God was good to us yesterday. I went out to find some used tires in Woodburn on a recommendation. I was referred to Benavidez Tires by a mechanic I called. They told me on the phone they had two matching tires I could have for $80 each, balanced and installed. When I got there the guy also suggested I could reverse the direction of my back tires to get a month or two more out of them…an extra $10 for that. While they were beginning to work on it the guy in charge came to where I was waiting and told me he actually had 4 tires he could sell me for $200. Turned out one of the original two they were going to sell me had a bump in one part that made it asymmetrical…the owner’s father had just brought in a new batch earlier that day and had 4 Michelins for me that look great. He didn’t even charge me the $10 for disposal because it was my first visit. I came home feeling so blessed by a God that orchestrates details to meet our needs…such impeccable timing. Thank you my Lord and my God.
Father, do not pass me by. Though I am weak, timid and a storehouse of fear, I do yet have love to give. Do not exclude me from your purposes. Include me in your Kingdom plans and write me into your story. Open my eyes to see your daily invitation and give me boldness and courage to step into your work of restoration.
Book title – Unconditional? The call of Jesus to radical forgiveness.
Zahnd says, “the primary experience and central emphasis of Christianity revolves around the theme of forgiveness. If Christianity is about anything, it is about forgiveness. Not forgiveness as merely an end in itself or a legal means of escaping punishment, but forgiveness as reconciliation and total restoration.
p. 11 “the call of Christ to take up our cross and follow him is very specifically a call to love our enemies and end the cycle of revenge by responding with forgiveness….Christian forgiveness is not cheap. Rather it is costly because it flows from the cross-the place where injustice and forgiveness meet in a violent collision. Christian forgiveness does not call us to forget. Christian forgiveness allows us to remember but calls us to end the cycle of revenge.
p.15 “It’s all too easy to reduce being a Christian to a conferred status-the result of having “accepted Jesus as your personal Savior.” But that kind of minimalist approach is a gross distortion of what the earliest followers of Jesus understood being a Christian to mean. the original Christians didn’t merely (or even primarily) see themselves as those who had received a “get out of hell free” card from Jesus but as followers, students, learners, and disciples of the one whom they called Master and Teacher. Jesus was the master, and they were the disciples.”Â – note: most of us would be considered students or learners, disciple is a much stronger term from “Talmidim”.
Ray and Steve on the “Beyond the Box” podcast suggest that MAYBE God never required the sacrificial system or wanted it at all and that MAYBE Moses assumed these things since all nations practiced sacrifices to deities. It may be possible that God never ultimately wanted animal sacrifice and took no delight in them.
I can’t buy that Moses did this on his own, however. Numbers 29:40 “Moses told the Israelites all that the Lord commanded him.” Moses talked openly with God and obeyed him. the time he misrepresented God’s instruction lead to strong repercussions. I can’t believe he acted on his own with the Levitical laws.
It may be that God installed the animal sacrifice as a transition from the violence of the nations that practiced human sacrifice because the people wouldn’t understand wholly eradicating any form of blood sacrifice. This might be evidence of God’s patient process with mankind meeting them where they are and working with the language they understand, ultimately leading them to Christ as a complete or full revelation of his will and nature. Whatever the motive or reason behind the sacrificial system, it was filled with symbolism that pointed to Christ and that both Christ and the early apostles appropriated language from. All the events leading to the cross and resurrection were perfectly timed and mirrored in the feast celebrations of Israel, something Ray Vanderlaan first drew my attention to.
Something Ray also pointed out was that Jewish theology didn’t see the sacrifices as something that took their sins away or made them pure before God. Rather they saw it as a reminder that God promised to make a way for them and to take care of the problem of their sin. This went right back to the covenant between Abraham and God. This seems to be supported perfectly by Paul’s writing in Hebrews 10 “…it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. if it could, would they not have stopped being offered?…Bot those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
Heb 10:5 Therefore when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll- I have come to do your will, O God.” (quoted from Ps. 40:6-8)
Hosea 5:14 “For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a great lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces and go away; I will carry them off, with tno one to rescue them…(until they seek me) In their misery they will earnestly seek me.”
Hosea 6:5 (your love is like mist)…Therefore I cut you to pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you. For I desire mercy (besed, both right conduct to fellow man and/or loyalty to God), not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Here in the same passage there seems to be contradiction, God is angry and takes responsibility as the aggressor but then claims to desire mercy. Hosea 5:5 seems to place the responsibility for stumbling on Israel, that Israel’s arrogance testifies against her and her own sin causes her to stumble. God withdraws himself and when they seek him for their own purposes they won’t find him.
then again in Hosea 5:10 “I will pour out my wrath on them like a flood of water…” v. 14 “I will be like a lion to Ephraim…”
Even Peter in the new testament seems to allude to God’s need to judge sin in the early church, seems to describe the persecution as God’s weapon of judgement:
1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”