Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quality over Quantity

If you have been reading my blogs for a while you know that I am attempting to read through the Bible in a year. I did this last year and I am going to try to get through it again this year. Things are moving a little slow this year, I am only in II Chronicles and it is June. As I was reading the other morning I came across this passage:

II Chronicles 7: 4, 5 -  4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. 5 And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.

Thats a lot of blood that was shed. Can you imagine the scene, the smell the sounds? There must have been blood everywhere! The altar would have been covered, the priests garments would have been soaked in blood, what did they do with all of the carcases. I am not sure I could have been a priest back then. The last time I tried to give blood at work I passed out on the Blood Mobile just watching a little of my blood squirt into a tube! Whimp!

With that said, my question is this: Did all of that blood - gallons upon gallons upon gallons - take away any of Solomon's sins or any of the nation of Israel's sins? The answer can be found in scripture.

Hebrews 10: 1-4 - 1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Did you see what verse 4 said. Take another look if you missed it. All the old testament sacrifices did was temporarily covered the sins, they did not take away the sins. God knew this and had a plan all along. The ultimate sacrifice that would take away sins was the sacrifice of his son. John proclaimed this:

John 1: 29- The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 

The Lamb of God who "takes away" the sin of the world. He did not cover it, he took it away forever. If Christ only covered our sin we would have no right standing before God. His taking it away gives us the ability to stand before a Holy God and be accepted as blameless. Those who have trusted in the finished work of Christ can rest in the fact that Christ's sacrifice took away our sins forever. Hebrews 9 reiterates the idea that the blood of goats, bulls, rams and whatever else they sacrificed was insufficient however, Christ's sacrifice was sufficient:

Hebrews 9: 13-14- 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

In the end it is not the quantity of blood that was shed, it was the quality of blood that was shed. Christ lived a perfect life and allowed God's wrath against sinful man be taken out on himself. What a wonderful God we serve!

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