TODAY’S READING: Numbers 28–30
As we read through Numbers, Walter Kaiser reminds us that “it is not an outlandish idea to think that the Lord was simultaneously extending the offer of salvation to others during the Old Testament in addition to Israel.”  A loving God wants to dwell with His holy people that they may be a channel of His presence to all peoples of the earth. All peoples satisfied in Christ is the endgame and it begins from the first verses of the Bible. Therefore, when we read about sacrifices, we look past ritual worship and the cleansing from sin to the purpose of that holiness. The feasts and sacrifices of the Old Testament were all aimed at creating, maintaining, and enlarging the intimacy between God and His people that all peoples may likewise be blessed. A meta-narrative understanding of missions then makes a reading of daily sacrifices come alive. What God ordained regarding the daily sacrifices on Mount Sinai for a sweet aroma (Num. 28:6) foreshadowed the great offering we can bring to Jesus of men and women redeemed. Acts 2:47 reminds us that the Lord added daily to the church those who were being saved. A sweet aroma indeed as those names were entered into the Lamb’s book of life. In Romans 16:5, Paul calls Epaenetus the “firstfruit” of Achaia to Christ. What a beautiful and pleasing aroma was that offering.
Is there a more pleasing daily aroma that wafts up to the throne than the daily coming to Jesus of men and women around the globe, incense from every nation and every people? How pleasant that aroma must be when it ascends from a resistant people like the Wolof of Senegal. Rare aromas can be especially delightful. We no longer offer lambs and grains upon physical altars, we now offer sacrifices of praise. How pleasant those praises when they spring forth in the tongues of unreached peoples.
Leith Anderson tells of our longing to have witnessed the day of Pentecost, a day when 3,000 people from many different nations of the world were saved, nations that today offer pitifully little praise. We look back and wonder where that glorious Spirit outpouring is today. Leith points out, however, that daily in our time, more than 3,000 people are saved. In other words, as you read these words right now, someone is being redeemed and the angels praise the Savior. By the time this day is done, 3,000 people from around the world—maybe even from the Wolof—will have come to Jesus.
When we get to heaven, Leith posits, it may not be us running up to Peter to ask what the day of Pentecost was like. It may be Peter who runs up and asks: What was it like to live in the last days? What was it like when the sacrifices of God’s people yielded a Pentecost-like harvest every single day? What was it like for the Spirit to be poured out on all flesh and to be surrounded by the ascending aroma that so gladdened the heart of God?
There are Old Testament sacrifices we do not make today, and the daily pleasing aroma of souls being saved will likewise one day come to an end. Missions is a thing of earth; it will not exist in heaven. What a joy that we can send this sweet perfume up daily. Lord, may a family from the Wolof that turns to Jesus today be our global sacrifice, our pleasing aroma to You.
 Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2000. 24.
 Leith Anderson. Sermon heard at Missio Nexus Missions Conference, Orlando, FL, on September 22, 2018.