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Wedding rings are a public way to say that a person is married. But wedding rings are also to symbolize the couple’s love and loyalty until death separates them. That ring symbol loses its substance if the pledge is broken. That same principle was at work when God instructed ancient Israel to offer animal sacrifices. Those sacrifices symbolized an important truth. God is so pure and holy that no one can find acceptance with Him apart from the ultimate payment of death. In anticipation of the day when God’s only Son would come to give His life as the full payment for our sins, God provided a temporary arrangement. To approach God, people could sacrifice an animal to pay for their sins. Leviticus 12:6 tells us about one occasion when a mother should offer an animal sacrifice. After childbirth, a mother should offer a burnt sacrifice of a lamb or of two pigeons. Because she was poor, Mary, the mother of Jesus, brought two pigeons after she gave birth to Jesus. This offering symbolized her faith in God as the source of the life—the life she had just brought into the world. It also symbolized her recommitment to the faith community. So today, just as exchanging rings in a wedding ceremony has little value if there is no inner commitment, so symbols of worship have little value if they do not reflect inner-conviction and commitment.

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