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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Inspired by . . . the life is in the blood

I have an aversion to killing things. Most creatures found in my home are relocated to the out-of-doors. I do make exceptions for scorpions, centipedes, and... snakes. Inside or out. Although I've never gotten close enough to a snake to kill one and I'm not sure I could. Get close enough, that is.

I do swat flies, they carry disease, and spiders are usually dead before I can think about it because they have a way of startling me into action. I always think of Charlotte after killing one, though.

I've been working my way through Leviticus and it's all a bit overwhelming. The weight of the Law is heavy. The number of sacrifices required, staggering.

From what I can tell, between the offerings and sacrifices, there would have been one or the other happening almost none stop in front of the Tent of Meeting.

Either the priest or the person making the offering would have had to place their hand on the head of the sacrifice (i.e. head of the lamb, goat, bull, etc) and then slit its throat. Blood would have to be thrown or sprinkled. Fat removed from entrails, the body kept whole or in some cases cut up, and so on. Chapter after chapter we read the details for atonement for one sin after another. It's all rather disturbing.

Obviously, we live in a very different world than the Israelites did during the time of Moses. As I read, I wondered if the sacrificing of these animals was disturbing to the Israelites. I think the answer is, yes.

Sacrifices wouldn't have been new to them. The Egyptians made all manner of sacrifices to appease the gods. But, for the Israelites, sacrificing their animals, that they lived closely with, for the atonement of sin was completely different.

I thought about this in my own life and realized that, while I'm okay with killing an animal for food, the thought of an innocent animal dying to pay for my sin is an entirely different matter.

I have to believe the Israelites felt this way, as well.

Leviticus 17:11 tells us that the life is in the blood and that it is the life, which is the blood, that makes expiation for sin.

Expiation = Atonement, Restitution, Payment.

Romans 6:23 - the wages of sin is death

Despite what our culture may tell us, death is not natural. It is the payment for sin.

The payment for sin is death. Either our own or something sacrificed in our place.

We see this all the way back in Genesis 3. The first animals were killed to cover the shame of Adam and Eve. God's word is consistent from beginning to end. And that is why Leviticus is relevant, in all its disturbing bloody details, to us today.

It gives us context for the tragedy of the cross.

Throughout Leviticus, it says that the sacrifice brought must be "without blemish." This is the foreshadow of Christ, Who, "was innocent of sin, and yet for our sake God made Him one with human sinfulness, so that in Him we might be made one with the righteousness of God." 2 Cor 5:21

The trial and crucifixion of Jesus breaks our hearts. And so it should. He was innocent and yet He was beaten, flogged, cursed, and mocked. The brutality and senselessness are shocking. It's hard to imagine that any good at all came out of this event. And yet, as Paul said, "If it is for this life only that Christ has given us hope, we of all people are most to be pitied." 1 Cor 15:19

There had to be something more. Some purpose. Some way to get beyond sacrifice after sacrifice. And there was.

Because Christ wasn't just another sacrifice. He was THE sacrifice. It was not His purpose to offer Himself again and again, as the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood not his own. Rather, He has appeared once for all to abolish sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

By dying, He paid the price of our sin and by rising again He conquered death and the grave. He is Victor over all! He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. For it is by grace we are saved through faith; it is not our own doing. It is God's gift to us, not a reward for work done. (Eph 2:8-9)

Faith is born when we believe the Truth of what God says about us and what He did for us. "If the confession, 'Jesus is Lord' is on your lips, and the faith that God raised Him from the dead is in your hearth, you will find salvation!" (Rom 10:9)

Leviticus stands as a reminder to us of the heavy demands of the Law, our inability to be righteous before God, and the blood that is required to wash away our sins.

But the heaviness of Law and the images of the blood-soaked alter fade away when the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead moves within us and we are reminded that we are God's children and He Is Alive!

Easter morning wasn't the end, Beloved. It was just the beginning.

Because He lives, sin is no longer our master.
Because He lives, we are free from the fear of death.
Because He lives, we have direct access to the throne of grace.
Because He lives, we receive new mercies every morning.
Because He lives, we have proof of God's great love for us.

Because He lives, we will never die.

Blessings on your Eastertide, friends.

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June