I have this image in my head of what worshipping God looked like for God’s people when they were wandering in the wilderness. They go from place to place, setting up camp and then just sitting around the campfire. I imagine that they were on a 40-year camping trip, with everyone making S’mores out of their mana every night and going to bed once the fire had turned to embers.
This idyllic scene makes its way into the Tabernacle where the Levites performed all the sacrifices on behalf of the people. Instead of what actually happened, I just sort of thought the priests took the bulls and the goats and then nothing bad happened. I thought that there were live animals and there was atonement, just sort of skipping over that very necessary middle part.
I’ve been reading through Exodus and there was a lot involved in the worship of Yahweh. Not only were a lot of animals killed, but Aaron and the other priests had blood splattered on their clothes. Blood was placed on their earlobes, thumbs and big toes. Basically there was blood everywhere, like a scene from The Godfather.
As I’ve been reading about this bloodbath, it has made me appreciate the cross even more. Serving God was a serious ordeal in ancient Israel. There were so many rules and regulations and, if they were broken, sometimes the offenders were killed by God. I’d hate to think how many times God should have struck me down in my time serving him, especially when, while teaching, I said that “God knocked up Mary.”
I’m grateful for grace, but I also kind of envy what Aaron and the other priests had to face. How much more committed would I be to God if there were more rules and regulations for me to serve him? Instead of getting blood splattered on my priestly garments, I wear a pair of cargo shorts and have to turn off notifications so I don’t get distracted by Twitter. I’m happy that I don’t have to worry about getting smote by God while sitting at my desk, but I also think that fear would light a fire beneath me.
Instead of faithfully serving God because I’m scared that I’ll get a lightning bolt to the head, I should faithfully serve God because of everything he’s done for me. God sent his Son to the cross so that I could truly live, for now and for eternity. If that’s not enough to motivate me to serve him with everything I have, then the threat of death wouldn’t be either.
What motivates you to serve God?