Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3563

Jump Start # 3563

Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.”

  I am currently teaching aspects of the book of Leviticus. One might ask, “Why? Is this the elder’s form of timeout, or punishment?” No, actually, it was my choice. It was by design. Our theme this year is “Bringing the Best.” And, what better place to show that than the sacrifices found in Leviticus. They brought the best of the herds and flocks. They gave to God.

  Leviticus has a horrible reputation. It’s commonly thought to be the most boring book of the Bible. It’s only read, because one has to read it. And, with such a sorry mindset, most do not see any value in this book. And, oh, the wonderful and powerful lessons they miss. The images pointing to our Savior are all over Leviticus.

  The book of Leviticus opens immediately with burnt offering sacrifices. Cattle. Lambs. Specific birds. From that flows grain offerings, then peace offerings and guilt or sin offerings. So many offerings. When Solomon dedicated the temple, thousands of animals were sacrificed.

  These sacrifices involved much more than just killing an animal. The image is like a slaughter house. Parts were taken out of the animal. The animal was cut up. Blood was collected. Parts were burned. Parts were to be cooked and eaten. Blood was to be sprinkled around the altar.

  As I was working my way through those sacrifices, it quickly occurred to me that the priests had to have a strong stomach to do what they were doing. I’ve gone hunting and fishing before. I like it when someone else cleans and skins the animals. I’m not a fan of doing that. And, the older I get, a lesser fan that becomes.

  There are details and specifics that we are not told. It’s not the point of the Scriptures, but I’d sure like to know. Did anyone wash down the altar after all the blood was sprinkled upon it? If not, the altar would have been stained with the reddish-brown tint of old blood. Sacrifice after sacrifice. Every morning and every evening there were sacrifices. Did they ever bring in a new altar? And, why blood? Our verse tells us. Life is in the blood. The sacrifice involved death. It was a one way street. The animal sacrificed was not coming back. It was more than killed, it was cut to pieces and burned. Only ashes remained.

  Today, progressives would scream at the abuse of animals used in the sacrifices. Yet, this was the design of God. And, in this there are some lessons:

  First, the value of a human made in the image of God is far greater than any animal. Atheistic evolution has scrambled up that value system in the minds of many today. Jesus did not die for animals. The blood of animals was spilled to appease the God who had been sinned against.

  Second, the cost of an animal was a constant reminder of the cost of sin. Even back then, a lamb, a goat or a cow cost. And, these were not old animals that had lived beyond their usefulness. They were young, a year old. They were perfect, without defect. Prime animals to breed. Prime animals to make a profit. God was requiring the best. Sin costs. I wonder if we had to pay $100 every week for our sins, if that would slow us down some. I wonder if that would make us gossip less and sit on that hatred that rises up within us.

  What I found in a little searching is that typically to buy a cow today costs about $3,000. It all depends upon the type of cow, age of the cow and so forth. That does not factor into taking care of the cow, the feed, the vet, the other factors.

  Now, what if you had to pay $3000 every week because of your sin? If we had to do that every week, we’d be paying around $156,000 a year. That would destroy most of us. And, since we don’t have to pay that or really any amount, we have taken the sting out of sin and cheapened grace. We tell a lie. We shouldn’t, but no big deal. Really? Go buy a cow and then say that. A lustful thought? Probably shouldn’t, but no one got hurt. Go tell that to the cow. Some greed. Some selfishness. Some angry moments. Keep going and soon, we will need a whole herd of cattle.

  Third, it was messy trying to deal with sin. It wasn’t simply going and apologizing. It wasn’t just saying, “I’ll not do it again.” An animal had to be taken to the tabernacle. You had to slay it and allow the priest to cut it up. That took time. A good chance you’d get animal blood on you. The sounds of a gasping animal dying because it’s throat was slit fills the air. The smell of burning animals and blood saturate your skin and nose. And, this wasn’t a once in a lifetime process. You’d be doing this over and over and over. Would one ever get used to this?

  And, what would your children think, when you took a cute one-year-old lamb away from the house and you did not come back with it. How would you explain what happened to that little lamb? When they asked why you sinned and caused this, what would you say? 

  As powerful and wonderful and liberating as the complete sacrifice of Jesus is, I wonder if there is just a big disconnect between our sins and what it took to bring forgiveness. The death of a person. The bleeding Jesus died for us. We know that by faith. We read that in our Bibles. But, we don’t see it. We don’t walk down a road with a lamb or cow tied to a rope that we are leading.

  Sacrifices…Leviticus…how dare anyone say ‘that book’ is boring? One needs to drive out to the county and take a look at some cows. That may change your thinking just a bit.