The Cost of Sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. – Romans 12:1 ESV

The Israelites had spent 430 years in Egypt. During that time they had adopted some of the Egyptians’ practices and no longer served the Lord as they should.

When God rescued the Israelites from Egypt, He knew they would need to be re-educated. They spent about 10 months at Mount Sinai learning how to serve the Lord (Exodus 19:19, Numbers 1:1).

Leviticus 26 is a condensation of the lessons they had learned at Mount Sinai with an added layer: there were benefits for obedience and penalties for disobedience.

The Israelites were very familiar with the idea that human actions had an impact on how the gods responded. The Egyptians had served many gods because they believed each deity controlled a different aspect of life or a different resource.

The only difference was, the Egyptian gods had no power. They were inanimate objects.

The Israelites had witnessed the power of God and knew He was capable of doing all that  He had said He would and more. They needed to understand there was a cost for sacrifice.

They had spent months learning how to prepare various sacrifices to make them appear blameless before God. Now they had to understand that disobedience also had a cost.

Today, we have the Bible as a testimony that all the blessings and curses that God had expressed in Leviticus 26 came through. We have witnessed the power of God through the birth, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

We have seen the fulfillment of the promise of a Messiah and know that God can do anything–even raise people from the dead. So how are we to act?

The cost of sacrifice
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While it’s true that the promises and curses of Leviticus 26 were specific to the Israelites at that time, God still has expectations of us.

When Jesus came to earth, He gave us a living example of how our lives should look. He taught His disciples, and us, how to love, serve each other, and worship God.

Jesus clearly expressed that those who align themselves with God ought to act in a way that may seem strange to the world. He told us that as believers, tribulations and trials are guaranteed while we’re in this world (John 16:33).

But He didn’t end it there.

He also promised that one day He would return and everyone who remained faithful to Him would be given a reward (Matthew 16:27). We’d go to heaven and see God. Later, we’ll live on the new earth (Revelation 21). I’m looking forward to that day, aren’t you?

My friend, Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for sin so that we didn’t have to. In return, He asks us to live in such a way that others will be drawn to Him and want to give glory to God. Are you living you life as a testimony of Jesus’s sacrifice?

Prayer

Lord, I understand that You expect me to act a certain way. Help me to be a witness for You so that others may be drawn to You and want to give You glory. I’m grateful for the sacrifice made by Your Son, Jesus, let His life be lived put through me. In Your name I pray, Amen.