February 18 Esight, 2009

“This is what you are to offer on the Altar: two year-old lambs each and every day, one lamb in the morning and the second lamb at evening. With the sacrifice of the first lamb offer two quarts of fine flour with a quart of virgin olive oil, plus a quart of wine for a Drink-Offering. The sacrifice of the second lamb, the one at evening, is also to be accompanied by the same Grain-Offering and Drink-Offering of the morning sacrifice to give a pleasing fragrance, a gift to GOD.” Exodus 29.38-41I remember the day I had the sudden leap in understanding in that each sacrifice in the Old Testament (and, no; I’m not ignoring animal rights issues. I just don’t understand that yet.) was truly a revelation of the humble, self-sacrificing, self-abandonment of God Himself for us. This is specifically important when applied to the morning and evening sacrifices that were part of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary services. God’s love, the depth of His love, was to be ever kept before the minds and hearts of Israel. Not that they always perceived it, nor that it really made sense to them at that time, but the thought was that each day was to begin and end with a fixed gaze on God’s great other-centeredness. The purpose stands out clear. Only by love is love awakened. Only in the hopes of our hearts’ understanding can conversion from our self-centered instincts to the image of God’s other-centered love be possible.

Isaiah 6.10:

Render the hearts of this people insensitive,

      Their ears dull,

      And their eyes dim,

      Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

      Hear with their ears,

      Understand with their hearts,

      And return and be healed.

John 12.40:

HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.

Everything in the sanctuary and its services were to have the focus of God’s other-centered complete and entire self-sacrificial love:

“This is to be your regular, daily Whole-Burnt-Offering before GOD, generation after generation, sacrificed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. That’s where I’ll meet you; that’s where I’ll speak with you; that’s where I’ll meet the Israelites, at the place made holy by my Glory. I’ll make the Tent of Meeting and the Altar holy. I’ll make Aaron and his sons holy in order to serve me as priests. I’ll move in and live with the Israelites. I’ll be their God. They’ll realize that I am their GOD who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live with them. I am GOD, your God. (Exodus 29.42-45) May a fixed gaze on His love and sacrifice for us be where He still meets us and lives with us today.

I wish you God’s best this week.