Don’t read this post right now if you have a queasy stomach. The message contains content that our contemporary minds don’t usually enjoy dwelling on. I think, however, the Lord can use what I have to say.
Lately, I’ve been reading through the Bible chronologically, which brought me to Exodus 29, a book I don’t normally read. I’ll be honest, all the blood and gore run counter to my present-day way of thinking. I gulped when I read how the priest put his hand on a young bull’s head. It made me think of how we pet our dogs. Only thing, the priest then slaughtered the animal.
The average church goer likely doesn’t dwell on the ancient Aaronic practices of sacrifice the Lord prescribed for the Israelites after they left Egypt. I’d rather read the Psalms or Book of Solomon or one of the gospels.
But as I read this chapter, I asked the Lord why the priests had to put some of the blood of the bull they’d slaughtered on their finger and then smear it on the altar. After that they poured the rest of the animal’s blood at the base of the altar. Exodus 29 goes on to say, they also took the fat on the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and both kidneys and burned them. Since I’m the squeamish type, I had to close my Bible.
Why did the Lord command this method of sacrifice for the early Israelites? I’m no Biblical scholar so I could only come to my limited conclusions. The purpose of the sacrifice was to cover the sins of His people. Then it struck me. Sin is messy. When most murders are committed or an abortion takes place, there’s blood.
Other sins aren’t so bloody but can pierce us to our deepest core—like gossip, slander, or foul language hurled our way. Then other sins such as theft or betrayal of a spouse can upheave our entire lives.
But here’s the good news. My pastor doesn’t have to dip his finger in blood or deal with animal parts to gain atonement for himself and his congregation. Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, made the final sacrifice for us so we are not guilty when we someday stand in front of a sinless God. His shed blood on the cross was and is sufficient.