“This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning — a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the Lord by fire. For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the Lord. There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory. So I will consecrate the Tent of Meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.” (Exodus 29:38-46 NIV84)
The consecration and ordination of Aaron as high priest took an entire week. During that week the tabernacle, altar, and worship utensils were also consecrated. But once the work of ministry began, the Lord laid down His own requirement. Every day, a 1-year-old flawless lamb was to be sacrificed in front of the Tent of Meeting at dawn and one at dusk. Every day began and ended with a sin offering in front of the tent where God dwelt and met with His people. God knew that even His followers would be affected by sin in their everyday lives and be in need of these sacrifices of atonement. I am amazed at the steps God was willing to, and had to, go to in order to dwell with a broken and sinful people that He loved.
But what about us today? Aren’t we equally broken and sinful people? Of course! We Christians are not perfect, only forgiven. And that is the key! John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” Jesus is the lamb that was slain so that we can dwell with God, and He with us. And God doesn’t just dwell with us. He dwells within us with His Holy Spirit. There is no need for continual sacrifices. Jesus’ death on the cross was totally sufficient. Some biblical historians believe that the sacrificial system ended the day Jesus died on the cross. Do you recall that there was a severe earthquake and the temple curtain tore in two? Well, many believe that the altar and temple were affected by the earthquake as well, so no sacrifices took place after that. It certainly would be fitting.
So, our day should begin and end at the cross of Jesus. There alone will we find grace and forgiveness sufficient to wash our sins away.