When I was young, my parents had rules for me. I was not a horrible child and wanted, for the most part, to please them. I followed most rules, most of the time. When I broke the rules, there were consequences.
At the time, I had little knowledge that rules were made mostly to protect me.
As I read the end of Exodus last week and realized how many rules God had for the Israelites, I came to the conclusion that most of them were to protect the people of Israel from themselves.
Our nature is to be selfish, unkind, and stubborn.
God provided rules so that living in community would make sense.
In modern day, I am guessing He would have something to say about removing snow from sidewalks (even in April!) so that those without cars who walk on those sidewalks would not have to walk in snow. The rules made sense then, and I am sure that they would make sense now.
More important than the rules themselves, though, are the offerings – sacrifices – that were made when one broke rules. Although the rules broke fellowship with God, they also broke fellowship with one another. Offerings were made; amends were made. – all depending on the offense.
- Burnt offering
- Grain offering
- Fellowship offering
- Sin offering
- Guilt offering
As I read through the seven chapters, I thought about how it would have been to live “back then.” I am not sure that the rules would have been that hard to keep track of because they would have made sense in community.
What caught me off guard was thinking that we no longer have to make offerings for our sins.
And this thought made me wonder if I take that for granted.
I think I do.
Because I live on the other side of Christ’s death and resurrection, I no longer need to make offerings and sacrifices for my sins. I confess to God, ask His forgiveness through the blood of Christ, and go on.
Often, though, I go on to sin again – same sin; same prayer; same forgiveness.
If I had to pay for a dove or a pigeon, go to the temple, and offer the sacrifice to pay for my transgression against my neighbor, I might think twice before doing whatever it is that I have done.
If I had to bake (I don’t cook…) grain or cook it on the griddle and follow the Leviticus 2 directions about to make it pleasing to God, I might think twice before doing something that would bring about the need for sacrifice.
When I forget how severely Christ was beaten, tormented, and brutalized, I tend to do as I please and hope that the world does not notice my transgressions.
But sacrifice – in the Old Testament and in the New Testament – is costly.
I need to remember that Christ’s sacrifice, though once for all, cost. God paid; Christ paid. And we benefit from this. In benefitting in this way, we must live accordingly. We must live in such a way that reflects our knowledge, our respect, and our gratitude.
How does this concept play out in your life?