Blood. It is our life source. Pumped from the heart- in circulates through our body – carrying life-giving oxygen and nutrients through out our body. It is pumped from the heart, and goes through the lungs. It provides what our bodies need to be sustained. Long before science told us of the importance of blood – scripture told us. Blood is also what God requires as a sacrifice- and because of the high importance on blood, he had some clear instructions on it found in Leviticus 17.
As we enter Leviticus 17- 20, we begin to talk about holiness- the setting apart of ourselves as a people of God. Specifically in Leviticus, we are talking about the nation of Israel being set apart from many heathen nations around them. Although many of the practices and laws that we find in chapters 17-20 seem common sense, strange, or awkward , it is because God called them to be different and He calls us to be different too.
Blood is important in the Bible. Although it might not be a popular topic – it is of high importance to God. It is blood that sustains life. It is blood that gives salvation – and so, we find some key principles in this passage that relate to salvation.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ Leviticus 17:11
This very verse gives us foundation for salvation. We must have life for life. When a sacrifice was given, and blood was shed, it meant that one life was given for another. Innocent blood was always given to cover the sin. Any church or theology that minimizes the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ is going against scripture. Salvation required the shedding of blood – perfect blood – and that sacrifice was Jesus Christ.
With the high importance of blood and what it symbolized – God knew the people would need laws in order to maintain its importance.
In verses 1-7, we see situations dealing with food. Jewish people did not eat a great deal of meat at this time. Any animal that was slain was used as a fellowship offering. This law kept the people from offering secret sacrifices to idols. Since animals were only killed at the tabernacle, this kept them from this sin. It made the meal a sacred experience think of it like the blessing before the meal. Lastly, by bringing it to the tabernacle, they were offing some to the Lord, and taking care of the priest.
In verses 8-9 we see further explanation of why animals were only offered in the tabernacle it was to keep the order of God. It kept the alter holy- the sacrifice holy- and the blood was set apart only for sacrifice.
In verses 10-14 we find out that of blood was wrong. Blood was meant for atonement and it was meant as a source of life. Food was considered to be ordinary. God did not want the ordinary eating to be confused with the special and set apart sacrifice, nor did He want what was meant for atonement to be second place in the lives of His people. It also set the children of Israel apart- many heathen nations ate or drank blood, and God wanted His people to be different. This is also why we find the importance of not eating animals that were just found dead (v 15-16). When a Jewish person would hunt an animal – they would drain the blood, and even cover it with earth, giving the life of the animal a burial. This is why many Jewish people even today want to be sure they find Kosher meat meat that has had the blood drained.
Blood doesn’t have the same value in society today. People shoot people. We kill innocent children. The shedding of blood is second place. We also live in a culture where the blood of Christ isn’t as precious as it once was. We are justified through his blood. We are redeemed through His blood. We are washed by the Blood of the Lamb. It is what sanctified and cleanses us. We were purchased by the very drops of blood that Jesus Christ gave. The price of blood is important.
Although God does not call us to live by all of the standards of the law, because Christ came to fulfill it, we still need to have respect for what blood is- and what it does for us. Without it, we would not live – in our present bodies, or for eternity.
Worshiping With My Life,