Reading Through the Bible, Thursday, January 27. Exodus 29-31

Priced a good bull lately?

I thought about that as I read the ordination ceremony of Aaron and his sons.

Aaron, aided by his boys, was to be the spiritual liaison between God and God’s people.  But even he didn’t take that job himself.  He was appointed by God, and not without some pomp and circumstance.  To be admitted to those positions required a cleansing from sin, and that cost the lives of a bull and two rams.  But it wasn’t just their sacrifice.  Moses had to be meticulous in how he sacrificed those animals.  The end result was a priesthood, a human link between God and man.  Those priests were special – unlike anyone else.  They had access to food no one else was able to eat.  Their support came directly from God, paid for by the people they served who made offerings to the Lord.

Four lessons come to mind.  First, serving God is not a matter of human choice.  Serving the Lord comes by His invitation and even qualifying for the post must be done according to His terms.  One doesn’t just “accept the Lord Jesus Christ” and be “in.”  Second, to be able to serve the Lord requires a cleansing sacrifice, an “atonement.”  Ultimately, for us today, Jesus is the sacrifice that has made this cleansing possible.  Third, living in service to God sets us apart from the rest of the world – a holiness that must be seen in the way we live our lives, down even to the way we dress.

Finally, this service is costly.  Today, a bull can go for anywhere between $1500 and $2500.  A ram for $100 – $200.  A bull and two rams were used in the ceremony.  But it didn’t end there.  Israel had to sacrifice a bull and two rams every day from that point onward.  It wasn’t like the animals were slaughtered and given to the poor.  They were just killed and burned.  When you consider how many cattle were killed every year in just this way, being the people of God becomes a serious and pricey proposition.  Animals had to be raised.  Animals had to be bought.

Today, Christians serve as priests.  Our service is at God’s election, and must be in His way.  And we can be sure that it will be costly.  Ours is no cheap God.