God was ready to teach the Israelites how to worship him. Through HIS teaching, they are going to learn how to relate to HIM. Everything God taught them was to teach them about HIM, themselves (so they would understand that SIN NEEDED TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY), and to teach them about FAITH.
When the people saw the innocent animals being killed, they began to see the importance/the impact of their sin and guilt. Sin requires repentance and restoration. All the rituals in Leviticus reveal a HIGH and HOLY God who desires OUR WILLINGNESS to love, obey, and worship HIM. God’s laws and sacrifices were intended to bring out TRUE devotion of the HEART. God desires this of each of us today and it was NO different in the OT. The book of Leviticus is detailed and seems out of date. HOWEVER, if you look at the BIG themes of SIN, REPENTENCE, RESTORATION, and REDEMPTION … you will see many things may open your heart even from the OT. (I know it has mine.)
One thing that stood out for me in today’s reading was that God WANTED HIS people to KNOW the difference between arbitrary animal sacrifice as the Egyptians had to their gods and the SACRIFICE as a SUBSTITUTE for INDIVIDUAL sin. I also believe this is why the person/persons making the offering for the sacrifice for their sin HAD TO TOUCH THE HEAD OF THE ANIMAL WHILE THEY WERE SACRIFICING IT. This allowed them to visually understand that the blood of this animal was being substituted for THEIR death from their sins. They knew they should have been on the altar and in God’s grace … HE made a way to save their life which is exactly what Jesus did for us one final time!! God wanted to bless His people but couldn’t do it if they were not obedient and if their hearts were not in it which exactly what the book of Leviticus tells them how to do/be.
God is HOLY. Whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament, the ONLY way to come before our HOLY God was/is to be sinless. God knew we, as humans, would never be sinless in and of ourselves so HE made the sacrifice of the shed blood of an INNOCENT animal the SUBSTITUTE for our sins. This was the ONLY way to have access to HIM in the OT and is the ONLY way to have access to HIM in the NT. In the OT the High Priest made sacrifice and entered into the MOST HOLY PLACE on the Day of Atonement. In the OT, all the sacrifices were temporary solutions including the one on the Day of Atonement. Today the ONLY way to enter into His presence is first by asking Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, confessing our sins, and then by making an OFFERING of OURSELVES as a SACRIFICE. (See Romans 12:1-2.) FAITH of knowing that a SUBSTITUTE is being made actually brings conviction and forgiveness. Believing that a substitute sacrifice takes away our penalty of sin is the reason Jesus came… permanent …. One final sacrifice.. our atonement for sin….forever!!
As you read these chapters, see Jesus on the Altar (Cross) and underline key phrases like:
- (chapter 2) —without yeast (yeast is symbolic of sin and Jesus was on the Altar SINLESS….Yeastless!)
- (Chapter 3) —Without defect (or broken bone). That is why when Jesus was on the Cross they did not break his legs.
- (Chapter 3) —All the Fat is the Lord’s. The fat is the Best Part. We save our Best for the LORD.
- (Chapter 4) –the priest will make the Atonement (Jesus is the last and final High priest that makes the final atonement)
There is so much more, so skim off what God gives you and take in the rest another year.
He must present it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD. He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
I know this is the second time I am mentioning this but this is so important. In Leviticus, they had to put their hands on the head of the animal to identify with the animal, their replacement; their substitute!! This is a PERFECT example of how we should HOLD ON to Jesus in our daily lives, so we can RELATE to and appreciate the sacrifice He made for us. It certainly makes me all the more grateful when I can actually see what HE did for ME. I am every so grateful to be one of HIS children.
After the sacrifice, did you note there was more? There was SEPARATION and CLEANSING. They did NOT simply confess sin then make the sacrifice as the substitute. They had to clean the animal out. THAT IS US!! When we accept Jesus in our hearts, we are NEW creatures. Our insides are clean!!! Our past is gone. That inner change comes from our REPENTANCE and the indwelling of the HOLY SPIRIT. The sacrifice was made and then came the repentance. Many people think they need to reverse that order. You come to the Lord (who already made the ultimate sacrifice for our sin) and offer the sin voluntarily, He accepts, He forgives the Sin.
I have included a chart on the offerings today. The Burnt offering is completely a choice decision! The first 3 of the 5 offerings are voluntary. The Lord does not require us to dedicate ourselves to Him; He does not require us to worship and recognize him for His provision and goodness; He does not require us to come to Him in Thanksgiving and Fellowship. But He certainly desires it and loves it when we do because HE sees our HEART!!
The Burnt Offering: to make payment for our sins. Voluntary. Our Devotion.
The Grain Offering: to show honor and respect for God. Voluntary. All we have is God’s.
Fellowship Offering: expresses gratitude and thanksgiving. Voluntary. We can have a peace and fellowship with God.
Sin Offering. Mandatory. Unintentional Sin.
Verse 4:3…the word MUST is used. Until here, it was an offering from the heart. Why MUST we make an offer to the Lord? No one, except Jesus can stand here and say they have never sinned. (Did’t you find it ironic that the one who knows NO SIN is the ONE that becomes the final Sacrifice for all of us who have lived in sin?) We have sins that we are unaware of and don’t give up voluntarily.
Did you notice that each of the remaining verses in Chapter 4 ended with….and he WILL be forgiven??
I have to admit this was a hard read for me, but this is God’s blog so I am trusting that you are drawn closer to HIM through this.
Would still love to hear if this is touching your life. Is there anything that stood out to you today? Did a particular scripture touch your heart?
Sharing HIS love,