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Why Did Animals Have To Die?


Numbers 19

If we’re disturbed by the sacrifice of animals, it’s because we’re supposed to be. Making payment for our sin shouldn’t be seen as an easy task.

In Numbers 19, God is specific in His requirements to atone for sin. A perfect red heifer needed to be sacrificed in order to fulfill the purification process for all the people, yet finding such an animal was akin to finding a needle in a haystack. There have only been nine documented sufficient examples from the time of the commandment in Numbers to the destruction of the second temple nearly 2,000 years later (via Israel Today).  

So why would God ask us to do things that are virtually impossible? Maybe it’s because the sin we’re born into inclines us to self-sufficiency. How many of us are willing to try anything and everything before bending a knee and admitting we need help? 

Through generations of animal sacrifice, God created a need for a savior in us. Jesus’ sacrifice wouldn’t be a big deal if we could pay for our sin on our own. A rare heifer foreshadowed the impossibility of us maintaining a state of forgiveness and the need for someone else.  

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Someone always has to pay for sin. There must be shedding of blood for there to be forgiveness of sins, but it could only be sufficient with uncommon perfection.  

God is constantly reminding us that we’re called to something bigger and better than anything we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He wants to do the impossible with a simple, surrendered life. If we can trust Him with paying the impossible price for our sins, how much more can we trust Him with all the difficult details of our lives? We can’t possibly doubt that kind of Savior.


  • What is God calling you to do that you’ve been resisting because it just seems too big?
  • God is always at work, even when we can’t see it. What step do you need to take this week to trust God with whatever situation is facing you?

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