God calls for all worship to be centralized, specifically in His Tabernacle. No more making altars wherever and whenever you wanted.
When we last met I pondered the idea of the multiple sacrifices making the people numb to the death required for the offerings and sacrifices. Did they ever go through the motions without the feeling behind it? Did they ever put their hand out with the knife and not see the great substitution work taking place? Did they value the life they were taking as if it was their own?
I think God addresses some of that in today’s reading. God commanded them to bring EVERY ox or lamb or goat that they would kill to the tent of meetings and to offer thanks to Him for its life. God made sure they honored EVERY life taken for whatever reason. I don’t see here that He is simply talking about the animals used in the sacrifices but ALL the animals that were killed, even those for food.
The penalty for not doing so was huge! They would be guilty of its blood and would be cut off from among his people. It wasn’t a physical death sentence as would be called for to repay the death of another person but it was a separation that no person wanted.
God values EVERY LIFE, man and animal. He gave us the animals as food but their lives matter to Him too. He sees how we treat them. How we use their lives has to be in honor to them and Him; their, and our, Creator.
Another thing God did with this command was to bring all the worship and sacrifice under one “roof.” God set down laws as to how He wanted sacrifices to be conducted, including what to do with the blood afterwards. He also set down who was to do what. No longer would He honor sacrifices made any way and anywhere. They had to be done HIS way and in HIS house to be honored by Him.
The people were practicing whatever they wanted wherever they chose. Things were creeping in that God would not allow. They were the very first generation out of Egypt and were still clinging to some of their past practices. God had to tighten the reins to get them into order for His work to succeed. He wanted a nation after His own heart. Not half-hearted or watered down with their own practices, but completely in step with His plans.
When I was thinking about this passage I reflected on the fact that God allows us to meet Him wherever we are. He doesn’t say that we can’t talk to Him unless we are standing in the church. Which church would He even choose for His centralized location now? I was thinking that this portion of His Law didn’t apply to us anymore. It doesn’t geographically but it does spiritually.
When the people came to the door of the tent of meeting their aim was to meet with God. There was only one way into this special place; through the door. NO ONE climbed the walls or crawled under them to meet with Him. His door was always open to any who came the right way; through the door and through the priest.
WE come to Him through ONE Door and ONE Priest too. That Door and Priest is Jesus Christ. We can’t go around Him and reach the Father. We can’t crawl under or climb over either. We have to go through Jesus and His blood sacrifice to meet the Father. There is NO OTHER WAY. Adding or subtracting to what God called for won’t work either. Either Jesus is EXACTLY Who and what He said He was or He is nothing. He either did EVERYTHING necessary for our salvation or His works were useless. NOTHING needs added and NOTHING can be taken away. HE IS THE ONLY WAY TO THE FATHER. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6). “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
Father God, thank You that I don’t have to go to some specific geographical region to be with You. Thank You that You meet me RIGHT HERE on my living room couch. Thank You that You made a “portable Door” for me to walk through. Without Your planning and sacrifice I would still be locked out.
Jesus, THANK YOU for being that Door for me! I would be forever shut out even if I could reach the physical location. I couldn’t reach the Spiritual one. You did more than the Tabernacle door. You opened the way ALL the way into Your Father’s presence. This was FAR beyond where any of the people could go. Thank You for taking me right into the Father’s presence and for not being “jealous” when I crawl up into His lap for story time. Thank You for sitting down too and pointing out things in the stories. I LOVE hearing and feeling Your voice!