Inside: A bite-sized devotional study on Hebrews 10:1-4
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.Hebrews 10:1-4, NKJV
It started with the fall of Adam and Eve. After they disobeyed God, that sin brought death into the world. The glory of God no longer clothed them. So God Himself took an animal and sacrificed it to make a new covering for them.
Later in the Genesis timeline, the patriarch Abraham is asked to sacrifice his promised son and heir, Isaac. As we know, God instead provides a ram caught in a thicket, a foreshadowing of the greater exchange to come–Christ becoming our Passover lamb, taking away the sin of humanity by faith.
In Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, we learn more about animal sacrifice as it’s outlined by God. Even though it’s tough and foreign to us, I highly recommend reading those chapters. (…actually I recommend just reading the entirety of the Word starting at the beginning. It brings so much understanding to everything that comes later!)
But this system was only a shadow of better things to come.
The Old Way
As the passage in Hebrews tells us, these sacrifices were a constant reminder to the people of their sin.
Leviticus 16 specifically lays out the yearly practice being referenced in this passage–the Day of Atonement. A bull was offered to cleanse the high priest (in this case, it was still Aaron), a goat was offered to cleanse the temple, and then there was a second “scapegoat.” The high priest would lay his hands onto the head of the scapegoat, transferring the sin of all Israel onto the animal, and then it was released into the wilderness.
So every year, they watched as their sin ran away into the distance.
But this ritual could not actually cleanse them. It only gave them a picture–a reference point for their faith in the future Messiah to cling to.
God’s Perfect Plan
How does the old way compare to the Perfect Sacrifice?
- acts as our High Priest, but is without sin unlike previous men
- washed our sins away in His own blood–He was the perfect spotless Lamb
- became the Way for us to have peace with God and be grafted in to His family
How much more precious is the Lamb of God than common bulls and goats!
His sacrifice cost everything. And yet, He gave it freely.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23, NKJV
Lord, I thank You for Your perfect plan and for the tutor of the Law that pointed Your people toward the better Way–the sacrifice of Your Son who willingly laid down His life for those who were His enemies. Abba, I thank You for Your love–that it’s not Your will that we should perish but that You provided the atonement for our sins. The ram in the thicket (Genesis 22). You didn’t hold back Your perfect Son for us, even though we’ve fallen short and brought wickedness and death into the world that You shaped with Your own hands. We have been Your enemy, and yet You gave Your life to save us. You traded Your innocence for our guilt and wore our shame. And all we can say is thank You.
Give us eyes and ears to discern Your heart in all Your actions and systems that we read about in Your Word. Lord, give us a revelation of the depths of Your love for us. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen
Until next time,
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