Updated: Jul 16, 2018
I was doing a study on the book of Leviticus a few months ago and I must admit, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Leviticus has always been a difficult book for me to read. So many laws about how to live and even more about the required animal sacrifices and how they were supposed to be done. I used to struggle to see its relevance in my life, but I think going through the book with a more teachable mindset, I now see why all those commandments and offerings were so important.
The sacrifices were gruesome. I struggle to watch scenes in movies with too much violence. Sometimes I even find it hard to cut up a raw chicken in preparation for dinner. So, the thought of not only watching an animal die but killing it with my own hands is so far removed from my reality that I can’t even imagine what it is like. This was a reality for so many of the Israelites though. The law was that you had to bring an animal to the tabernacle as a sin offering. You would then have to place your hand on its head as it was being killed.
I heard a preacher say that he believed that God had you place your hand on the head of this animal, so that you could see the weight of your sin. Can you imagine how this animal must’ve pleaded and struggled for it’s life when it began to understand what was going on? I always used to think of it as life leaving the body it once occupied, but in this case, I see it as death taking over a space where life no longer resides. That is the consequence of sin isn’t it? Death.
We had communion at church not long after I completed this study. I cried. What manner of love is this, that a man would lay down his life for a friend? The reality is that someone had to reconcile the weight of my sinful nature with the holiness of God. Only this time, the sacrifice did not struggle or plead when He stood face to face with the pain and consequence of my sin. He paid with His life a price I could never afford with a thousand of my own lifetimes. So much pain and affliction. So much blood shed. The brutality of it all, so that I might share in His abundant Life.
I have had twenty-six birthdays before this one, but this one more than any other I approach with a clearer vision of what life really means. What better way to celebrate life than to celebrate the One who gave it.
Happy Birthday to me!