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Righteousness and Justice

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3 NRSV

The first seven chapters of the book of Leviticus talk about the five types of offerings. Of the five types, all but one, the grain offering, required animal sacrifice. Why was this needed? It was a reminder of the cost of sin and man's fractured relationship with God. The gift had to be without blemishes indicating its purity.

While the sacrifice was essential to their religious practice, it wasn't God's whole plan. Around them, other nations followed false gods, offered human sacrifice, and reveled in immoral practices. God choose Israel to be a people set apart. Through adherence to the law with their hearts, righteousness, and justice would prevail over the darkness of their neighbors.

Problems arose when they neglected to follow the law but continued with the sacrifices--going through the motions with unrepentant hearts. The gift could be unblemished; however, it was unacceptable if offered only as a ritual sacrifice. For us, it’s like repenting for something and then going out and doing the same thing repeatedly with no intention of changing.

Thanks to the Father, in sending his Son, the unblemished Jesus who surrendered his own life, the need for animal sacrifice has been removed. However, God's requirement for acceptable sacrifice has not changed–we are to offer ourselves wholly, humbly, and earnestly in repentance and to accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit to direct our steps in righteousness and justice.

God, we thank you for the gift of your Son, who became for us the pure sacrifice. Please help us to lead the righteous and just lives you require of us. When we see injustice, let us not be shy about speaking out. When we are tempted by wrong, let us do what is right. Help us to be your people set apart. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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