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. Philippians 2:17. (EHV).
What is a drink offering? You’ll have to open your Old Testament for that one (and that’s a good thing to do, since everything in the Old Testament points to and explains Jesus and the world He came into). From https://www.gotquestions.org/drink-offering.html: “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).”
That’s a lot of wine. What’s more, the drink offerings were given only to God, only done in worship and over sacrifices offered on an altar. It was symbolic of life, worship, Sabbath, victory, and devotion. I’m betting a Bible scholar could tell you more and better about all this; I’m no Bible scholar. I simply know what I read and what others have taught me. Now, consider that the wine (and the amount of it) really didn’t matter. It wasn’t for the booze that God commanded Israel to do these things. It wasn’t for the ceremony of it, or seeing if the Israelites would follow instructions, and it wasn’t because God wanted His people to jump through a bunch of hoops.
It’s about that pouring out. Then as now (as in Holy Communion), wine symbolized blood. And, then as now, blood meant life. In a drink offering, God commanded his people to cover their atoning sacrifices in symbolic blood, pouring themselves out, in turn, while doing so. He wanted them to empty themselves so He could fill them. God commanded the Israelites to do what was necessary to cling to Him, to remain devoted to Him. It was for their good, not His.
God didn’t force them; He didn’t compel them. He asked His people – us – to give everything from a willing heart. He asks that we devote ourselves to Him and not hold back. He asks us to dig deep in our psyches, digging deep into our souls and turn over what means most to Him. These days, He doesn’t ask for sacrifices or poured wine over them, but he still asks us to pour ourselves out to Him…because He poured Himself out fully for us. On the cross.
For further reading: Genesis 35:14, Exodus 29:40, Numbers 15:4-6, 10, Romans 15:16, 2 Corinthians 12:15, 2 Timothy, 4:6, Philippians 2:18
Lord Jesus, YOU are the ultimate drink offering, covering Your own sacrifice in Your perfect blood. Teach me to pour out my heart to You and You alone always.