The ancient Israelite requirement of sacrifices seems weird and strange to us and it is hard for us to understand it since we’ve always lived on this side of heaven with Jesus. The easiest way to think of it is this: to be near God requires sacrifices. Before Jesus, it was animals. After Jesus, it is belief that Jesus’s blood covers our sins.
If you think back on ancient civilizations, most had some kind of sacrificial system to appease their gods. Aztecs, Babylonians, Egyptians, Incas, etc. Romans 1:20 puts it this way: we are born with something inside of us that knows about God and knows how to be near Him.
These sacrifices cost dearly. A bull or a goat could have been all some of these people owned. Even the poor had to bring a dove. Can you imagine? All of these animals going up in smoke constantly. Can you imagine the smell especially since the Tent of Meeting was right in the middle of camp. Gross!
The Israelites sacrificed a lot of wealth. Plus, with meat constantly being offered up to God and you rarely get to eat any. Talk about tempting!
Notice the order: sin offering first to purify yourself. Then burnt offering to say you were His. Then fellowship to be with Him. All the Israelites wanted was to be near God and without Jesus it was a lot of work and a lot of precision.
It is important to remember that none of this completely cleansed the people. It was a stop-gap until Jesus came. But it was the best the people could do, so they did it.
As you are reading these tedious regulations about cleansing and clean and unclean and whether or not to bring a male or female, remember these chapters in Leviticus help to give us a perspective on Jesus’s death and what a monumental sacrifice God made for us. Without Jesus, we’d still be killing animals left and right. With Jesus, we only have to believe. His sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice. That fact should blow your mind!