The Claims of Sin Exhausted
The presence and the prominence of blood attest that the claims of sin have been met; death has met every demand of a holy God. The blood, beginning at the sanctuary, then moving to the horns of the golden altar, and then poured at the base of the brazen altar, all testify to the sufficiency of the death of the victim.
Finally, the burning of the victim in its entirety would suggest to the astute Israelite that the judgment of God against sin had been exhausted.
The Character of Sin Exposed
The places where the blood was applied would also give testimony to the character of sin. Why, in the case of the priest and congregation (Lev 4:6, 12), did it need first to be sprinkled before the vail of the sanctuary? Sin prohibits access to God. Sin’s ultimate issue is separation from God. This necessitated the suspension of an eternal relationship when the Lord Jesus hung upon the cross and was forsaken of God (Psa 22:1).
The blood was placed upon the horns of the golden altar to remind us that not only did sin prohibit coming to God, but it barred communion with God. Prayer and intercession would not be enjoyed by the priestly man who had not availed himself, when needed, of the sin offering.
Lastly, the application of blood at the brazen altar dealt with the conscience of the sinner. He would be aware that every claim was met and that all that sin required had been satisfied.
The Consequences Expected
An appreciation of the sin offering should have practical effects in our lives. When I look at the cost of sin and its awful price, it should create within me a holy hatred for sin. To think that sin is so hateful in God’s sight should create a similar estimation in mine.
Notice as well that contact with the sin offering demanded a change outwardly. Garments must be changed. The earthen vessel had to be broken (Lev 6:24-30), and brazen vessels needed to be scoured and cleansed. The priest was to eat the sin offering; he was reminded that it was most holy. So an appreciation of the sin offering should create in me a desire for holiness of life.
An awareness of sin’s cost, the eating of the sin offering, and the application of the blood to remove sin’s results – all should finally create within the offerer a humility of mind.
To look at Calvary and be unmoved, to have no deepening estimate of the awfulness of sin, to have no longings after holiness, is impossible for the soul touched by grace.
The Classes of Sinners Exhibited
Priest and his bullock – His frailty and the bullock’s strength
The priest was to offer a bullock. As the reality of his sin and failure came home to his conscience, he would be made aware of his failure in his service for God. The man who represented the people of God had failed to represent them without spot or blemish. He must, in keeping with the character of his failure, bring that which typified the perfect, untiring strength and service of the son of the herd.
People of God – Their failure and the bullock’s service
If the entire nation failed as well, there was a similar offering. The nation was to represent God before the heathen nations. Theirs was the responsibility to reveal and reflect the character of the God of glory Who had called them. But now they had sinned. Rather than revealing God, they had brought dishonor on that Name by the action of the congregation. Their service and responsibility had been marred. Only a perfect bullock could express the nature of their sin and be sufficient to pay the price.
Prince and his goat – His faltering and the goat’s surefootedness
There were those who were leaders in the nation. They were walking before the nation. Standard bearers (Num 10) were to be men of an exemplary character and life. Every step was watched by those who followed. But what if a leader was guilty of a misstep? His appreciation of the sin offering was a victim which never knew a faltering step. Flawless and steadfast, the goat could ascend the craggy mounts without a wrong step.
For the prince, the blood did not have to come to the vail, but only as far as the horns of the altar – communion was restored, and to the brazen altar – conscience was assured.
Personal sin and Female Kid – His folly and the goat’s steadfastness
When an individual sinned, his offering was to be either a female kid of the goats or a lamb. He also had been guilty of a failure in his walk. As such he would bring a goat, owning that he had slipped in his pathway. But when he brought a female lamb, he was confessing that something deeper was involved: he had rebelled in his heart. The submissive lamb would answer to his lack of submission. It was not now his action, but his heart, his motive of self-will which was being confessed.
Poor of the land and two birds or ephah of flour – His failure and the birds’ sensitivity
Grace allowed for a sacrifice of either two turtledoves or pigeons, or even a tenth of an ephah of flour. The birds would remind us of the need for sensitivity to sin. How insensitive and indifferent we become as we are exposed to sin daily. Our consciences become callous and our walk becomes careless. The fine flour, reminiscent of the meal offering, would remind us of the flawless nature of One Who walked here undefiled and unblemished by an evil world.