And if the burnt sacrifice of his offering to the Lord is of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or young pigeons. The priest shall bring it to the altar. (Leviticus 1:14-15)
As I have said before, it is easy for us to focus on the slaughter of the animals and be mystified as to why God would require such. Yet, as I have also said before, we must look beyond the surface of the matter and discern the heart of the issue — what was God really saying to His people? Again, it was to probe into and reveal the intent of their heart and, simultaneously, reveal God’s heart to them. On that note, consider that the sacrifices could be taken from the herd, the flock or from fowls. Why is that noteworthy? It indicates God’s acknowledgment of the fact that some had more than others; some didn’t possess the wealth to have flocks or herds, only a small bird.
In other words, He doesn’t look at the cost of the sacrifice but the spirit in which it is offered. Obviously, some have more and some have less and so He prescribed offerings that would accommodate every station in life. Yet, this also provided opportunity for those with less to offer more — and for those with more to give less — thus revealing their heart. Think of the widow who gave the two mites and Messiah’s words concerning her sacrifice and you will see the point I am trying to make — and the point, I believe, God was trying to make.
We have heard all of our lives that “God loves a cheerful giver.” In whatever we do, we should do it as unto the LORD and with all of our heart, not begrudgingly. Just as He didn’t need their bulls and their goats, He doesn’t need our money and wealth. What He desires, however, is a people who are willing to give of themselves to His service and find it joyful to do so. And by the way, He never asks to do something that He isn’t willing to do Himself — He always takes the initiative and sets the standard.
By that I mean that He gave of Himself completely when He sent His Son to be sacrificed on our behalf. It seems fitting, then, to remember what the writer of Hebrews had to say regarding Messiah’s sacrifice: “For the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). We should, forever, be thankful.
Blessings and Shalom,