Leviticus: Sin Offerings, Blood, and Grace
“Today the LORD will appear to you.”
That phrase made me pause this morning as I was reading in Leviticus 9 during my devotions. And, to be honest, not much has made me pause since I started reading in Leviticus several days ago. I’ve actually been rushing my way through this book.
Even though I know that it’s the Word of God, and even though I know that it’s profitable for me to spend time in it, I have just been struggling to feel like I’m actually growing and fellowshipping with God. As terrible as my attitude may be, I just haven’t been all that excited about what kinds of animals get slaughtered for what purposes, and I certainly haven’t really cared about what happens to their kidneys and livers!
But this morning was different: this morning I slowed down and took my time. And that’s when I discovered this phrase from verse 4:
“Today the LORD will appear to you.”
So much had happened before this moment. God had given specific instructions for different types of offerings, including burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings in chapters 1-7. Through a long process of sacrifices in chapter 8, Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the Lord for the work of the priesthood. Then, eight days later, the people themselves had to prepare specific offerings in anticipation of this great climactic event: the appearing of their God.
And all of that made me wonder: how am I preparing to meet with the Lord today? I’ve just been going through the motions of doing my devotions, carelessly rushing through God’s Word. But have I been aware of the fact that today—today—God Himself may meet with me? That today God Himself may appear to me? Have I been aware of that fact . . . and am I even ready to be in His presence?
In so many ways, I should be disqualified from the privilege to be in God’s presence. If God were to appear to anyone, it shouldn’t be me. But I don’t relate to God on my merits—I relate to God on the merits of Jesus. I’m not trying to prepare the perfect sacrifice, to get all the steps in the right order. I don’t even have to take my sacrifice to a priest and let him do the work. All the work that needs to be done to prepare the way for me to be in God’s presence has already been done. Jesus did it all at the cross.
Ephesians 2:13 Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
So now, instead of cowering in the shadows, instead of fearing condemnation, instead of covering my sins, I can come boldly into God’s own presence each day. Instead of going to an earthly priest, I can approach my perfect priest, Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
And that’s what I learned from Leviticus this morning. I was reminded that Jesus is the perfect sin offering. I was reminded that His blood is what brings me near to Him. And I was reminded that I can always, daily, enter into the very presence of God to find grace to help in my times of need.