When any of you presents an offering of cattle to the LORD, he shall choose his offering from . . . Leviticus 1:2
Offering – Do you think that God is mad? It seems that most religious people (of all faiths) certainly see God as an angry judge. He looks down upon the wickedness of the world and punishes those who haven’t been good. Apparently His aim isn’t so good because a lot of bad things happen to good people. But maybe that’s because we all deserve to be punished and God is only reminding us of our unholy condition.
What a tragic mistake it is to think of God in this way. God is mad, but He is crazy mad, not angry mad. He is insane because He is willing to die for those who have rejected His benevolence. That isn’t normal! But is God angry with us? If we knew anything about the Hebrew word for offering (korban), we would never make this mistake. Why? Because korban comes from the verb karav that means “to draw close.” That’s right! The purpose of a sacrifice is not to appease an angry God. It is to draw close to His love. An offering displays God’s desire to have us come to Him and enjoy His presence and fellowship. It is exactly the opposite of the offerings made to false gods. From the Hebrew point-of-view, an offering is an invitation to fellowship, not an attempt to placate.
Consider this in relation to your understanding of the sacrifice of Yeshua. How many times have you been told that His death was an appeasement for God’s righteous anger over sin? That theology suggests that God is very, very angry. So angry that it takes the death of His own Son to appease His wrath. That kind of thinking belongs to idolatry. The sacrifice of Yeshua is as bold an invitation as God could make. It is an invitation to life. It is the guarantee that the promise made to Abraham will come to pass. It is the way God removes the punishment we deserve in order that we may approach Him. It is the ultimate sign of drawing close.
There is one other important thing to notice here. The supplicant has choice. The offering is conditional. “When” you present an offering is followed by “If” the offering is such-and-such. In other words, while God gives directions about how to draw close, He allows us to voluntarily choose to draw close. Appeasement can be demanded. Invitation can only be requested.
The great God of glory opens a way to His heart. It is a way of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. We must choose to accept His invitation and draw near to Him. God isn’t mad. He’s just waiting.
Topical Index: angry, mad, offering, korban, karav, sacrifice, Leviticus 1:2