Sermonette: The Meaning of the Offering
An offering is not limited to money, but to anything that has value, including livestock, some of which were totally burned, while at other times various grains were acceptable. We are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, consisting of our reasonable service (Romans 12:1). When properly considered, the New Covenant sacrifices are far more demanding than the Old Covenant sacrifices. But there are poignant lessons to be learned from animal sacrifices. In Old Covenant times, a tremendous amount of blood was spilled, foreshadowing Christ's sacrifice. The sacrificed animal was usually a family pet which made the sacrifice very dear. Even though the practices seem archaic, the spiritual principles are eternal, indicating that what we offer should be valuable and meaningful rather than frivolous. Abel's offering was accepted because he followed God's instruction, but Cain's offering was rejected because it did not correspond to the instructions God had given, just as Nadab and Abihu's use of profane fire violated God's stated rules. Like the sacrifice of the family pet in the Old Covenant, God expects the same degree of identification and care in New Covenant sacrifices, including our reasonable service and our monetary offerings.