Offerings were prominent in Old Testament worship. (And lest you think they are completely obsolete now, remember that the only way we can understand what Jesus did on the Cross is through our understanding of the sacrifice and what it means.)
In the culture in which we live, it's hard to understand what's happening here. We have lost sight of worship as an exchange between the people and God. We have lost sight of the fact that when we worship, God is truly with us. Sure, we say things like that, but in practical terms, most of us have never experienced it. Or...we think we haven't. We feel a lot of times like we're just throwing our worship into the air and hoping something sticks somewhere in the heavens and maybe one day, God will tell us if it did. And if not, well, at least we were there.
So that's the impression that we push upon these Old Testament passages when we read them. We get this idea that Israel just kept bringing all of these sacrifices, all of these offerings, and burning them on the altar and if they were lucky, some of the smoke - the aroma pleasing to the Lord - would waft its way up into the heavens and satisfy God for the time being. We get this idea that Israel would come, slaughter an animal, burn it, maybe eat part of it, and then go home without ever knowing if God was really there or not.
But look at what God tells His people. In Exodus, just after He's finished explaining all of the sacrifices an what they mean and how they must be brought and offered, He makes a promise to Israel: whenever you bring an offering, I will meet you there.
Whenever. Every time. No matter what you bring. No matter if it's a sin offering, a burnt offering, a fellowship offering, a bread offering, whatever it is - when you bring it to the Lord, He promises to meet you there.
The same is true even today. Whatever offering we bring, whenever we bring it, God meets us at the altar. Every time.
This ought to change the way that we worship. It ought to change the way that we live. It ought to change the way we that we think about how we're offering our lives to Him. Because every single time that we do, every single breath that we give back to Him, He meets us there.
What would it mean to you to know that?
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