Last we read, we were tracking the rebellious Israelites as they decided to obey God—but only halfway. In fact, it seemed more like about 90 percent of the way to me. But God would have none of it. He wanted their obedience to be all or nothing
A lot of people read passages like this and come to the wrong conclusion that God is too harsh.
He’s not harsh enough if you ask me.
You say, “Well nobody asked you.”
Oh contrar, you’re reading my blog aren’t you? Then let’s continue, shall we?
Let’s take a closer look at the passage in question again:
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to Aaron and his sons and all the people of
3 “If any native Israelite sacrifices a bulla]’>[a] or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp 4 instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacleb]’>[b] to present it as an offering to the Lord, that person will be as guilty as a murderer.c]’>[c] Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. 5 The purpose of this rule is to stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will ensure that they bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the Lord as peace offerings. 6 Then the priest will be able to splatter the blood against the Lord’s altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and he will burn the fat as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 7 The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols.d]’>[d] This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation.
8 “Give them this command as well. If any native Israelite or foreigner living among you offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice 9 but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer it to the Lord, that person will be cut off from the community.
There are two very important themes of this chapter:
- The one acceptable place of sacrifice
- The Value of the blood
Even though patriarchs like Abraham and Noah, etc offered their various sacrifices on open hilltops and so forth, from this point forward God wanted His people to focus on one particular place—the tabernacle. Henceforth forth only “blood sacrifices offered at the door of the temple of the congregation” would avail.
Apparently that was too inconvenient for some of the Israelites, so they started offering the sacrifices whenever and wherever they pleased.
Some might offer, “Hey, at least they were still interested in spiritual things. At least they were still offering sacrifices at all. Doesn’t that count for something?”
Yes, something disobedient.
And God says He is uninterested in sacrifices offered flippantly or in disobedience. Don’t even bother.
Today, places are still important to the Lord though He resides everywhere and in the hearts of His people rather than just at the Temple. But today, the Lord has the church in mind as the place where believers congregate to worship corporately. He also has a place of service (Hebrews 10:24).
What is your place of worship and what is your place of service?