“If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord. Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He shall kill the bull before the Lord; and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting” (Leviticus 1:3-5)
How do you view the sins you have committed in your life? Do you treat them lightly since everyone else is committing them or do they weigh heavily on your heart because you realize that in committing them you have failed God and that a terrible price had to be paid because of your sin?
After Moses and the Israelites erect the tabernacle (Exodus 40:1-38), God calls Moses and gives instructions regarding the various sacrifices which were to be offered in worship to Him (Leviticus 1:1-7:38). Among these different offerings to be offered in worship to God was the sacrifice of the burnt offering (Leviticus 1:1-17). God gives detailed instructions of how this was to be offered.
Sometimes, we read quickly through some of these Old Testament passages which speak about animal sacrifices without thinking too much about them. However, it is important to our spiritual understanding to note what was involved in these sacrifices. If you take careful note of the opening passage above (Leviticus 1:3-5), you will see that the individual Israelite who was bringing this burnt offering had to LAY HIS HAND on the bull and kill it himself (Leviticus 1:4). He would feel the animal breathing and looking around before he killed it. Furthermore, after killing the bull, the person had to skin and cut up the animal (Leviticus 1:6). After this, the individual Israelite had to wash the animal’s entrails and legs himself before giving the priest the rest of the animal was offered on the altar (Leviticus 1:8-9). This had to be a gruesome experience for the Israelite worshipping God!
Why would God require a person to do this? I am not sure of all the reasons, but I do know that it certainly would make the person aware of the consequences of their own sin. They would see that their own sin against God caused the death of another. The ghastly experience of offering an animal sacrifice would help the individual Israelite realize the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
However, all of these animal sacrifices we read about in the Old Testament could not take away the sins of man. The Hebrew writer reminds us, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). These sacrifices were offered in faith looking forward to the time when God would send His own Son, Jesus, to pay the price for the sins of the world (Hebrews 10:1; John 3:16). The apostle Peter writes: “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
How do I view my sin? Do I take it seriously or do I treat it as “no big deal” since everyone else is doing it? May such Old Testament Scriptures as this, cause me to see the serious nature of my own sins. This does not mean that as a Christian I should walk around with a sad face because of my sin. I can rejoice as a Christian because I have been forgiven of our sin through the sacrifice of Christ. Because of GOD’S GREAT LOVE FOR ME he provided Christ as the sacrifice for my sin.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).