Making sense of it all (part 6)

The sacrificial system spans the whole of the Old Testament scriptures. From humble altars, through a portable Tabernacle in the desert during Moses' wilderness years, culminating in the awesome and majestic Temple in Jerusalem, the first built in the reign of King Solomon and the second built by Zerubbabel, and added to during the reign of King Herod.

As the outward manifestation of the sacrificial system became flashier, so the inward motivation became less and less meaningful. What started off as an expression of faith, became a mere ritual, adhered to outwardly, but far from the centre of the heart of the priests and the people. God began to speak through his prophets, expressing his displeasure at this state of affairs.

In Hosea 6:6 we read "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings."

Then again in Psalm 51, "You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

Then, in Proverbs 21, "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice."

Finally, in Isaiah 11, "The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. ... When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed."