REAL LIFE Expository Study Devotional : The Making of the Nation of God 3 – The Levitical Code of Worship and Separation

Day 7: The Peace Offering.

‘‘And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.’’ Lev. 3:1

Additional reading: Lev. 1:3, 7:11, 29

Following the grain or the meat offering was the peace offering. The LORD spoke to Moses concerning the peace offering in this regard: ‘‘And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.’’ The key word here is peace offering. What was peace offering and why was it necessary to observe this kind of offering in the camp of Israel?

‘‘And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering [selem — properly requital, i.e. a (voluntary) sacrifice in thanks: – peace offering], if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.’’ The word requital is from the root word requite, which according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English means to give or do something in return for something done or given to you. It is; therefore, absolutely right to say that peace offering is sacrifice in thanks for what God has done.

Unlike the grain or meat offering, peace offering was not an offering to atone for sins but one that celebrated a covenant relationship between God and the offerer. In fact, it was a meal shared amongst God, the priests and the offerer. On this basis, it is referred to as a communion or friendship meal as it established peace between God and the offerer and gave him the opportunity to make a vow before God.

Please note these instructions: ’’Lay your hands on the head of your offering and slaughter it at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Aaron’s sons, the priests, will throw the blood on all sides of the Altar. As a Fire – Gift to GOD from the Peace – Offering, present all the fat that covers or is connected to the entrails, and two kidneys and the fat around them at the loins, and the lobe off the liver that is removed along with the kidneys. Aaron and his sons will burn it on the Altar along with the Whole – Burnt – Offering that is on the wood prepared for the fire: a Fire – Gift, a pleasing fragrance to GOD.’’ (Lev. 3:2 – 5, 6 – 11, 12 – 16 MSG). Only part of it was meant for God — fat and blood. Fat and blood are essential to life and the represented the life of the offerer when sacrificed. Since God alone had right over life; these parts were set apart strictly for Him. ‘‘Life is in the blood, and I have given you the blood of animals to sacrifice in place of your own. That’s also why I have forbidden you to eat blood.’’ (Lev. 17:11 – 12 CEV). ‘‘And no matter where you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal, or you will no longer belong to the community of Israel.’’ (Lev. 7:26 – 27 CEV).

Then these: ‘‘…Then the priest will burn the fat on the altar, but the breast will belong to Aaron and his descendants. Give the right thigh of your peace offering to the priest as a gift. The right thigh must always be given to the priest who offers the blood and the fat of the peace offering. For I have reserved the breast of the special offering and the right thigh of the sacred offering for the priests. It is the permanent right of Aaron and his descendants to share in the peace offerings brought by the people of Israel. It is their right to share…’’ (Lev.7:31 – 35 NLT).

If you look very well at all the above rules, you will notice that all the guidelines were basically the same. Please note that these were not just mere repetitions but were deliberate in order to make us realise that our service unto the LORD should be detailed and as directed by Him.

The very first verse of Leviticus 3, which introduced the peace offering, contains something, which must not be over looked. It says: ‘‘And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.’’ The phrase that I am concerned about is one that describes the state in which all offerings to be presented before God should be — he shall offer it without blemish [tamim … entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) integrity, truth:- without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely, sincerity, sound, without spot, undefiled, upright, uprightly, whole]] before the LORD.’’ Gifts to be presented before the LORD must be perfect and set apart as holy.

In summary, the peace offering marked a celebration or renewal of communion and friendship with God. It points to the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to peace with God.

Meditation: Am I at peace with God even as a born again Christian? What sort of gifts do I take before the altar of the LORD?

Prayer: Today I ask for a renewal of communion with You by confessing all my sins and asking for Your forgiveness through the sacrificial blood of Your Son Jesus Christ. Let the Holy Spirit fill me once again; that I may be a partaker of Your sweet communion.

REAL LIFE Expository Study Devotional – The Making of the Nation of God 3: The Levitical Code of Worship and Separation

Day 6: The Grain or Meat Offering.

‘‘And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon…’’ Lev. 2:1

Additional reading: Num. 15:4; Lev.5:11

The grain or the meat offering was next in line. Moses was again detailed by God and rules were to be adhered to. God told him: ‘‘And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:

A quick examination will reveal certain things: ‘‘And when any will offer [qarab — a primitive root; to approach (causatively bring near) for whatever purpose:- approach, case to approach, bring, cause to bring, bring forth, bring near, come, cause to come near, come nigh, draw near, be at hand, join, be near, offer, present, produce…] a meat [minha … from an unused root meaning to apportion, i.e. bestow; a donation; euphemistically tribute; specifically a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary):- gift, oblation, offering, meat offering, present, sacrifice] offering [qorban — something brought near the altar, i.e. a sacrificial present: – oblation, that is offered, offering] unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon…’’

The grain or the meat offering was simply a tribute unto the LORD. In other words, it was a thanksgiving offering. ‘‘When you offer sacrifices to give thanks to me, you must use only your finest flour. Put it in a dish, sprinkle olive oil and incense on the flour…’’ (CEV). This was very different from the burnt offering that atoned for sins — as it was completely consumed. On the contrary, only a part of the meat offering was burnt.

The thanksgiving offering was to express ones appreciation (honour and respect) towards God for God’s blessings upon the works of his hands. God is the creator of the universe, the provider and owner of all things. It was, therefore, expedient to say ‘thank you,’ to God by taking a portion of one’s fruit of labour and set it apart as holy and present it before the LORD. It was a kind of a first fruit offering.

Now, note the rules attached to this offering: (1.) ‘‘None of the grain offerings which you present to the LORD may be made with yeast; you must never use yeast or honey in food to the LORD.’’ (vs. 11 GNB). Yeast is symbolic of sin — it grows in bread dough just the way sin grows in human life. Yeast and honey were also used to aid fermentation, which result in decomposition and decay. This too is associated with sin. Therefore, it could not be part of a holy offering unto the LORD. Honey and yeast were also believed to represent pride and hypocrisy. (2.) ‘‘Season every presentation of your Grain – Offering with salt. Don’t leave the salt of the covenant with God out of your Grain – Offerings. Present all your offerings with salt.’’ (vs.13 MSG). Salt was to remind Israel of their covenant relationship with God. It preserves, has the ability to penetrate and aids in healing. All these properties of salt show God’s activity in man. By asking them to season their gifts with salt, God was indicating His desire to be active in their lives. Salt is also used to seal agreements. And the moment this was done the agreement was permanent — irrevocable. Please read Matthew 5:13; 16:6; Mark 8:15; 9:49 – 50.

In summary, the grain or meat offering was a voluntary act of worship done in recognition of God’s goodness and providence, thus, signifying ones commitment and devotion to the LORD. The relevance of this offering to the body of Christ today is that Jesus was the perfect man who surrendered Himself to God and the entire human race.

Meditation: In what ways do I express my appreciation towards God for all His blessings?

Prayer: Accept my gift offering today. This is a token of my appreciation for all You have done for me. Note: You may wish to offer to the LORD a real gift offering today.

REAL LIFE Expository Study Devotional – The Making Of the Nation of God 3: The Levitical Code of Worship and Separation.

Day 5: The Burnt Offering.

‘‘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.’’ Lev. 1:3
Additional reading: Deut. 15:21; Rom. 12:1; Eph.5:27; Heb. 10:5 -10, 13:15 – 16; 1Pet.1:19
At this point, is expedient to remind us again that one singular reason why God delivered His children from Egypt through His mighty power was to have His chosen nation made in His image and likeness worship Him: ‘ ‘‘Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the King of Egypt and say to him: ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship God—our God.’’

’ (Exo. 3:18 MSG).
Having delivered Israel from the powers of Egypt, God made known His intention to dwell in the midst of His children: ‘‘I also want them to build a special place where I can live among my people.’’ (Exo. 25:8 CEV). ‘‘The people must make a sacred Tent for me, so that I may live among them.’’ (GNB). It is obvious from these verses that God not only desired worship from His children, He desired to fellowship with His children — to actually live with them.
Unfortunately, there was a limitation on the side of His children; God could not fellowship or live with His own because of their sins and they on their part could not access the holy God for the same reason. So, on account of sin, there was a great gulf between the holy God of Israel and a sinful nation. Nonetheless, God on His own accord put in place the means through which He could have an unhindered fellowship with His children and they in turn could access Him as they so desired. He began by making His intention to live with Israel known to Moses, thereafter; He gave Moses a detailed plan of His dwelling place including the size, materials to be used for the building, how to build it and those to construct specific items, not forgetting the sacrifices, what they would be, what they would be used for and how to use them.
Thereafter, Moses was again detailed to set Aaron and his sons apart to minister in the priestly office. Their term of reference was to mediate between God and Israel by offering sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people for the purpose of fellowship. The Levites; Gershom, Kohath and Merari were later consecrated as servants to attend to Aaron and his sons in the tabernacle. They were also given specific assignments and remained under strict supervision of the sons of Aaron.
Having put all things in place; the tabernacle and those to mediate between God and Israel by offering sacrifices in order to atone for the sins of the people for a sweet communion, God reveals to Moses the processes the priests must go through to ensure holiness amongst His children, which will give them access before His throne. So, the book of Leviticus served two purposes; (1.) to guide Israel on how to access the holy God through sacrifices with the priests as mediators, and (2.) to make God’s standard for holy living known to Israel.
Therefore, in Leviticus chapter 1 verses 2 to 3 God said to Moses: ‘‘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 herds, and of the flock. 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.’’
Just as God was specific in detailing Moses concerning the building of the tabernacle, He was specific in detailing him also on their nature or manner of sacrifice. Verse 3 is really revealing: ‘‘If his offering [qorban — something brought near the altar, i.e. a sacrificial present: – oblation, that is offered, offering] be a burnt sacrifice [ola — a step or (collectively stairs, as ascending); usually a holocaust (as going up in smoke):- ascent, burnt offering, burnt sacrifice, go up to] of the herd, let him offer [qarab — a primitive root; to approach (causatively bring near) for whatever purpose:- approach, case to approach, bring, cause to bring, bring forth, bring near, come, cause to come near, come nigh, draw near, be at hand, join, be near, offer, present, produce…] a male without blemish [tamim … entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) integrity, truth:- without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely, sincerity, sound, without spot, undefiled, upright, uprightly, whole]: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of t he tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.’’
God requested for an offering — a present to be brought to His altar — to be offered. This was to be a burnt sacrifice — a holocaust — best described as a great destruction of lives — so the offering was to be entirely consumed, this was to ascend before God in smoke. The present, which was to be without blemish — sinless, perfect, undefiled, sound, complete, full, etc was to give the offerer access to God — to draw the offerer near to God as it is only in holiness that man could fellowship with God.  This act of offering a burnt sacrifice before God showed that the person was completely consumed i.e. consecrated unto God.
Verse 4 reads: ‘‘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.’’ By putting his hands on the animal, the offerer was transferring his guilt unto the animal that was without blemish. The animal in other words played a substitutionary role — the animal became the guilty one, it identifies with the sins of the offerer.  Therefore, the death of the animal on the altar of sacrifice also meant the death of the offerer. And when offered as a burnt sacrifice, smoke ascends before God meaning a total consummation of the sacrifice so that the offerer could have fellowship with God. This consummation meant a total consecration of the offerer unto God. However, this did not remove sin permanently as it only made fellowship with God temporarily possible.
In summary, therefore, the burnt sacrifice was to make fellowship with God possible. Israel needed to know that consecration and forgiveness of sins were necessary before true worship was possible. This was offered every morning and evening. It signified atonement for sins, complete surrender, devotion and commitment to God.
The lesson for the Church from this offering is that Christ’s death was the perfect offering. He died once and for all (Heb.9:12).
Meditation: Am I totally consumed before God on His altar?
Prayer: I lay my life before You today and surrender all that I am to You. Let Your will be my will  and may nothing of mine be left so that my life will ascend before Your throne as a sweet smelling savour.

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