Why Have Sacrifices in the Bible?
by Shelley Hitz
As I've been reading through Leviticus this question came to my mind and I decided to meditate on it one day. Leviticus lists many different types of sacrifices that God wanted the Israelites to make to Him.
#1: Sacrifices were a temporary way to deal with sin until Christ came
1. Mandatory Atonement for unintentional sin = guilt and sin offering
2. Voluntary atonement for unintentional sin in general, expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God = burnt offering (offered every morning and every evening Exodus 29:39-42).
#2: To make holy, consecrate, set apart and prepare the tabernacle and the Israelites to meet with God and to provide a holy place where God could dwell among His people
(Exodus 29:1 - to consecrate the priests, Exodus 29:39-42, 30:29)
This is where I had an "Ah-Ha!" moment. We are now God's tabernacle (I Cor 6:19-20). And when we sacrifice or die to ourselves, we are preparing a place within us that God can dwell.
Now that gets me excited!!
Our sacrifice is not just so God can ask us to give up something valuable to us and make life difficult for us. It is because He wants to give us His Presence to dwell among us. He wants to give us "Quality Time" so to speak.
Ultimately He desires a relationship with us and in order to do that, we have to be set apart and holy. Because of who He is, we aren't able to just enter His Presence and stand face to face with Him the way we are (see Exodus 33). And He knows we can't be holy on our own.
He set up the temporary system of repeated sacrifice and ultimately fulfilled the requirements once and for all in Christ.
Therefore, when we surrender (sacrifice) our lives (our desires, our flesh) and allow Christ into our lives, we are again in a position where God can dwell with us, in our tabernacle. We are preparing a place for Him.
Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
So, instead of thinking and focusing on what I'm giving up, I want to focus on what I'm preparing for and what I'll gain...the Presence of the God of this Universe...living and dwelling within me.
Incredible. Simply incredible when you really think about it.
Is Christ dwelling in your "tabernacle" today?
Are you filled with God's presence, His Holy Spirit within you? If not, are there sacrifices you need to make, things you need to surrender to Him to prepare a place for Him?