Human sacrifice was practised in many cultures in pre-history. Scholars debate whether this was the case in Ancient Israel; certainly, evidence was found in Egypt, although it had largely ceased when the pyramids were built around 4500BC. Human sacrifice has been known even in this present century, often associated with what we might call satanic cults.
So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”
[1 Samuel 15:22-23 NKJV]
God seems to have demanded sacrifices since time immemorial and is our God any different to the deities of the past — or of other religions? Well, yes He is, because He does not demand that you sacrifice another by killing; He demands that you offer yourself as ‘a living sacrifice’.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
[Romans 12:1 NKJV]
And Paul says that this is our ‘reasonable service’. I may be totally wrong here, but it seems that our God — who has always been with us — sought to correct our misguided ideas of what He (or previously, gods) were, by sending Jesus to us to open our minds to the truth behind our suppositions.
I sleep, but my heart is awake; it is the voice of my beloved!
He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love,
My dove, my perfect one; for my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night.”
[Song of Songs 5:2 NKJV]
The sacrifice that our Lord hopes for from each one of us is our obedience, which in essence is the complete and utter commitment of everything we are to Him. That is the reality of human sacrifice — not the taking of a life, but the giving of a life; the gifting of my life to my Heavenly Father, who gave me that life in the first place! That is the understanding He hopes that we will have.
A parable is an earthly story which does not explain itself.
Every one of us has an earthly story, and the explanation of it is not to be found in its own expression, but only in the domain of the Designer of life. Job says that the explanation his friends give of his earthly story is hopeless, they are nowhere near understanding it; God alone is the Source from whence will come the explanation of all he is going through.
[from 'Baffled To Fight Better']
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GEORGE and GILL STEWART