Sacrifice Essential to Human Worship
Ezekiel 40:38 -47
And the chambers and the entries thereof were by the posts of the gates, where they washed the burnt offering.…

The entrances and vestibules of the new temple were planned on a magnificent scale. The mind of the worshipper would be naturally impressed both with the greatness of the Proprietor and with the transcendent importance of the use to which it was devoted. But by what methods will the Sovereign Majesty of heaven be approached? More and more this question oppresses a reflecting man. As he gains the central courts of the temple the answer is clear. Sin is the great separator between man and his Maker. Reconciliation can only be effected by sacrifice. At the altar of burnt offering God will meet with penitent men, and confer on them his mercy. "Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin."

I. SACRIFICE IS THE TRYSTING-PLACE BETWEEN MAN AND GOD. "The altar was before the house." From the first days of man's fall the mercy of God allowed access for man to the presence of his Maker; yet access not free and unrestrained, as in the pristine state of innocence. Access to God's favor could now be found only at the altar of sacrifice. Hence Cain's suit failed because he brought only the fruits of the ground. Abel was accepted because his faith was loyal to the Divine command, and because he felt the evil of sin. Such sacrifice of animal life could be in no respect proper compensation for moral rebellion against God. Yet it was to man a revelation that God would accept substitution, and it served as a matter-of-fact prophecy, that in due time God would provide an efficacious sacrifice. It was as much for man's welfare as for the maintenance of Divine rule, that God would henceforth meet his fallen creature, and give heed to his prayer, only at the sacrificial altar.

II. SACRIFICE SERVES MANY AND VITAL PURPOSES IN MAN'S SALVATION. In the temple sacrifices were of various kinds, and were presented with great variety of ceremony. There was the sin offering, the trespass offering, the wave offering, etc. These were designed to meet the several wants of men. They expressed gratitude for benefit received; submission to the will of God; confession of past sin; acknowledgment that our sin deserved death; acquiescence in God's plan for forgiveness; a new act of covenant with God; complete devotion of self to the service of Jehovah. The future, as well as the past, was considered. The minds of men must be fitly impressed with the terrific evil of sin and with the excellence that comes out of self-sacrifice. God's stupendous gift wakens our profoundest love. We aspire to act as he acts, and so rise into the better life. Condescension is the road to eminence.

III. SACRIFICE DEMANDS A VARIETY OF HUMAN SERVICE. There were porters to keep the gates and to prevent base intruders. There were men to slay the animals, and men to wash the flesh. There were men in charge of the building, and men in charge of the altar. Some kinds of service were repulsive to the senses; some kinds were joyous and exhilarating. In God's temple there is some service which every loyal subject of Jehovah can render. The least endowed may perform some useful mission. As in nature every dewdrop has its effect, and the tiniest insect performs a useful task, so it is also in the kingdom of grace. The tears of the babe Moses changed the fortunes of the world. The child Samuel was teacher to the high' priest of Israel. A lad in the crowd possessed the barley loaves which served as the foundation of the Savior's miracle. Provision was made in the temple for great variety of servants. The service of God is not arduous. "They also serve who only stand and wait."

IV. SACRIFICE SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SERVICE OF SONG. "Without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers." Sacrifice may commence with sorrow; it also ends with joy. "Blessed are they that mourn" here; "they shall be comforted." Music well befits temple-worship. Here, if anywhere, the souls of men should go forth in swelling tides of gladness. Before Jesus and his companions went to Gethsemane they sang a hymn. In the inner dungeon at midnight, with feet bound in the stocks, Paul and Silas sang to God their praise. If joy thrills afresh the hearts of angels when one sinner on earth repents, it is meet that joy should also fill God's temple on earth. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the chambers and the entries thereof were by the posts of the gates, where they washed the burnt offering.

WEB: A room with its door was by the posts at the gates; there they washed the burnt offering.

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