It’s curious how mechanical we want things to be. Just give me steps to follow, a list of items to complete in order, and I’ll get it done. But leave something open ended, dependent upon my actions but not having those actions defined, and I’ll either stop too soon or go a different direction entirely.
Take the sacrificial system God gave the Israelites. Very specific. Do this, in order, according to this plan, and you will have this outcome. If I have sinned and need that sin covered, there is a prescribed plan. He tells me what to bring as my offering, how to present it to Him and assures me those actions will accomplish the purpose.
We don’t find out until later that it wasn’t the offering itself but the heart of the penitent person that was a vital ingredient. But at least there were specific actions that could be checked off.
Now if I have sinned, I have no offering to bring, no prescribed actions. All I am told is confess and believe that confession satisfies God’s offering for forgiveness. Somehow that seems too little for so much. I have violated a command of God Himself. I have devalued His rule in my life. I have insulted His grace that sustains me. Surely an animal or something ought to have to die. Confession seems too small an action for such a provision as forgiveness.
But as David learned from Nathan, kill a million animals and you’ll still be dirty, offer God a contrite heart and broken spirit and He’ll clean you up. Which is easier?
The actions of sacrifice, the steps on my check-off list, give me more to do to help accomplish my purpose, but they are only busy-work. Dealing with God personally, according to how He said, as simple as that sounds, brings all of Heaven to bear on my life.