The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to provide their own covering. But God said, “That is not going to work.” In Genesis 3:21 we find these words: “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Where did God get the skin? From an innocent animal that had been killed. It was the very first death on planet Earth. God never meant for death to be a part of existence, but after sin came into the world, death became a reality. And the first death that occurred was the death that God caused. He killed an innocent animal to provide a covering for Adam and Eve’s sin. Thus, He was teaching not just Adam and Eve but all of us an important spiritual truth: Something innocent must die for those of us who are guilty. We need a covering for our sin that only God can provide. This is the first mention of death, covering, and atonement in the Bible.
We see that need for sacrifice further illustrated in the Old Testament sacrificial system. In the Levitical system, there were thousands upon thousands of sacrifices made daily, weekly, monthly, yearly for the sins of the people. Bulls, goats, lambs, and crops had to be offered to God to provide a covering for the sins of the people. But as we will see, the writer of Hebrews said that God is not satisfied by the blood of an animal, a bull, or a goat.
So why did God make His people go through the ritual of continually offering sacrifices that could never atone for their sins? God did it in order to point them forward to that one time in history that He would offer a once-for-all sacrifice. The sacrificial system was never meant to atone for people’s sin but simply to point people to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who would come one day and cover the sins of the world.
Let me illustrate that for you this way: If you wanted to teach your child the value of money, which of these two ways would be most likely to teach them to appreciate money? You could tell them: “I am going to give you a list of chores for the week, and at the end of the week if you fulfill your duties I will give you a certain amount of money. You can spend it any way you want to, but when you are out of money, if you want more money, you will have to do the next week’s chores. Then at the end of that week, I will give you more money.” And on and on and on it goes. You could teach them the value of money that way. Or you could give your child a credit card with an unlimited credit line on it. Which way would more effectively teach your child to appreciate money? It would be through the system of work and reward, work and reward.
It was the same thing with the sacrificial system: Sin and forgiveness. Sin and forgiveness. That continual, complicated system that the Israelites had to engage in made them long for that once-for-all sacrifice that would cover their sin forever. That is what Jesus did.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Hope For Those Who Have Blown It” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.