Thanks so much for stopping by today. It’s been on my heart and mind to go back and finish this series we began last year that actually was within another series called Destination? Joyful! ™ Since joy is necessary to represent our faith and is an important link in the chain of things necessary to keep the faith, I thought it would be best to start over, especially since it’s been several months since we’ve talked about this! Oh, and by the way, grab your red Strand of faith (yarn) so we can tie some knots in it together and grab your coffee, too.
See, the Red Letters are in the New Testament, but God’s plan of shed blood began back in Genesis, so as we explore various things this year, we can encourage one another with our red Strand of Faith that will hopefully be full of knots at the end of 2015. Something tells me we’re going to get to tie quite a few from this series.
For those of you new to Coffee Hour, get yourself about an 18-24” strand of red yarn and every time you read something from my heart to yours that encourages and/or speaks to your soul, tie a knot in your Strand of Faith. There will be little stops along the way where I ask you to hold up your strand of faith and take a look at it because a strand of yarn filled with knots is not very likely to become unraveled and when the storms of life hit, and they will, you won’t come all undone either, but remain fixed, strong, in your faith without unraveling!
Did you know as followers, not just fans of Christ, but honest-to-goodness followers of Christ, there are seven sacrifices required of us in the course of our faith walk? I don’t know about you, but any time I hear the word sacrifice, I don’t grimace but I do kind of stop in my tracks … the word sacrifice has a sort of “uh-oh” factor to it. So before we learn about the seven sacrifices He requires of us and from us, let’s grab our shovels and do some digging for the meaning of this word.
Yikes, this is another biggie! This word, and all its forms, is in the Bible over 400 times! Don’t go anywhere; though it’s used that many times, there are just a few contexts to explore. Our search will surely be rewarding and should only take a few minutes.
So the first time the word sacrifice comes up is in Genesis, which is no surprise because the Old Testament, aka the Law, sacrifices were the main theme, and the bloodier, the better! Sorry, I didn’t mean to gross you out, but it is important to know the history and the importance of the blood, which means “the life of,” because this sort of sacrificing led us to the ultimate sacrifice of the “One” Whose blood was shed for you and me! So, the first translation is “zebach,” and means: “offer, offerings” and, “to slay an animal,” and then the concordance goes on to describe who can slay the animal and why and in what type of ceremony, but the overall context symbolized that without the shedding of blood, there is/was no remission of sins!
I’m going to spare you some of the gory details of sacrifice but I must give you this scripture to lay a firmer foundation: Lev. 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.”
This to me is incredibly prophetic of what was to come for them … and for us, but let me give you this commentary from the Hebrew concordance so we can appreciate the significance and richness of the necessity of a sacrifice: “Since the blood was the vehicle of life, it belonged to God alone.” In other words, He’s the author of life, the giver of life … and the taker of life.
“Because the blood is the life, and because it is given to God in the process of pouring it about the altar, it becomes the means of expiating sin as an offering for sin, not because it becomes a substitute for the sinner.” So it was a life for sin so you didn’t have the sin for life!
Wow! There is so much symbolism here. Understanding that expiating means to do something as a way or means of showing you are sorry for doing something bad, to extinguish the guilt. So expiation is a part of sacrifice!
Oh, but this is getting good … Join me tomorrow for more digging to understand this word sacrifice and what role it has in our lives, for such a time as this!
Enjoying the digging,