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.