Have you ever wandered into a place where you stood out like a sore thumb? Everyone is doing something around you, and you try your best to look inconspicuous as you crane your neck to see what in the world is going on. The book of Leviticus is a culture shock for me (tonight it is chapters 1-4 specifically). This sacrifice, that sacrifice, these parts of the animal…it’s like a butcher shop or biology class happening at church. But in a way, it makes total sense. My sacrifices of today are personal and real, but they usually involve money, time, activities. Those sacrifices involved an actual living thing dying. And it is a picture of how serious sin is. Yes, it was culturally normal for Israel, but it is also sobering to think that death is needed for atonement. And those animals could never wipe out the debt they owed God; they just pointed to the One who would (see Hebrews 9-10:18). Sin is serious, and it was a heavy debt that Jesus paid for us. But now we can live free from sin-shackles!
God, thank You that we do not have to sacrifice animals anymore. But thank You for the sobering reality of how real sin is, and what Jesus did when He died in my place. Please help me to live in that freedom, for You and not for sin anymore. I love You. Amen.