The priest's must have been good bbq'ers. I wonder if Aaron had a special bbq sause? You'd think plain old meat all the time might need some extra spice. Well today I read as you might have guessed Leviticus 1-14. The key theme of these chapters so far has been the proper implementation of God's system of making the Israelites Holy. In Lev 11:45 (right at the bottom of some really boring stuff, I found a jewel) it said "Be Holy because I am Holy". That's the point of all these specifications, God is saying "I want you to be like me". And this would make sense since back in Exodous 19:5 God had made a conditional covenant with them basically saying "if you do what I tell you to do then I'm going to make you special and you will represent me to the rest of the world". That's what the burnt, grain, fellowship, sin and guilt offering's are all about, they were about making Israel holy.
Now the Israelites were flawed (as were every other nation at that time, and as are every person/nation today), they were just fortunate enough to have been chosen by God through a promise made to an individual (Abraham) passed on to a series of individuals (Issac, Jacob or Israel the father of the Israelites). Some might say they were blessed, which they were but the more I think about it, many might say they weren't blessed at all. Being chosen by God to be His Holy representatives meant they had to change, and let's be honest change is never easy, this is something I can say with confidence as history and my daily life experiences ring true, humans don't like change, even change for the better, sometimes people would rather stay in the junk of life rather than having to go through the stages of change to move into a better place. (ie. the Israelites wanted to go back to those ruthless slave driving Egyptians then be free with the hope of a new free life in a promise land, woman often stay with their abusive partners because changing what they know would be too hard). So Leviticus shows us all the ways that God was specifically going to change the Israelites, and He was serious as we learn in Lev 10 as Nadab and Abihu (Aaron's sons) got sloppy with the instruments used for burning incense and God consumes them with fire, killing them instantly. God wasn't messing around, He was serious about making them Holy.
Some interesting facts I learned..
- They sacrificed two lambs every day, plus whatever else was offered. (imagine the smell and the amount of animals they would be killing every day)
- The fire could never go out (imagine how much wood they would need)
- 3 kinds of sin.
1. Sins you were aware of and guilty of.
2. Sins your not aware of and yet guilty of.
3. Sins you not aware of and must become aware of in order to be guilty.
- Before an animal was sacrificed they "layed their hands on it's head". This was done to show that the animal had become their substitute, as well they were transfering their sins to the animal which was now the sin-bearer. God established at the begining the need for a substition and a bearer of sin's in order for one to become forgiven and holy.
While finishing my time in prayer, I thought about how simple and tangible it was for those Israelites to fix their sins. As part of their day all they had to do was grab one of their good female lambs, slaughter it and go through the process and by dinner they could be feeling all good about themselves. Then God alerted me of problem in my thinking. It was never the person who was fixing the sin, God was providing the way out. He was making them holy, they couldn't make themselves holy, just because they brought the lamb didn't mean they were fixing the sin. God had provided the system of forgiveness, God had provided the means (the lamb, the ability to walk to the altar, the altar...) of forgiveness. Forgiveness today comes through the eternal sacrifice of Jesus, and our conversation with Jesus, our acceptance of that humilating deed done for us. We place our hands on the head of Jesus, he takes our spot, His blood is sprinkled over us and we become Holy. Again God has fixed the sin, God has provided the means. And it doesn't feel that great because it means I didn't fix the problem, all I do is accept defeat. And I can imagine what it felt like to be an Israelite back then, it would be a constant cycle of sin, kill something, walk home with the blood on your hands and a burden of guilt.
Sin isn't pretty to God, neither was His remedy.