Psalm 50:3 Our God comes and does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, and a mighty tempest all around him. 4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: 5 “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” 6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge.
V.5 refers to a “covenant with me by sacrifice”. A covenant is like a promise between two parties. The people promised to honor the will and ways of God via the law while God promised to provide protection and provision for his people. When the people sinned against God they would offer animal sacrifices as a means of repentance, to which God would respond with forgiveness and restoration of the relationship. This practice of animal sacrifice continued for many centuries.
Bu then Jesus, the very son of God, came along. When Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice for sin on the cross, he satisfied the requirements of sacrifice in blood – forever. No more animal sacrifice needed. Now forgiveness of sin and restoration of relationship to God comes as a gift of grace through Jesus.
In the Moravian Daily Texts we are also reading through Leviticus. We’re in the section that spells out exactly how sacrifices were to be done, by whom, and for what purpose. The sons of Aaron (Moses’ brother) comprised the priestly class and were responsible for correctly butchering animals for sacrifice, cleaning the pieces properly, then burning them as an offering to God on behalf of the animal owner. It would have been bloody, messy work for sure. As a clergy person I appreciate the fact that we no longer offer animal sacrifices.
Lord Jesus, you gave yourself once and for all as a sacrifice for our sins. We can never repay you, but we are grateful to you and give you thanks this morning. We pray this in your holy name. Amen.