I love birds. Not like Audubons love birds, but Bob and I do own a cheap pair of field glasses and a nice Peterson’s Guide. Here in southern MO, we live in a fly-over zone, and also near a conservation area, so we’re just geeky enough to enjoy a “date” seeing how many avians we can identify. Our day is made if we are visited by a bald eagle or a close up view of a gaggle of something.
Listening to Jesus, one would think that His Father was pretty keen on birds also, with that whole “a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without Him knowing it” thing. Then there’s this from the Old Testament Law~~
“But if you have no flock or herd of your own, then you may offer Me birds; your offering is to be turtledoves or young pigeons.”
See, isn’t that sweet? Turtledoves, a symbol of love and all that. White, pure, maybe a little poop on your lawn, but otherwise innocent and harmless…
“The priest will take the bird to the altar, wring off its head, and burn it on the altar. But first he must drain its blood against the side of the altar. The priest must also remove the crop and the feathers and throw them in the ashes on the east side of the altar. Then, grasping the bird by its wings, the priest will tear the bird open, but without tearing it apart. Then he will burn it as a burnt offering on the wood burning on the altar. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the LORD.”
Sheesh!?@#*!?!?!? That’d get you kicked out of the Audubon Society in half a heartbeat! The caption “no animals were harmed in making this movie” would have to be in BOLD letters if Hollywood chose this scene. It’s just ugly, no way around it. Gruesome. And the thing that makes it even more confusing is the sentence, “It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the LORD.”
Are we talking about the same God here?
Clearly, (yes, clearly), the answer is confidently affirmative. It is the Old Testament graphic novel version of sin, a harbinger of what was to be completely manifested in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is what sin has done (and continues to do) to the beautiful creation that God has performed, but humanity had become (and still is) used to it, accommodating the degeneration of the divine nature within us as normalcy:
“In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are.”
And in this particular ceremony, God decrees that man has to vividly participate in showing what sin really is, what it does, and what it means to God. But catch this: it was not the death of the innocent that was the sweet aroma that pleased God, no, not by a long shot. It was the death of sin and the restoration of man, (which this temporarily provided and futuristically pointed to), of reconciliation to God that was (and is) the sweet aroma to Him.
God is always, ALWAYS about reconciliation.
And evidently, the job has been passed on to His children even today.
“And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.”
(I think the hear the neighborhood pigeons cooing in relief.)
Leviticus 1:14T he Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
Leviticus 1:15-17; Psalm 36:2; 2 Corinthians 5:18 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.