For our devotion this week, I want to take soaring glance at the Book of Leviticus, especially regarding the sacrificial offerings. There is no doubt that Leviticus is an extremely bloody book. Consider the sin offering and how much sin is a part of every human being’s daily life! Think about yourself with regard to just this past year. How many goats or lambs would you have had to bring to the place of the burnt offering? Now multiply the notion towards an entire family, community, or people group; the implications are absolutely staggering! I suppose the blood would comprise an ocean!
Without question, this discussion invokes a visceral reaction. We are not accustomed to such guttural concepts concerning our personal lives in a modern westernized mindset. Admittedly, as a pastor, Leviticus is not a part of scripture I have pontificated upon week after week from the pulpit. This is predominantly good as the Apostle Paul explains, “we are not under law, but grace.” However, it is also bad in the sense that we can, all too often, become desensitized to the seriousness of personal sin. Hence this treatise. Please give it an honest assessment as you will decisively, I believe, come away with a greater appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus and the gravity of your own responsibility for that sacrifice.
The sacrificial system was put in place by God as a foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus. Faith would enable the true believer to look beyond the sacrifice to the reality that righteousness and forgiveness reside in the substitution of the innocent for the guilty. Stated differently, as the Book of Leviticus reminds its readers, individuals accepted by God are to be holy as He is holy; they are to be perfect in thought, word, and deed. This is undoubtedly an impenetrable barrier for anyone to achieve. Consequently, each time a person brought the sacrifice to the tabernacle, they would place their hand on the head of the innocent and with the other, wielding a knife, slice the very life from the victim’s throat because of their own selfish, evil disposition. An astonishingly gruesome prospect, but a constant reminder of how serious sin actually is and how far away from God humankind remained.
For a moment, put yourself in the place of the old system. Look into the eyes of the lamb as blood courses through its veins, breath enters into its nostrils; then with a single stroke, you are responsible for ending that life; the blood is on your hands. Forgive the graphic picture, but I think you fathom the gravity of the situation. On a grand scale, this is what your sin and mine executed upon the Son of God, the Perfect Lamb. May this be a grave reminder the next time you and I try to rationalize or diminish our sinful behavior.
Yet, even in this despondent topic there is hope. Scripture encourages us that God works everything toward the good of those that love Him. He takes what is evil and turns it in the direction of good. Notice closely that in the old sacrificial system, the animal did not go to waste. Aaron, the high priest, and the other priests were to eat the meat from the sacrificial animals. In essence, through the sin of the people, they were provided for. Similarly, through the most heinous act in history, the death of God’s Son; God accomplished the greatest miracle of all time, resurrection; life for all who would believe! He has provided the ultimate provision for His children in the death and resurrection of His Son! No
wonder Jesus referred to Himself as the “Bread of Life!”
It is my sincere desire that these two points resonate within us as we labor through the Old Testament Book of Leviticus.