Lame Sacrifices

In the Old Testament sacrifices were given regularly for sins, these sacrifices mostly consisted of animals. But not just any animal, there were rules as to what kind and what condition the animal was to be in. If the animal did not meet the God’s requirements He would not accept it as a valid sacrifice, it was actually quite insulting to do so as you’ll read.

Leviticus 22:22 – ‘Those that are blind or broken or maimed, or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to the LORD.

Deuteronomy 15:21 – “But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.

However, we find during Malachi’s ministry some Israelites were offering just that – blind, sick, and lame. This is a terrible thing first of all they are disobeying the Law they claim to live by, second they are not sacrificing anything worth anything to the Lord, but being lazy and selfish, third they are unaware that they have offended the Lord.

Malachi 1
6 – “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’

7 – “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’
8 – And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the LORD of hosts.

“In what way have we despised Your name?” they ask as if completely unaware that they have done something that contradicts their covenant with God at the very core. Under the Old Covenant sacrifices were given as a sign of devotion to God and to pay for sins (Lev 4:35,5:10, Heb 9:22). Now that we live under grace, or the New Covenant, we don’t offer stuff or do things to be forgiven (Eph 1:7, Col1:14). If we did this (as some do) that would mean salvation is by works which clearly is not the case (Tts 3:5, Eph 2:9, Rom 10:10). However we do things and offer ourselves as a response to God’s great mercy displayed to us by the atoning death of Christ on the cross.

Rom 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

You, the Sacrifice

So what are you giving? Romans 12:1 uses the imagery of the sacrifices made in the Old Testament but makes the clarification that now we are on the altar offered to God, not for forgiveness but in thanks. How much of yourself have you offered willingly to God?

If you could picture it what would be on the altar? Just your Sunday mornings? Just your public life? Maybe your good times are given to God but not your hard times? What about your private life? Your thought life? Your time spent on the internet, TV, and weekends?

When I went to Germany for ministry work I was told not to cross my silverware on the plate after finishing my meal and leaving because it was a sign to the server that you were very displeased by the meal and service. This is similar to what the Israelites did to God, they had been delivered from and blessed so much but were still ungrateful and disobedient towards God.

Revelation Inspires Response

So what is your response to what all God has done for you? If there is no response or if it is half hearted and reluctant I ask that you examine your knowledge and revelation as to what God has done for you.

While speaking to an unbelieving friend in High School about Christianity she asked me “Why should I accept Jesus or believe in God?” I replied “Because of all the things He’s done for you” she quickly responded “What has God ever done for me?” I was amazed at the realization that she didn’t have a clue as to what God had done for her in providing salvation, forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, and the Word. I wonder if Christians suffer from this same lack of revelation as to what God has done for them. If the general populace of Western Christianity is lacking in an understanding of what God has done than that would explain the lack of devotion and response to God’s work. When you realize what God has done you will have an opportunity to respond. The greater the revelation, the greater the potential response on your part. How has your response been lately?

Rom 12:1 –
…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Gal 2:20 –
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

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9 thoughts on “Lame Sacrifices

  1. It is somewhat of a paradox.

    While animal sacrifices had to be perfect, we are expected to come as we are to the altar:

    broken, lame, spotted, and blind, hoping for forgiveness, and a chance to start over.

  2. >>>In the Old Testament sacrifices were given regularly for sins…

    Grove, do you understand “Testament” to be another identical word for “covenant”? Or do you see it as another word for “Section of the Bible”?

    Also, do you think that the killing of animals did anything? Or was it just an elaborate prophecy?

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.

  3. Great point Marianne! We can’t come to the altar perfect, but we can come to the altar.

    Wounded, in the sentence you quoted I refer to the time in which Israel was under what we call the Old Covenant. They aren’t identical to me but in the Old Testament contains the history of the Old Covenant or First Covenant.

    About animal sacrifices; I don’t really know if they “did anything” or not. All I know is that they showed a need for something more, something final.

    Hbr 9:13 – For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
    Hbr 9:14 – how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

  4. >>>…They aren’t identical to me but in the Old Testament contains the history of the Old Covenant or First Covenant.

    So, to communicate what you are trying to say, might it be more accurate to say “under the older covenant…”?

    The reason I ask is that nebulous use of terms creates confusion, at least to me, as I try to understand what someone is saying.

    The Jews, it turns out, in actuality, were under a “treaty” with YHVH, and “the law” was, for them, “treaty terms.”

    But for Paul, since his scriptures were the Greek scriptures, thought in terms of “testaments” and “laws.”

    When all of this is “melged” into a “Rat King” (a mash-up), language breaks down; concepts become confused.

    >>>About animal sacrifices; I don’t really know if they “did anything” or not. All I know is that they showed a need for something more, something final.

    What I’m hoping that my probing will stimulate is a bit of reflection on what this business of killing animals was all about. The scriptural term is “atonement.” This, as I’ve pointed out, is NOT a term that is EVER applied to Jesus’ death. I think the term should not be confused with “propitiation.” By pondering what the purpose of the animal sacrifices might have been, we’ll soon realize that Jesus could only possibly atone for his own sins, and no one else’s.

    >>>Hbr 9:13 – For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
    Hbr 9:14 – how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    Before appealing to Hebrews 9 (or any part of that book) I urge you to **pore** over Leviticus 16. Only then can you correctly handle Hebrews.

    Hint: “To the Hebrews” was written to Jews, not Baptists.

    When that thought takes hold, the book opens up!!

  5. I am so thankful what we could not do for ourselves…. our Lord saw fit to do for us!

    Rom 5:11 (KJV)
    11And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    Thanks for a great reminder of His grace and mercy as He loved us, died for us, and accepted us just as we are!

  6. Rob I totally agree and am thankful for that. We don’t change so we can go to God, we go to God so we can be changed. But that only works when we come fully and not partially to God.

  7. >>>…Rom 5:11 (KJV)
    11And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement…

    Rob, you probably didn’t realize this, but this “offering” has a “defect” in that the Greek does not read “atonement” but rather “reconciliation.” See the modern translations:

    http://bible.cc/romans/5-11.htm

    The reason I refer to this as a “defect” is because I wanted to refer to the teaching of the OP (Original Post by grove). Since we are not talking about animal sacrifices being defective, in what way might “reasonable worship” have a “defect”?

    I propose that “lame sacrifices” according to Paul and Jesus refers to the lazy, undisciplined thinking of those professing love for God.

    Paul says:

    Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    In other words:

    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
    Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants-what is good, pleasing, and perfect.

    Dull thinking is a lame, defective offering.

    Grove, do you agree that what worship the father seeks is worship directed toward himself (alone), in/with breath and truth?

    Act 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

    Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

  8. I am the lamest offering to God, in my opinion. I am nothing short of a liar, hypocrite, and at times, a whiny petulant child. But He still accepted me and showed me great mercy.

    That’s my Christmas present, right there. 365 days a year.

    Grove, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • Agreed! That really is the gift of all gifts and should be our focus during this commercialized and distracting season.
      We can never be the perfect offering, that was what made Jesus unique and pivotal: He was the perfect offering!
      But we can come to Him fully and surrender all (not just some).

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