Everyone sacrifices themselves to something in some way: money, reputation, self-worth, skills, academics, and so on. When we live our lives for something, we inherently ignore other things.
If you’re a Christian, this is a constant struggle — as a “living sacrifice,” we’re always striving to live a holy life for God. If you’re not a Christian, or perhaps not living like one, what you’re about to read will appear offensive or absurd, because it will confront your attitude and your resistance to change head-on.
Back in the day, Israel was required to make animal sacrifices to atone for sin. We don’t have to do that anymore. The blood aspect of the sacrifice has already been taken care of through Jesus, for those who choose to accept it. We’re officially off the hook if we’ve already made that commitment.
Despite this obvious truth and this massive gesture of love, we insist on doing things our way, or the way we did it before. That’s what the beginning of Leviticus 17 is all about. The Israelites were continuing their own methods (either inherently or from Egyptian tradition) and refused to follow through with the correct sacrifice procedures. Why? Well, it’s the same reason why someone might not listen to/follow God today:
Mockery – You know God exists. Or maybe you don’t believe it. But with the knowledge that there are people who do believe, you intentionally make fun of the faith. They’re just dumb sheep anyway.
Murder – Blatant, outright denial of God. There’s no need to waste your time even addressing the falsified institution of religion.
Lack of reverence – Unwilling to change, you may have said the prayer in church, but it’s not really a big deal. Jesus might be God, but He isn’t your Lord. You’re more concerned with more a more important matter: yourself.
Worshiping the wrong god – There are 20 other major religions in the world — and hundreds more. Either you believe all roads point to God, or you believe that your god is the right one.
With a topic like this one, I’m less inclined to sugar coat it. If your disposition resembles any of these items, you’re ignoring the cross of Christ. It’s time to examine your priorities and think about what your sacrifice looks like and where it’s going.