By definition, fodder is something that is set aside for a particular use but has no natural value. It’s like the stuff of life that a comedian might turn into a joke for his next routine, and then the value would be added. But when God created life–all life–He created it with value. If He thought of the animals He requested for sacrifice as fodder, He would not have cared if they were spotless, and He would not have demanded such care be taken even when their end was to die. But if these same animals were killed senselessly, or killed to be offered to a false god, the killer would be seeing them as mere fodder and without value.
In today’s reading from Leviticus 17:1 through Leviticus 17:7, we find that the community of Israel doesn’t see the animals with that value. Instead, they have been slaughtering some of their sacrifices away from the tabernacle, and God is saying it must come to an end. When I first started reading it, I thought it was speaking of slaughtering for the purpose of a meal, and I was praying in my heart; asking God about it. Then I kept reading (which didn’t take too long at only seven verses, but the mind works pretty fast), and I found God’s reasons.
As it turns out, there were people in the camp who were slaughtering animals to make offerings to a false god. This Scripture calls these false gods “goat-demons” and says the people were prostituting themselves before them. After everything they have seen Yahveh Almighty do in their midst, I’m amazed they would even consider giving a sacrifice to a false god, but I’m also thinking they knew it was wrong since some were doing their sacrifices outside the camp. They’ve already received the commandments, and they know Yahveh is a jealous God, but I wonder how they could not know He is also an all-seeing God.
To prevent the people from being able to sacrifice to anything or anyone other than Their Holy Creator, God institutes a permanent regulation that all slaughters must take place at the door of The Tent of Meeting. My guess is that some people caught in the act of sacrificing to a false god might have tried to hide it by saying they were just preparing their offering for Adonai. But whether they lied about who it was for, or lied about why they had blood on their hands, performing the offering only at the door of the tabernacle and with the tabernacle priests would put a stop to the bad practices. It would also create a system of accountability.
The idea of accountability is helpful in everything from dieting and exercise to business and government. If we are only accountable to ourselves, we can eventually lose perspective. In the case of the tabernacle, the priests were accountable to the “high priest” who was accountable to God. The one(s) to whom you are accountable must be someone who truly cares to help you do the right thing. If a criminal is accountable only to other criminals, they will excuse his behavior rather than holding him to a higher standard. That’s why the people could not be accountable only to themselves.
As we walk and live for Christ now, we are living sacrifices and not just fodder. God looks on us and all we do with value. He saw us with enough value that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Now, after choosing to live for Him, we have our High Priest Yeshua to oversee us and offer accountability. We also have the accountability of God’s Holy Spirit living in us to guide us, so we don’t just run off trying to do things our own way.
I like the way The Message Bible talks about the living sacrifice from Romans 12:1-2…
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
And to close, let me give one more wonderful verse portion from Colossians 3:15-17 also from The Message Bible…
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
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