Just prior to entering the promised land and prior to Moses death, the Lord commands Moses to reiterate all the offerings and festivals they are to keep. This was a new generation and they needed to be reminded what they must do to keep their relationship with God right. It’s a lot of work! The number of animals that have to be sacrificed in a year is staggering. The wages of sin indeed.
There are daily offerings, morning and evening, Sabbath offerings, monthly offerings, the Passover, the various feasts, the Day of Atonement, and various and sundry other offerings. All to remind Israel that a relationship with God cannot be taken for granted, that it is God who determines the outline of the relationship and what is required to keep it.
I think the burden this put on the people of God only makes what Christ accomplished by his life, death and resurrection all the more astounding. The law and its requirements were fully, completely and totally met in Christ. His sacrifice fully, completely and totally paid the price for our sin, satisfied God’s wrath and justice. All the bulls, goats and lambs in the world could never do that. Knowing the Old Testament sacrificial economy as God wants us to know it puts Christ’s accomplishment in the proper perspective. In fact, according to his own words in Luke 24, it is the only perspective in which his life and death make any sense at all!
It’s a real shame that so few pastors and churches spend any real time on the Old Testament and redemptive history. In fact, the more I learn and immerse myself in the OT, it is an absolute dereliction of duty! And God himself as we see is big on reminding; he sees how weak and myopic we humans can be because of sin, and knows we need constant reminders about the nature of this relationship he has established with us. We will always fall back on works, while he exhorts us to remember that our relationship with him is established and sustained on and by his grace and mercy alone.