Now, not having a deep understanding of the sacrificial practices makes me well aware that there is probably a lot more information in these passages that I don’t see. I am hugely blessed to go to a church with a pastor that understands them well and sheds light on the subject so I am happy to say that I have more understanding than I once did. But the beautiful thing about the Bible is that what we are told about it being living and active is true. Even if I miss a lot of the depth because of a lack of understanding, there is still something in there for me that the Spirit reveals. (However, it does make me want to learn so that I don’t miss out on some of the deeper meanings.)
I have this handy dandy chart in my Bible that gave me the references for the different kind of offerings, but also the reasons for each one. My first observation is that the Burnt, Grain, and Fellowship offerings were voluntary. Which makes sense because I didn’t see when and why these were to be done. They are just something that people felt led to do as an act of worship. There is some other interesting information in the chart, but the real thing that stood out to me was the Sin offering, specifically verses 13-21.
Now we clearly recognize the connection between the sin offering and Jesus’ future role. Which we need to keep in mind because I see some parallels of behavior that seem missing currently that maybe shouldn’t be. The first note that I want to make is that this offering is for unintentional sin when it becomes realized. Meaning that ignorance at the time does not let us off the hook. Here, sin is clearly not just the things we intentionally do, the temptation we fall under but know we shouldn’t, but is also the things we do completely unaware until later we start to think about it. To me, this is most commonly in the form of something I say to someone that was gossip or speaking ill of someone. And I think women struggle with this very naturally so it can easily be unintentional. I think guilt can be this for us too- specifically, going back to the passage about staying when the cloud stays and leaving when it leaves- we can be so prone to guilt as women that I think we also unintentionally can sin by saying yes to a bunch of things when God wants us to stay and be still. Not being a man, I won’t pretend to have insight into their naturally bent sin habits.
However, the main thought I had going through this passage was “the whole Israelite community- I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a corporate sin confession and forgiveness even though I know be bee a part of unintentional corporate sin.” Have you? I honestly don’t even know what that would look like because it is so foreign to me. How many Bible studies have I been a part of that at times were complaining or gossip sessions instead of searching for the heart of God? How many times have I been involved in questioning the authority of one of the leaders God has placed over me? These are all things that I know happen on a corporate level in churches, and I’ve been on both the giving and the receiving sides. But what I haven’t been a part of is any kind of corporate “sacrifice” in response to the situation. (Can you imagine if we applied this to our families and friendships??)
Why is that? And more importantly what are we missing out on because we don’t do this? If these sacrificial ceremonies were to make the people right before God and to restore that relationship then we have a huge part of our relationships with Him that are still broken. It makes me think that maybe the contrast between the incredibly visable and tangible ways that God interacts with His people in the Bible and what we experience now could be because of this issue. Just a thought… Just maybe…
Tomorrow’s Reading: 5-7