“But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice together with all of you” (Philippians 2:17).
Being a Pharisee, the Apostle was very much aware of the figure of speech he employed in his Epistle to Phillipi. Paul was fully versed in the Old Covenant Levitical system of sacrifices and offerings of bulls, rams, lambs, goats, offerings of grain, salt, oils and drink offerings of wine. His metaphor is not lost and is poignant in that the shedding of his own blood was imminent. His writing was prophetic of his own demise stating further, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” (II Timothy 4:6).
In our casual lifestyles and leisure, we are in danger of losing what was given to us by the grace of God, a Gospel to preach, a Gospel to live out, a Gospel that in the bare essence speaks to sacrifice and service in the Lord, who is the supreme sacrifice and who’s own blood like wine was poured out on the Cross.
There is a sweetness and tenderness to this offering up of our lives as a drink offering “on the sacrifice and service of your faith”. Are we missing this message in our listening and reading of the Word? Has prosperity and blessing overtaken the more fundamental living out of the Life of Christ? Are we in danger of becoming as the Pharisees who “tithed mint, and anise and cumin, but have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (cf. Matthew 23:23). Indeed, there are many things we as believers should do, but we must not leave the more weightier matters undone.
The Prophet Joel spoke of these things in his day when he cried out, “Wail, you who minister at the altar. Come spend the night in sackcloth, you servants of my God, because no one brings grain offerings or drink offerings to the temple of your God anymore. Announce a holy fast; proclaim a sacred assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the temple of the Lord your God and cry out to the Lord. How awful that day will be! For the Day of the Lord is near; it will come as destruction from the Divine Destroyer. Our food has been cut off right before our eyes! There is no longer any joy or gladness in the Temple of our God. The grains of seed have shriveled beneath their shovels. Storehouses have been decimated, and granaries have been torn down, because the grain has dried up. Listen to the cattle groan! The herds of livestock wander around in confusion because they have no pasture. Even the flocks of sheep are suffering. To you, O Lord, I call out for help” (Joel 1:13-19).
The days ahead are going to be full of trouble for many. What has God called you to do? The fields of souls are white to harvest, while the natural fields will suffer crop shortages and drought. Will you be as Paul, a servant to Christ? or be as Paul further wrote to Timothy in the same Epistle, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed to Thessalonica” (II Timothy 4:10a).
In these coming days our faith will be sorely tested as to what nature we have, the Divine Nature of Christ, or the old nature of self-seeking and self-preservation. These are the days for all of us to come together as the saints of God to offer up to the Lord a poured-out drink offering of our own blood, sweat and tears in sacrifice, service and worship to the Lamb.