I had a fear that if I tried to blog through the Bible that I would have lots of passages- like these- that I would have nothing to say about. So I almost decided not to try. Which I find is a general tendency I have- trying to cover for God when I think He might not “pull through.” However, the reality is that this is more rooted in fear and just a simple lack of faith than anything else. Which is one of things that has blessed me the most about this blogging experiment so far- God has always shown me something cool to share.
Today I want to talk in general about the sacrificial system. My handy dandy chart (in my study Bible) on the sacrifices explains that if multiple sacrifices were offered, there was an order they would be done. First was any sin or guilt offering, second the burnt offering and third the fellowship or grain offering. Here is what the chart explains:
First, sin had to be dealt with (sin offering or guilt offering). Second, the worshiper committed themselves completely to God (burnt offering and grain offering). Third, fellowship or communion between the Lord, the priest, and the worshiper (fellowship offering) was established. To state it another way, there were sacrifices of expiation (sin offerings and guilt offerings), consecration (burnt offerings and grain offerings) and communion (fellowship offerings- these included vow offerings, thank offerings, and free will offerings).
– NIV First-Century Study Bible, noted by Ken Dobson, Zondervan 2014
This process is similar to what we saw in Exodus 33-35. The first step is always dealing with sin. The only way that everything else works is if sin is dealt with. Fellowship with God and other people is contingent on this. Sin is a barrier between us and God and so restoring a clear and righteous relationship with Him is always the first step. It’s also important to mention here that Leviticus has made it clear that unintentional sin can still separate us from God. Which is an important distinction from our current view sometimes. Another difference with our current view sometimes is the importance of repentance. Being truly sorry, and admitting your guilt. It is also interesting to note that these sin and guilt offerings were mandatory. They had to be done for the system God set up to work.
Next were the burnt and the grain offerings which were voluntary and symbols of surrender and complete devotion. Clearly there is a voluntary nature to these. These are an expression of the heart. Once we restore our relationship to God by clearing the sin between us, we have the choice to then respond with surrender and devotion. And it seems also clear to me that the more we surrender and devote ourselves to God, the less we will have to go back and clear the sin out. If I surrender everything but my fear of what people think of me, or I devote myself mostly to God but also to money, I will find myself back at the place where I need to repent of sin and those things I held back will be the topics. The goal in our walk is to mature over time and over time move closer and closer to complete and whole surrender and devotion. And therefore less and less sin.
The final step is the fellowship offering which was a voluntary act of thanksgiving. Ideally I would love to just live here- being fully devoted, surrendered and constantly just expressing thankfulness. This is the end goal.
Isn’t it amazing that God follows the same sequences then as He does now? It is evidence that what the Bible says about Him never changing is true.
Tomorrow’s Reading: 8-10