The Intent of the Law
A daily devotion for April 12th
11 and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.”
12 Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take the grain offering left over from the food offerings prepared without yeast and presented to the Lord and eat it beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13 Eat it in the sanctuary area, because it is your share and your sons’ share of the food offerings presented to the Lord; for so I have been commanded. 14 But you and your sons and your daughters may eat the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. Eat them in a ceremonially clean place; they have been given to you and your children as your share of the Israelites’ fellowship offerings. 15 The thigh that was presented and the breast that was waved must be brought with the fat portions of the food offerings, to be waved before the Lord as a wave offering. This will be the perpetual share for you and your children, as the Lord has commanded.”
16 When Moses inquired about the goat of the sin offering and found that it had been burned up, he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and asked, 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before the Lord. 18 Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.”
19 Aaron replied to Moses, “Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the Lord have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?” 20 When Moses heard this, he was satisfied.
Aaron replied to Moses,Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the Lord have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?When Moses heard this, he was satisfied. Lev 10:19-20
Do you see the problem here? There were two kinds of sin offering, as explained in the law of the sin offering in Chapter 6. In one the blood was to be carried into the inner sanctuary, into the holy place, and there it was to be sprinkled on the horns of the golden altar of fragrant incense. That was required as a picture of the depravity of man's evil. And because of that depravity no part of the animal was to be eaten but it was all to be taken outside the camp and burned.
But there was another kind of sin offering in which the blood was sprinkled on the horns of the brazen altar in the outer court. There the flesh of the animal was to be eaten by the priests as a picture of their understanding of the nature of their evil and as a token of their acceptance of the forgiveness of God.
This offering was of the second kind. The blood had not been brought into the sanctuary and so Moses said,
You should have eaten this meat! Why didn't you? He is afraid lest the judgment of God consume the rest of these priests. But Aaron explains:
Two of my sons have sinned. And even though a sin offering had been offered this very morning, yet they died. Evidently there is some depth of depravity here that we don't understand but which has taken their lives. Therefore it seemed to me that the LORD would not be pleased if I ate the sin offering. So we have treated it as though the blood were sprinkled before the golden altar, and the body of this animal has been burned in its entirety.
When Moses heard that, he realized that Aaron had gone deeper than the letter of the law; he had understood the intent of it. He had understood what God is after in these sacrifices and rituals and ceremonies. And so God, mercifully, does not exercise any judgment here. Aaron has pressed beyond the letter to the deep intent of the law. Moses is content with that.
This attitude always pleases God. God is really not at all interested in our ritual. That is something we need so desperately to understand. He is not impressed by the fact that we come to church every Sunday, if that is all we do. He doesn't care that we stand and sing and pray and witness, or whatever we do, if our heart is not in it. What he is after is what happens in the heart. David understood this when he wrote,
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalms 51:17)
That is what God is after with us. He doesn't want any kind of religious nonsense. What he wants is a heart that is open, responsive, honest, and obedient before him. With that God is greatly pleased. That delights his heart.
Lord, I want to meet you, the living Word. Make my life a medium, not of biblical scholarship, but of fellowship with Christ.
Life Application: God is not pleased with mere outward conformity to the law but always that we seek to understand its intent. Are our minds being taught what is holy and pleasing to God by the renewing of our minds?
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