These Laws were given to the Israelites while they were still in the wilderness before they got to Canaan, the promised land. God was giving them laws to live by which would make them culturally different from all the other nations around them. They were to shed the customs and idols of Egypt from where they had come and form new customs and practices before driving the Canaanites from the promised land.
These days, as Christians, we no longer make animal sacrifices as part of our confession and worship. But we are required to shed the old ways of the life we led before we heard the gospel and came to faith in Jesus. As Christians it is our fellowship that builds the temple of the Lord. And it is into this temple of fellowship that we should bring our confession and whatever we can give as an offering to God. A life of faith without fellowship is not impossible but it is tough. With no guidance or support from others in the faith it might not be long before the ‘goat idols’ of a previous life or culture might creep back in. In this sense, it is still very much relevant today, that we bring our offering to the entrance of the tabernacle and seek the priests who can present our sacrifices to the Lord.
Leviticus 17:1-7 NLT
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel. This is what the LORD has commanded.
“If any native Israelite sacrifices a bull or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to present it as an offering to the LORD, that person will be as guilty as a murderer. Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. 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. 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. The people must no longer be unfaithful to the LORD by offering sacrifices to the goat idols. This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation.
It has been very difficult to come to terms with all the areas of sin I have found in my life since I began on this journey with Jesus. It continues to be difficult to leave behind some of the idols I worshipped before I came to faith. But I have found that the love and support of my wife and family along with the fellowship of all those I have met at church has really made a huge impact. I still have a very long way to go but I can see that there has been progress. There has been realisation and shame but there has also been transformation and forgiveness. My hope and my goal is simply to let this process continue.
Leviticus 16:29-18:30, Mark 7:24-8:10, Psalms 41:1-13, Proverbs 10:15-16