In the board game Monopoly, one of the most frustrating consequences is to wind up in jail. Players must pay a fine in order to be released. Luckily, a Chance card can help you get out of tricky situations. One of the most valuable Chance cards is the one labeled “Get out of Jail Free.” Each card is good for a direct trip out of the slammer, without penalty. Most Monopoly players, however, don’t have this card on hand, so they wind up paying the fee to get out of jail. It’s not unlikely for a player to be sent back to jail and have to make the payment again.
Like paying the fee and crossing your fingers that you aren’t sent back to Monopoly jail, the sacrificial system of the Old Testament only provided a temporary solution for the Israelites’ debt of sin. Israelites would take an unblemished animal and kill it in payment for the sins that they had committed. Priests would then take the blood of the sacrificed animal and sprinkle it around the walls of the temple. This payment allowed God to forgive His people for their sins against Him. This was an act of grace, because God made a way for His people to be forgiven for their sin. They had to make the payment to escape the punishment.
Unfortunately, animal sacrifices only paid the Israelites’ debt for a limited time. Following the law was necessary for righteousness, but the Israelites were stuck in their sin. Animals were continually sacrificed on their behalf. A debt had to be paid before God would see the Israelites as righteous. By God’s grace, the animal’s life was given in place of their own.