Ex. 22:20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the LORD alone, shall be devoted to destruction.
Read Exodus 22:16-23:9
This past month we have seen nations and teams in floods of joy and floods of tears as their hopes at winning the World Cup either seemed to materialize or vanish before their very eyes.
President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil encapsulates what many other people felt as they watched the game, “My nightmares never got so bad.” Argentina’s Javier Mascherano, who kept his team’s hopes alive with a heroic, last-ditch tackle on Arjen Robben during the semifinal against the Netherlands, said that the pain of losing was “immense.”
Every team that lost a match during Brazil 2014 made great sacrifices just to qualify for the World Cup. This small vignette gives us a window into every human soul. We all have things we desperately want. We ask these things to grant us validation and appreciation.
We hope that the sacrifices we make will eventually pay off.
This law in Exodus 22 and 23 is sandwiched between a host of random laws. We find this law directly in the middle of these laws. It is the centre point on which all the laws hinge. Martin Luther, the 15th century German reformer, stated that all commandments hinged on only one: worshipping anything other than God. We all make sacrifices. We sacrifice our moral integrity, we sacrifice our character, we sacrifice anything and everything for a central goal in our life, a dream.
Exodus tells us that one day these things we sacrifice to will be unable to deliver the very thing they promise. Four years from now Germany will have to hand on the World Cup to another team. Their sacrifices for glory and fame will become impermanent. They will lead to a sense of loss, frustration and failure.
The Christian life is a life of sacrifice. It is a life marked by the very sacrifice of God Himself on the cross. His sacrifice is what saves us from loss, frustration and failure. We find the only validation and glory that will never fade. We were worth the very life of God. We no longer sacrifice for redemption, we sacrifice because we have been redeemed.