Wednesday: Life for a Life
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Read Leviticus 17:10-11. What function does God give to the blood?

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

In a passage where God instructs the Israelites not to eat any blood, He provides an interesting reason for this prohibition: blood stands for life, and God has made sacrificial blood a ransom for human life. One life, represented by the blood, ransoms another life. The principle of substitution, which became explicit on Mount Moriah when Abraham offered the blood of the ram in the place of the blood of his son, is firmly anchored in God’s legal requirements for ancient Israel.

As in Genesis 22, God shows that it is He Himself who provides the means for atonement; in the Hebrew the I in “I have given it to you” (Lev. 17:11, NKJV) is emphasized. We cannot provide our own ransom. God must give it.

The concept is different from that of other religions that use sacrifices. In the Bible, it is not a human who approaches God and knows how to appease Him; it is God, rather, who provides the means for a person to come into His holy presence. And in Christ, He Himself provides the blood for ransom.

Read1 Samuel 15:22 and Micah 6:6–8. What are some of the dangers of the ritual system?

God never intended the sacrificial service to be a substitute for the attitude of the heart; on the contrary, the sacrifices were to open the heart of the believer to the Lord. If we lose sight of the fact that sacrifices express a spiritual relationship between God and us, and that they all point to a much greater sacrifice, Jesus Christ, we could easily mistake the sacrificial ritual for an automatic apparatus for making atonement. Besides sacrifice, God really wants our hearts to be right with Him (Ps. 51:16-17). Consistently the Israelite prophets accused the people of false piety and called for them “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6:6–8, NRSV; compare Isa. 1:10-17).

In what ways do we face the same danger as expressed above? Why is it often so hard to realize that we could be doing exactly what the ancient Israelites did in this area? How can we avoid this mistake?

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Wednesday: Life for a Life — 10 Comments

  1. The lesson makes a very important point about God as provider. One of the reasons we find it difficult to sacrifice at times is we think of what we have as our own. We tend to harbor an ownership mentality because it makes us feel empowered. Worth is often measured by what we can name and claim as our own, including material wealth, health, ability, good looks, reputation, status, influence, and even spiritual power. To part with these (not an exhaustive list) may make us feel depleted in some way and self resists.

    By creation and redemption we are not our own and nothing we are born with or acquire can truly be said to be originated by us. To think that we have the temerity to get upset with or curse Jehovah the Provider when we suffer great loss the angels must be alarmed.

    Everything worthwhile in our possession is of God. When Jehovah demands anything, including our life, as the rightful owner He has a just claim. What is termed sacrifice of whatever kind is really a surrender of a privilege(s). We really have no just argument to withhold anything. Abraham got it. And maybe we can too.

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  2. The greatest sacrifice we can ever offer to our God is the surrender of our heartly/earthly desires through our Lord Jesus christ.

    The condition 4 eternal life is the surrender of our lifes to jesus hence life 4 a life

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  3. The priciple of substitution amazes me. Life for a life. God is clear, the life of the soul resides in the blood. By pouring out His blood on calvary, Jesus took our mortal life so that He might give us eternal life; He took our life of empty that He might give us a life of plenty. He calls us today today to live a life worthy of the substitution. The Lord takes no delight in the sacrifice of animals but how those sacrifice draw us more closer to Him. As Seventh Day Adventist, the Lord has given us ordinances(the Lord's supper, baptism etc). The mere performance of the ordinance is not what the Lord requires of us, but how these ordinances will draw us more closer to Him.

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  4. Indeed to obey is better than sacrifice. Sometimes, as Adventists we find it easier to keep the Sabbath strictly than to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before the Lord. The ancient israelites lost sight of the deep meaning of the sacrifices. They saw it as a mere formality losing the real idea behind it. Sacrifices and priestly services are not God's first concern. God's supreme wish is to have a people who act in justice toward their neighbors, and with consistent devotion and love toward the Lord. The most extravagant offering and sacrifice that people can give to God is obedience. Micah 6:8 is the most succint statement of God's wil for his people. Justice means fairness and equality for all, kindness means freely and willingly show love, loyalty and faithfulness. Walking with God means to put God first and to live in conformity with His wil. Let us remember Matthew 23:23.

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    • Stephen Oduro, you speak like a prophet. How futile are our sacrificial services to God when we avoid the weightier elements of our faith? God is highly displeased with injustices, neglect, and every kind of evil that especially the vulnerable endure. He admonishes us to be compassionate, be fair, advocate for social justice, relieve suffering; above all, experience true repentance.

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  5. If God gave us His only precious Son - Jesus Christ - so that our relationship with Him would be restored and mended,it should also be with deep interest that as humans we develop stubborn eagerness to offer our dear lives to Jesus Christ in order to live in continuous communion with God.

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  6. I am very thankful and grateful for the precious atonement of Jesus. Today I have seen that God alone provides the substitute for our sins, and Jesus pays for all humanity.

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  7. True Cristianity means a daily walk with God. That is shown in our relationships with others. In how we talk and treat others around us. Love for God and love for our neighbor. That is what is emphasized in God's Law. Lord, have mercy on me today and help me to be like You in my actions today.

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  8. It is reassuring to know that God provides that sacrifice and limits us to recieve. That is really making all things equal for everyone. God in his infinate wisdom shows us in this object lesson it is better to give than recieve. He himself gave and provides the ultimate scrafice. His son! Praise his Holy name! Hit me right in the scared place! Amen

    Like(1)
  9. Life for a life. I like this lesson so much. How often have we taken the Death of Jesus Christ our Lord in vain? An innocent animal was being killed for a cleansing of one's iniquity; so is the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for our salvation. How do we take his death? He died for our salvation, do we just take that for granted? We should start seeing His death and resurrection as a gift of life which nobody could give.

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