The sacrificial offerings were not punishment, nor were they adequate payment. This was not a quid pro quo – you did the crime now you must pay the fine – arrangement. Offerings were about honor and respect and relationship. God had given everything to His people. It pleased Him when they gave part of it back.
But, God also knew His people better than the people knew themselves. He knew they would be tempted to just go through the motions. Giving Him back things of lesser value, giving Him back from their excess or trying to bargain and negotiate on what was going to be sufficient to be enough of a give back to Him.
But the sacrifices were not for that purpose. The moment those thoughts come in to play, the sacrifices are no longer gifts to God, they are obligations – they are something God is taking from them. Instead of building a relationship with God, they become something that separates us from God. That is why the giving is not about the gift, it is about the heart of the giver.
There was a price to be paid for sin. But the death of a bull, goat, pigeon or dove was never going to pay that price. But, God blessed the Israelite people by giving them the ability and instructions to have a sacrificial heart, just as God does. God didn’t provide the Israelite people with a failed system of repayment – He provided them with a gift of participation and revelation into the atonement He was going to make for their sin through the death of His only perfect son. The gifts of sacrifice were foreshadows of God’s gift on our behalf.
We should continue to make offerings to God. Not sacrifices as payment – any attempt to add to the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf is a slap in the face to God that somehow we consider the sacrifice of His son to be insufficient. But offerings of gratitude, praise and worship. Offerings of denial of self through fasting and meditation and prayer to be filled more fully with the Holy Spirit are honoring. Setting aside the “normal” of others and, in so doing, setting apart our lives to God’s service, is an honoring sacrificial offering to the Lord.
Grain: fine flour covered in oil and incense, memorial portion on altar, rest to Aaron and sons
Fellowship: either male or female animal from the herd – blood splashed on altar, fat and entrails burned at altar
Sin offering, Bull for priest or all, male or female goat for individual sin – blood in tent, sprinkle 7 times, poured outside, fat removed and burned at the altar, remainder of animal (hide, head, organs, meat) taken out of the camp, burnt there
Guilt: ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver
Atone means to make amends, to repair a wrong – The act of being made one again with God in a proper relationship
God paid the full price for all – a full atonement
money, time, talents, heart, body, voice, teaching, praise