Then you will slaughter the bull in the presence of God at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Take some of the bull's blood and smear it on the horns of the Altar with your finger; pour the rest of the blood on the base of the Altar. Exodus 29:11-12 (MSG)
Have you ever picked up a novel and started reading it from the middle, or started watching a movie half-way in? It's a crazy-maker, isn't it? You find yourself trying to follow threads of the story without knowing what happened before. You feel lost and confused about characters and where the story is going.
According to God's message, the history of mankind is, indeed, a story. It's His-story. It is the story of man's willful disobedience, fall from God's grace and God's work of restoring that broken relationship. Without the context of the entire story, the chapters (like today's) are difficult to understand. The sacrificial system we read about it Exodus is brutal and confusing in today's world. Yet, it is an important piece of the larger story.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit in the Garden of Eden, relationship was broken and the punishment was mortality and death. For that ultimate disobedience to be forgiven, the penalty price of death had to be paid. God's message tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness for sin. The consequence of our sins is brutally destructive. The price of our redemption is equally as brutal. That's why Jesus had to die, and his blood had to be shed. God's own son was the ultimate sacrifice.
The sacrifical system of Exodus is but a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice God would make for me, for you, for all mankind. The daily, bloody affair prescribed for the wandering Israelites was a constant reminder of the seriousness of our disobedience – and the hight price of our redemption.
Today, I'm thankful for God, who provided the ultimate sacrifice for me.