And the one who offered his offering on the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, from the tribe of Judah. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and for the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

—Numbers 7:12-17

That paragraph from the Bible is not what most would refer to as “spell-binding” reading.  So why is it in the Bible?  We might also wonder why that same paragraph is repeated eleven times in succession, changing only the names of the tribe and its representative worshiper.  Why the boring repetition?  Here are two answers:

First, it reminds us of God’s great concern about how He is worshipped.  He prescribes and we are to follow His detailed instructions—perfectly!  God does not accept worship offered according to our desires, but only according to His.

Second, that the matter is stated twelve times in a row is a
not-so-subtle reminder that we are all to worship God as He prescribes.  God does not accept individual expressions of worship based on our personal preferences.  He expects us all to come to Him according to His designs for worship.  An example of what I mean can be made regarding singing.  He does not tell us to worship Him in song if we are musically inclined or because we like singing.  We are all to come to Him offering our “sacrifice of praise” in song (Hebrews 13:15).

We no longer worship God in a temple, led by priests who offer animal sacrifices.  Jesus fulfilled all those kinds of sacrifices with His once-for-all, never-to-be-repeated sacrifice on the cross (read Hebrews 9-10).  But that doesn’t mean He does not care how we come to Him in worship.  There are timeless principles in the Old Testament about worship, and there are principled instructions in the New Testament regarding worship.  We are no less obligated to worship Him according to those principles than the Old Testament saints were obligated to worship Him according to the particulars God gave them.

Do you know the biblical principles that are to govern our worship?