I am reading through the Bible chronologically. This is my second time through and it reminds me just how alive God's Word is and how it speaks to me vibrantly in different stages of my life.
Right now I am reading through Leviticus. There's a reason why you don't see a lot of oft quoted scriptures from Leviticus. Some of the key themes are God's holiness and how, since the Israelites were unholy, there had to be many sacrifices made to atone for their sins. There is a foreshadowing of the ultimate substitutional sacrifice to come, but for now there are A LOT of rules, regulations, and protocol for making sacrifices so as to atone for the people's unholiness.
Their were three Voluntary Offerings: The Burnt Offering, The Grain Offering, and the Fellowship Offering. These were voluntary acts of worship, atonement, confession and generally for unintentional sin and were a sign of complete commitment to God.
Then came the two Mandatory Offerings: The Sin Offering and the Guilt Offering. These were made for unintentional and intentional sin, for cleansing from defilement, and for forgiveness of sin by God. (Note God made a way for forgiveness).
There were often several offerings made in succession and for each type of offering their were specific Elements: a bull, ram, or male bird with no defect. Grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, salt, no yeast, honey along with a drink offering. A male goat, female goat or lamb, dove or pigeon or flour depending on one's wealth. There were rules as to how the animal was to be killed and prepared.
There were specific processional rules like the priest dipping his finger into the blood and sprinkling it before the Lord seven times and then putting some of the blood on the horns of the altar.
Certain innards had to be removed and ceremoniously washed and cleaned in water before being placed on the altar.
Eating fat and blood was forbidden.
In some rituals, the priest took the breast and right thigh of the animal and waved it in a "wave offering" before the Lord.
The altar had to be kept burning at all times.
In the Sin Offering, the clay pot in which the meat was cooked must be broken, but if it was cooked in a bronze pot, the pot was to be scoured and rinsed with water.
The list of prescribed offering preparation and presentation goes on for chapters. It's kind of mind boggling.
Everything had to be done precisely in the prescribed way. Two of Aaron's sons offered unauthorized fire offerings before the Lord - contrary to His command. The fire of the Lord came out from Him and consumed them. Wow! Talk about pressure!!
By the end of several chapters on atonement offerings, my head was spinning. I tend to be forgetful, so chances are, I would have been one who would have been consumed by fire.
After reading all this, my most prominent thought was: I am SO thankful that God made ONE substitutional sacrifice for me ONCE and for all. He gave His one and only Son and Jesus went knowingly to His death for me/us.
There is no way I could perfectly keep all the laws and take all the prescribed measures to make the holy sacrifices for my sins. That's why it is such a huge relief to read this scripture:
I know what my answer will be? What will yours be? Do you still struggle with accepting His easy yoke of grace? Why? Do you still live under the law - striving and trying to be perfect? What might Jesus be calling you to? What sacrifice will make you "enough" in God's eyes?
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you and praise you that you foreknew how miserably we'd fail at living under the Law. Thank you for loving me/us SO much that you were willing to offer the one and only atoning sacrifice that would take care of our sins once and for all. Thank you Jesus, for going willingly to the slaughter, for taking my sins upon you, so that I could be forever freed from my sin. Help me to take your yoke of grace upon me for it is easy and light and you promise to forever be yoked with me and teach me your ways. Thank you for this awesome gift. Let me live forgiven and shed the burden and baggage of my sin. Let me travel light in the gentleness of your amazing grace. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Be blessed.....our sin is great....God's love is greater still!