I am currently in Numbers, as I read through the Bible plan I am doing this year. Between Lev. and Numbers there is enough sacrificing being done that it seems like there would never be anything in the camp that was not stained with blood. Hundreds upon hundreds of animals lost their lives because of the sins of men and the consecration of this or that thing. In Numbers 7 alone there were more than 240 animals that were sacrificed in 12 days.
Can you imagine living in the OT/law system? Every time you sinned another animal, if you didn't do that right you could be put out of the camp, if this or that happened you might be put to death, if you complained against God the earth might swallow you up. This was a scary time to be one of God's people. It seems like it should have been scarier to be NOT one of God's chosen people but the Israelites seemed to get much more punishment than the others- at least up until they move into the promise land.
So back to the sacrificing. If God's people were suppose to give of the first fruit, and sacrifice of their herds and the sacrifice for their sins, doesn't it seem like we are getting off easy? Did God really put all the sacrificing away or does He want something more from me than I am giving? Wouldn't I be more spiritual if I lived more like they did? Wouldn't God be more pleased with me, as one of His children, if I sacrificed more? If I give to the Lord now, wouldn't He be more pleased with me if I gave more-sacrificed more?
That seems to be what many of the world's religious systems are trying to teach their followers- more sacrifice equals more spiritual. But what does God really want from me, and what could I possibly sacrifice to Him that He doesn't already have? What did He really create me for- to give Him back everything that He already has? If He gives all things to me and if what He really wants is for me to just turn around and give them back to Him to show how "spiritual" I am, that doesn't make a lot of sense. He should just not give me anything in the first place and make me a lowly subject, unable to do anything of my own free will.
So what is it that makes God pleased with His children if it is not sacrifice? He wants our hearts. He wants us to love Him more than anything else. He wants our wholehearted praise, thanksgiving, adoration. He wants us to tell others that He is the best and there is none like Him. He wants to be our first love- our highest focus. He doesn't really care about our sacrifice or our money- He wants our heart. He wants us to come to Him with a broken and contrite heart and acknowledge our utter dependence on Him.
Why did God choose Moses to lead the children of Israel? Moses was the meekest person on the earth. Moses knew that he couldn't do it on his own and that he was completely dependent on God. Moses was broken and contrite and we see him often falling on his face before God and crying out for help- this is what God wants from each one of us- not our sacrifice.
Often, I have thought of Moses as being this really strong leader who had command over a stubborn group of people- charismatic and strong- but this was not the man that God chose to deliver His people from Egypt or to lead them through the wilderness for 40 years- He chose someone meek.
I am thankful that God does not require sacrifices from us any more but I am also humbled to think that what He really wants doesn't actually cost me anything but to do it right it costs everything.