It’s been far too long, but let’s look at the Scriptural basis for another great gospel song. I set out to come up with a song from every book of the Bible in order, and I’m at Leviticus. A gospel song from Leviticus may seem a little unusual on the surface, but the truth is that the Gospel is found in every part of the Bible, including in Leviticus. A Christian may labor to get through the law books when studying the Word, but that labor will pay off when the reader looks at those books with the realization that every part of it points gloriously to Christ. What better to teach us this than a gospel song lyric!
“He Never Even Looked at the Man” was written by Jeff Steele, Toni Clay, and Jeff Ferguson, and was recorded by the Whisnants on their 2007 project, Promises. It is a beautiful power ballad with a great vocal turned in by Susan Whisnant, but more importantly, it is a lyrical masterpiece that sinks its teeth deep into the doctrines of atonement and justification.
The first verse sets an Old Testament scene of a man bringing his burnt offering sacrifice on the day of atonement, and lays down some doctrinal foundation: “The time of year had come for sin to be atoned…The law required a payment, only blood could satisfy…” This scene is just what God outlined in the law for Israel in Leviticus 1:1-4.
1 And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord.
4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
The key for the sacrifice was that it was to be without blemish. Later in Leviticus 22:20, God commands:
But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.
The end of the first verse of the song presents a poignant contrast. The man bringing the sacrifice is thinking about the greatness of his sin: “His sins had been so many, surely nothing could suffice”. But the priest to whom the sacrifice is presented has a different view: “Then the priest fixed his eyes on the sacrifice”. That leads into the chorus, with the song’s key lyrics:
He never even looked at the man
He only examined the lamb
Carefully, deliberately, judging its acceptability
But he never even looked at the man
If you’re a Christian with a fairly basic understanding of Scripture, you’re probably already rejoicing about what this means for us. Every sacrifice outlined in the Old Testament is a picture and preview of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, on the cross of Calvary. Just like the levitical sacrifice, our sacrifice had to be perfect and without blemish. Pontius Pilate examined Jesus and said it better than anyone ever could: “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4). Because Christ, the one sacrifice for the sin of the entire world, was perfect, the quantity and quality of my sin does not matter ONE SINGLE BIT in the eyes of God! He never even looks at the man!
The second verse of “He Never Even Looked at the Man” brings home this application. The parallel to the man coming to the temple in the first verse is the sinner coming to the altar for salvation in the second verse: “Wanting to come forward, many in the crowd…Focus on the altar, they’d like to come, but how?” Again, the contrast is presented between the sinner and the sacrifice: “Their sins are overwhelming, and works cannot atone…But the Father in His mercy has made a way back home…it’s only through the sinless blood of Christ alone!” The chorus repeats, but this time, we know the Lamb being examined and accepted is not some animal, but the Son of God. Oh, how hopeless we would be if we were the ones being examined by God for entry into heaven! But we have a sacrifice that we can bring to God, that meets the necessary qualifications. His name is Jesus!
If the song stopped there, that would be plenty enough. But just for good measure, there is a bridge and chorus to hammer home one final point. Christ’s sacrifice is not just good enough at the moment of salvation, but it forever JUSTIFIES the believer. Sins past and future cannot change God’s view of us, because He only considers the Lamb!
He never even looks at the man
He only considers the Lamb
Carefully, lovingly, knowing His acceptability
But He never even looks at the man
He only sees the Lamb!
If you don’t know this song or have forgotten it, you need to download it or give it another listen! What a message!