This was a huge revelation to me, that God provided the MEANS to reconciliation through animal sacrifice, but it was never His WILL that they be sacrificed! Rather, it was His will that mankind lived a life of purity, love, justice, mercy and reverence for Him.
Unfortunately, because the sacrificial system was provided, men's attitude toward sin became one of impunity because they could just kill and animal and be made right. Isn't that the way we think? I can screw up because all I have to do is say a few "Hail Mary"s or something similar to make up for it. Taking a life should have been grievous and sad, not done with impunity and lack of care for the animal. Definitely now what the Jews turned it into, making the temple a slaughterhouse because of their hard hearts towards sin and the animals.
Thank you for that insightful lesson on what God wants vs what humans will try to do to cover their sin so they can continue in it!
Sacrifice was part of the pagan world around them, child sacrifice and human sacrifice were common. Perhaps its part of our fallen nature, wanting to have a relationship with a Holy God, to think that we need to make gestures like killing things to appease him and be accepted by him, rather crazy to us in our civilized world though!