As I mentioned last week, I’m reading through Leviticus right now. Not the easiest book to read, I’ll admit, but great when you really take some time to think it through. It’s much deeper than just a bunch of dead animals and bloody priests.
One thing that I’ve been doing is underlining the words atonement and forgiven. One great thing about underlining is that you can begin to see patterns. Not weird codes or anything, but you begin to notice things that stand out. What I’ve noticed about these 2 words is that they often appear together as a package deal. When the priest or the person who has committed a sin offers the animal as atonement for their sin, the next phrase is usually “and it shall be forgiven them” (4:20, 4:26, 4:31, 4:35, 5:13…just to name a few). The blood of the animal pays the price for the sin. The deal is sealed. After all, sin earns death according to Romans 6:23, so this system of sacrifice makes sense.
A third phrase I’ve been underlining is “a sweet smelling aroma.” It normally appears when a sacrifice is made. What a great reminder that God receives worship and pleasure from our sacrifice! He gave it all up for us, we can certainly afford to give it up for Him! The phrase appears later on in the New Testament as Paul closes his letter to the Philippian church. He thanks them for the gift they sent and says that it is “a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” They didn’t offer a burnt offering – they offered their resources and concern. God was please by that sacrifice!
Here’s how it all works out for us: Jesus, the sacrifice that made atonement and forgiveness possible, is a sweet-smelling aroma to God.
Isaiah 53:10 – …it pleased the Lord to bruise Him…