So I’m just a collector of wood
February, after a Wednesday evening Bible study at the Underground Photo Shop
and hearing about the possibility of our being “kicked out” of Russia!
One of the menial tasks of the Levitical priesthood at the tabernacle was the preparation of the wood for the sacrifices of the day. This responsibility was one of the first things to happen very early in the morning and it had to continue throughout the day. Without the wood, there could be no fire and no fire meant no sacrifice. Therefore, before the activities of the day took time from the task, the wood had to be collected and arranged in a way to be accessible and ready for use for the entire day. According to Leviticus, the first sacrifice was offered in the morning on the altar whose flame had been burning all night.
The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not go out, but the priest shall burn wood on it every morning; and he shall lay out the burnt offering on it, and offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it [Leviticus 6:12]
The Psalmist determined that “In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. [Psalm 5:3]
Moses recorded God’s words in Numbers 28:4 “You shall offer the one lamb in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight.
8 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
9 “Command Aaron and his sons, saying,
‘This is the law for the burnt offering:
the burnt offering itself shall remain on the hearth on the altar
all night until the morning,
and the fire on the altar is to be kept burning on it.
10 ‘The priest is to put on his linen robe,
and he shall put on undergarments next to his flesh ;
and he shall take up the ashes
to which the fire reduces the burnt offering on the altar
and place them beside the altar.
11 ‘Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments,
and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.
12 ‘The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it.
It shall not go out,
but the priest shall burn wood on it every morning ;
and he shall lay out the burnt offering on it,
and offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it.
13 ‘Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar;
it is not to go out.
This meant that the wood had to be there. It was a fire commanded by God. It was a perpetual fire, ready to consume the sacrifice that was being offered, whether early in the morning or in the evening. It was the clearly revealed will of God that the place of sacrifice was always operative in the commonwealth of Israel. The flame of sacrifice was never to go out; God Himself had kindled the flame on this altar. This demanded constant awareness, observation and attention by those called upon to attend the fire at the brazen altar.
Whether the priest was new to the job, or if he had been involved in the system for a lifetime, he was to be fully conscious of the fire on the altar of God’s place of sacrifice. “Oops” was not a word in the vocabulary of the “wood replacer” or the “fire keeper”. “Keep the fire going” was not a slogan tacked to the horns of the altar, it was a way of life for those who tended the sacrifices offered to God. These priests had to live a life of sacrifice in order to keep the place of sacrifice open and ready. Where would wood be found in the desert?
The entire camp was depending on the collectors of the wood to supply the keepers of the flame so that the people of God could be worshippers of Yahweh
B U T . . .
You know that my responsibilities at the church are so very small. I only teach the 6th grade boys class and there are only ten noisy kids there so it is no big deal. I just give them the Word each week and they keep coming back!
I am just a collector of the wood…
B U T . . .
I am only a missionary and have been studying the language for two years so that I can translate the Bible into this language which has never been written before. I am just now beginning to speak in the tongue of these people and I have nothing to write to the supporting churches about all the people I am leading to you…
I am just a keeper of the flame…
B U T . . .
I am just a housewife. All I do is send my husband off to work, get my four kids ready for school and pack their lunches each morning, clean the house. I only have time to read the Bible and pray for them daily, get supper for my family, nourish and support my husband, get the kids ready for bed, read the Word to them and pray with my husband with them at bedtime and head to bed.
I’m just a collector of wood or a keeper of the flame…
B U T . . .
You know that our family is so small and we are hardly known at church. There is only one boy and three little girls. My husband and I can only sing in the choir and work in the AWANA program. I don’t think that our impact is very great on our small church.
We are just collectors of the wood and keepers of the flame…
B U T . . .
Lord, we are such a small part of this team in Russia and our impact is very minor. We only teach a small Bible study, thirty students in the college, preach in the small churches on the week-ends and yet we feel that we should be here but if you want us out of here, if you really want us to go,
we are just collectors of wood and keepers of the flame…
No wood? No fire!
No fire? No Sacrifice!
No Sacrifice? No Worship!
No Worship? No Blessing!
No Blessing? No Life!
Yes, I am just a collector of the wood…
But… for whom am I collecting the Wood?
Yes, I am just a keeper of the flame…
But… for whom am I keeping the Flame?
Do not think unimportant the
little things God has ordained.
The Lord Jesus Christ washed the feet of the apostles!
Just keep collecting the wood!
Just keep stoking the flame!