Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blood and Guts

Leviticus. Full of the blood and entrails and body parts of bulls and goats and birds and lambs. The singling out of a spotless sacrifice. Laying of hands on the animal, then the killing. Draining the blood. Dismembering the body. Burning on the altar. Creating a pleasing aroma to the LORD...

This is where I find myself in my quiet times - reading God's word. Blood, guts, sin, guilt. Pardon. The details of the sacrifices are stunning. Different offerings call for sacrifices in different ways for the same animals. In the burnt offering: the entrails and legs are washed. Peace offerings speak of the kidneys and liver. Sin offerings include the kidneys and liver too, but are even more vivid. The flesh, head, entrails and dung are taken outside the tent and burned. The birds' (turtledove or pigeon) head is wrung off, blood drained, torn open by it's wings (but not severed completely) then burned.

The verses that really moved me to think were Leviticus 3:9-10:

9 From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the LORD: its fat, the entire fat tail cut off close to the backbone, the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 10both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys.

The God who created these beasts - who planned the way the organs would work together in order for them to live - was now instructing His people on how to sacrifice them. Which specific parts to use and how to cut them. The severing of the tail close to the backbone. His creation, torn apart, in order to atone for the sins of His people. I began to think that maybe as God was creating these beasts, He knew what they would be used for. Even though He created them before the Fall - when they were to be cared for by Adam and Eve - He knew that sin would enter the world. Despite this, in His kindness He had a plan to remove that sin. First by commanding sacrifices be made. Then later by giving one final sacrifice.

Just. Wow. Under the old covenant, God commanded that His own creation be sacrificed to atone for the sins of His chosen people. Bloody, messy, continuous sacrifices.

And how truly amazing is it that God would love His people so much that He would later provide a once and permanent sacrifice. By sending His only son - spotless, sinless, guiltless, full of love - to die. For all who would repent and believe. To reconcile sinners to Himself. To change them back to what they were created to be. And all for His glory. Under the new covenent, God gave His only son to atone for the sins of His chosen people.

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