Reading through Leviticus has been a challenge.
I don’t mean this in the sense that it’s been hard for me to motivate myself to read through this book (though I will admit that some days that is the case), but Leviticus continually challenges me to look at my life and ask the hard questions.
Yesterday was another one of those moments. Reading through Leviticus 22, I had to stop at the following verses:
“You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you. And when anyone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD to fulfill a vow of as a freewill offering from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it.” – Leviticus 22:20-21
It would have been easy to simply acknowledge these verses and carry on. But simply reading without thinking over the text and asking questions won’t be sanctifying for you or glorifying to God.
So, I asked myself the question:
Why did a person’s sacrifice have to be perfect? Why would one seemingly ‘waste’ his best lamb or calf or goat when the animal would just end up dead? Why not just offer that imperfect lamb that wouldn’t last much longer? I can see how many would deem this as foolish and, honestly, a bit ridiculous.
Even as I asked myself these questions, I technically already knew the answers. However, my objective wasn’t to simply know why, but to truly mull over the questions and, in doing so, begin to grasp a bit of the weight of the answer.
When taking the time to do this, I realized that a person’s offering was to be perfect because it was a sacrifice to God and because of what it symbolized.
First, the offering was a sacrifice to God. You don’t give a king your scraps – you give Him your absolute best because of who He is. If a human king who is imperfect and sinful ought to receive one’s best, how much more ought that man give His best to God – the immortal, perfect, and holy King of all creation, throughout all eternity?
Second, the offering was to be perfect because of what it symbolized. Ever since the Fall of mankind into sin in the Garden of Eden, God required a offering for rebellion and disobedience. The sacrifice of a perfect lamb to grant forgiveness for current sin was a picture of the promise of the Perfect Lamb – the Messiah – who would conquer sin and death at Calvary, permanently forgiving sin once and for all.
After contemplating over this passage in Leviticus, I couldn’t help but consider if there might be any personal implications.
One thought I was reminded of is that what you offer up as a sacrifice to God tells how much you value Him. If you give God your leftovers and unwanteds, what is that saying about your love for God? As a Christian, you have surrendered to Christ and He is your personal Lord, Saviour, Redeemer and King; He deserves and has every reason to ask for your best. If you truly love God and desire to honour and glorify Him with your life – will you not indeed give Him your best?
The other reminder calls us to reflect upon the character of the God we serve. When we recognize that the cost of our redemption was Christ’s sacrificial death, and that He willingly chose to give Himself for us – how can we turn around and complain that God demands too much for us?
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As I brought my study to a close, I was faced with a blaring question: what will I offer? Will I keep my best for myself, or will I choose to joyfully sacrifice all to the Best? He gave His life for me – am I willing to surrender mine and do the same?