14 But burn the bull’s flesh and its hide and its intestines outside the camp. It is a sin offering.
18 Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord.
21 And take some blood from the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. Then he and his sons and their garments will be consecrated.
24 Put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons and have them wave them before the Lord as a wave offering. 25 Then take them from their hands and burn them on the altar along with the burnt offering for a pleasing aroma to the Lord, a food offering presented to the Lord.26 After you take the breast of the ram for Aaron’s ordination, wave it before the Lord as a wave offering, and it will be your share.
27 “Consecrate those parts of the ordination ram that belong to Aaron and his sons: the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. 28 This is always to be the perpetual share from the Israelites for Aaron and his sons. It is the contribution the Israelites are to make to the Lord from their fellowship offerings.
Exodus 29:14, 18, 21, 24-28, 31-35 (New International Version)
The Importance of Sacrifice
In Exodus 29, the Lord instructs Moses in how Aaron and his sons were to be ordained as priests on behalf of Israel. The entire ceremony consisted of the sacrifice of one bull and two rams, as well as the sprinkling of blood upon Aaron and his sons. In our modern age, this ceremony may sound strange to us. What are we to learn from this passage since we don’t offer animal sacrifices anymore?
The Reason for Sacrifice
In order to understand the message of this chapter, it is important to understand why livestock were sacrificed in the first place. To have fellowship with God, man had to be holy just as He is holy. Unfortunately, because of sin, man became tainted in the eyes of the Lord and any person who tried to approach God would be struck down dead before Him.
In order to approach the Lord, the shedding of blood was necessary to cover the blemish of sin. That is because the act of sin is an crime of treason before God, and such a crime is punishable by death. However, the Lord did not want to kill His creation, so He introduced the system of animal sacrifice. The animal would “bear” upon itself the sin of the man; and when it was sacrificed, it atoned or covered up the sin, and allowed the man to approach the Lord and worship.
Guidelines for Sacrifice
Since the purpose of these sacrifices were to atone for sin, the Lord had strict guidelines as to what animals were acceptable as offerings to Him. All the animals had to be clean, with no defects, and the first born from the flock and herd. In other words, nothing but the best was acceptable as a sacrifice to God.
Loving God More
When an Israelite gave his offering to the Lord, he did not treat it lightly, for what he was sacrificing to God was his most prized possession. If I was to give a modern equivalent, it would be like selling your luxury car and giving the money from the sale to the Lord. When they gave their offerings to God, they were expressing that they loved Him more than their material treasures. Furthermore, their sacrifices showed that they recognized that everything that they had came from God. Their offering was a show of thankfulness to the One who gave them all things.
As followers of Christ, we are called to make daily sacrifices to the Lord. Just as Jesus sacrificed His life to atone for our sins, we too must offer ourselves as living offerings for the service of our King of Kings. These offerings of ourselves may consist of letting go of worldly possessions or status; and it may even require us to give our very lives in our mission to God.
Earthly Sacrifice, Divine Reward
Such sacrifices may hinder some believers from following God wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, without earthly sacrifice, there is no divine reward. In His Holy Bible, Jesus tells us that when we let go of things on earth, we gain greater treasures in heaven. Therefore, let’s daily present ourselves to God as living sacrifices, giving everything we are to Him, and when we do so, we will acquire a prize far more valuable than anything this world has to offer.