The most convicting part is that out of all the offerings made, the drink offering could not be seen. Once poured upon the altar, it was indistinguishable from the meat of the other offerings.

To live a life as a drink offering is the hardest life of all -- completely surrendered, totally poured out for Christ, but without any recognition or glorification from man. In Matthew 6, Jesus speaks of this very kind of life...

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven...When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And the Father who sees in secret will reward you...When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you...When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

We should desire to live our lives as a drink offering. As hard as it may be, we should find joy in living our lives in that kind of a way because it brings joy to the heart of God and will be eternally rewarded.