Romans 12:1 (ERV) “So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him—an offering that is only for God and pleasing to him. Considering what he has done, it is only right that you should worship him in this way.” “Which is your reasonable service” (KJV)
For the last few weeks I’ve been reading about Moses leading the People of Israel through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Through him God laid down His Laws including how to offer sacrifices. Now I can see several reasons for these sacrifices. The main one being, found in Hebrews 9:22 “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
In the Old Testament, Christ had not yet come to be the perfect sacrificial Lamb, so the animals the people were to bring were to stand in place of that coming event.
Another reason is to show our commitment to follow God’s commands in how we are to worship Him. We are to bring the best we have to offer to God, First fruits, tithes and offerings. This is what is expected of us “which is your reasonable service”. In other words it’s the bare minimum of service. Tithing is required, where we are blessed is when we “offer” more than just what is required.
Remember the story in Luke 21:1-4? “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” That is sacrificial giving.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President of Holy Land Moments wrote the following.
“As people living in today’s society, it’s hard to relate to the worship practices of ancient societies, which revolved around bringing sacrifices to God, or in most cases, gods. It’s hard for us to imagine that burnt offerings were of any worth to the Almighty. Yet, here in Leviticus 1:2, we clearly find in the Bible a commandment from God to bring Him animal sacrifices.
In all other cases of sacrificial offerings, the premise was that the gods “needed” something from humans. But as followers of the God of Israel, we believe that God doesn’t need anything! What could He possibly want with dead animals?
The first hint of an answer can be derived from the Hebrew word for sacrifices, karbanot. The word karbanot comes from the word karov which means “close” as in “nearness.” The point of the karbanot was to bring us closer to God. In other words, God didn’t need them; we did!
This is how we bring sacrifices to God today; we bring Him ourselves.”
Closing thought – There is a saying that goes “Our life is a gift from God. What we do with our life is our gift to God!”