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                                                                                          Burnt Offerings

This post will combine the readings for today and tomorrow, as it is easier to talk about the offerings as a whole. Let me start by outlining the purpose of each of the offerings...
Burnt offering: a blanket sacrifice for wrongdoing in general
Peace offering: voluntary; for thanksgiving, worship, and fellowship
Sin offering: to cover unintentional sin
Guilt Offering: to cover sins requiring restitution
Grain offering: voluntary; for worship and thanksgiving

You have probably heard it said that all of the Old Testament points to Jesus and this is very true of the sacrificial system. It's very existence showed the Israelites that maintaining a "clean slate" with God would require tireless effort. Atonement had to be made even for sins they were unaware of! When I think of the multitude of things that I don't ask forgiveness for... impatience, short temper, unkind words, etc. (things that often do not trip my repentance radar), I can easily understand the need for an unintentional sin offering. The Israelites were being taught that God's standards for holiness were non-negotiable and that falling short of those standards was a matter of life and death. The presence of sin was cause for death and God allowed them to pay for their sin through animal sacrifice. When making their offerings on the altar, the Israelites were to place a hand on the head of the animal before it was slain, thereby symbolically transferring their sin onto the animal. Verse 1:4 says "Lay your hand on the animal's head and the Lord will accept it's death in your place, to purify you, making you right with him". The Israelites clearly understood the concept of substitutionary atonement well before Jesus hung on a cross as payment for the sin of mankind. And they understood that the sacrifice had to mean something to the one offering it. The animal had to be a male with no defects...the best of the flock. They could not offer up an undesirable animal in an effort to atone for their sin, as such an offering would not have "cost" them anything. There needed to be a real investment in the sacrifice for it to be worthy. The parallel to Jesus is obvious. God offered Him as a sacrifice, a "male with no defects", and it was a sacrifice that cost Him dearly. And while the sacrifice of an animal offered reconciliation with God, it was always limited and temporary. It is perfectly logical that if the best livestock could not atone for sin in a permanent way, a "higher" offering would have to be made. There is nothing, no One, higher than the Son of God, and His sacrifice was sufficient in a way that animal sacrifice never would be. His sacrifice atoned for the sins of all mankind, for all time. He is that worthy.

Tomorrow's reading: Lev. 7-8
Reading for the 19th: Lev.9-11

About Melissa Gibbs:

 

Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD.  He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.  JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries.  Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family.  Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches.

 

Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/.


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