Ezra 8:35 – Abundance and God's Restored People
Ezra 8:35 At that time those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering to the Lord.
It’s pretty awesome to note that they really only had to offer the 12 goats as a sin offering. The additional 12 bulls, 96 rams, and 77 lambs were just fellowship/thank offerings. At some point of true worship-life, you cease to keep track of what you have to give God and you just start giving Him all that you want. Somebody kept track of it, of course, because we have a count, but all that would have been required of them by the law were the 12 goats.
I hate it that “you can’t outgive God” has become a sort of religious extortion by prosperity preachers. What these people had was joy and peace and the way to celebrate it was by giving offerings.
The thing to note about their generous offerings is that it didn’t work like money into a collection plate. It was time-consuming. It was messy. A portion was burnt, a portion was kept for the Levites, and then a portion was handed back to the family that offered it for them to cook and feast on like Thanksgiving dinner. This is a picture indicative of great wealth that they had to offer, and a great feast of celebration that they enjoyed because the people of God were being restored to their former stature.