I'm slogging through Leviticus again this year, two months into a reading schedule that will see Jesus returning about Christmastime. I'm reading the New Living Translation (thank you very much, Mike Kjergaard), and am being blessed in spite of all that grossness and gore.
Every sin demands a sacrifice. Cheat on your neighbor, gotta kill something. Refuse to testify in court, somethings gotta die. Commit an accidental sin? Nope, you still gotta slit some poor critter's throat (unless it is a bird, in which case you ring its neck - a nastier reality as far as I'm concerned.)
Its a good think I didn't travel with Moses. Methinks that my flock - I was a shepherd back in high school you know - would have steadily dwindled. Sin was a pretty expensive
proposition back then, but then I guess that is the point. God wanted His children to know that sin is not consequence free. I'm guessing He also wanted his sons and daughters to develop an aversion to sin. Once you've slaughter your kids' pet goat, I suspect that when you get back from the tabernacle and look your children in the eyes, their faces muddied with tears and dirt, you begin to get a more godly perspective on sin - and probably also the desire to avoid it in the future.
Sin is still expensive. According to a Forbes magazine report, Americans spent $14 billion on porn in 2001. By comparison, we spent $18 billion on generic drugs just three years later. One wonders if some of those weren't antibiotics. Billions more were spent on illegal drugs, fast-food binging and boozing it up.
But the cost of sin isn't demonstrated in just dollars and cents. I see it every day. Sin cost Tammy and Dave their marriage (not their real names, of course). Unsatisfied with his marriage, Dave "fell in love" with a woman he met on the internet. The cost to their children was immense. Their marriage dissolved, and their family fractured.
Jim meets with me regularly. He is addicted to internet porn. It's too soon to know if he'll be able to save his marriage, but already the cost has been high.
Melanie is a drunk. The cost of her dissipation has ran into the thousands of dollars. Her sons stand on the sidelines and watch their parents slog through a messy divorce. Who will get the house? Where will the kids live? And those are just the easy questions. The harder ones: Will anyone want me now that I am divorced? Can God forgive me? Can I forgive myself? Those questions stare back at them from their bedroom ceiling each night as they wonder if their lives will ever stop spinning like the $300 Hunter-Douglas they just installed in the house that one of them will have to move out of.
Yes, sin is expensive. Always has been.
Moses and the Israelites paid for sin with the blood of sheep and goats. God paid for sin with the blood of His Son, Jesus. Because of Jesus' sacrifice, I can be forgiven. But that doesn't mean there isn't a tab to pay in the here and now. There is. There always will be. And although we may not have to carry a yearling on our shoulders to the tabernacle, we do well not to forget that sin costs, nevertheless.