Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday, February 16: Leviticus 1-4 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus1-4

Today’s passage covers the details of the sacrifices that the Israelites were to offer to God. I read this passage & found the commentary fascinating as to the reasons behind the sacrifices.  Each & every small detail had important meaning.  
 Burnt offerings- 
Speak to the Israelites & say to them: ‘When any of you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock’.   Lev 1:2 
The burnt offering required a male animal without defect.  This animal was to symbolically take the sinner’s place & pay the penalty for sin. The animal’s death represented one life given so that another life could be saved.  The unblemished animal symbolized the moral perfection demanded by a holy God & the perfect nature of the sacrifice to come –Jesus Christ.  He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, & it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him” Lev 1:4 The person laid his hand on the head of the animal to symbolize the person’s complete identification with the animal as his substitute.   
These sacrifices were meant to teach: 
  1. reverence for a holy God by requiring perfect animals & holy priests.  
  1. total submission to God’s laws by requiring exact obedience 
  1. the high cost of sin & the sincerity of the people’s commitment to God by requiring an animal of great value 
Grain offerings-  
There were clear instructions for the grain offering as well: 
Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast.  Lev 2:11 
Yeast was not allowed in the offerings because it is a bacterial fungus or mould & is, therefore, an appropriate symbol for sin. It grows in bread dough just as sin grows in a life.  A little yeast will affect the whole loaf, just as a little sin can ruin a whole life.  
Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.  Lev 2:13 
The offerings were seasoned with salt as a reminder of the people's covenant with God. Salt is a good symbol of God’s activity in a person’s life, because it penetrates, preserves & aids in healing.  
Fellowship offerings- 
If he offers an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the Lord, he is to offer a male or female without defect.  Lev 3:6 
This offering was an expression of gratitude to the Lord. The animal sacrificed was to emphasize that peace with God or thanks to God was to be considered a cheap or unimportant gift 
Sin offerings-  
Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally & does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands.  Lev 4:1 
Although we may do something wrong without realizing it until later, a sin is a sin. God intended to make the Israelites aware of their sins (even when unintentional) so they could be forgiven for them & to keep the people from repeating them.  
We have been freed from the law because of Christ’s death on the cross, but this freedom can cause us to have a casual attitude toward the cost of sin.  God’s laws & sacrifices were intended to bring out true devotion of the heart & though we don’t have to perform these rituals, we do need to have an attitude of repentance & seek restoration.  
I felt it a good reminder as to how serious sin is & the real cost to it.  It is easy to quickly say a prayer of “forgive my sins” without really considering what they were or if I'm really repentant & making an effort to change.  Whether my sins are done willfully or unintentionally, I need to reflect, count the cost & work to change.  

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  Leviticus 5-7


Pamela said...

I think sometimes we forget the high cost of sin because the debt has already been paid.

TammyIsBlessed said...

I appreciated this condensed explanation and summary of the various offerings - so confusing to keep them all straight!

Burnt Offering (voluntary) - to make payment for sins in general - showed a person's devotion to God - Christ's death was the perfect offering
Grain Offering (voluntary) - to show honor and respect to God in worship - Acknowledged that all we have belongs to God - Christ was the perfect man, who gave all of himself to God and others
Peace Offering (voluntary) - to express gratitude to God - symbolized peace and fellowship with God - Christ is the only way to fellowship with God
Sin Offering (required) - to make payment for unintentional sins of uncleanness, neglect, or thoughtlessness - restored the sinner to fellowship with God; showed seriousness of sin - Christ's death restores our fellowship with God
Guilt Offering (required) - to make payment for sins against God and others. A sacrifice was made to God, and the injured person was repaid of compensated - provided compensation for injured parties - Christ's death takes away the deadly consequences of sin

We definitely don't take sin seriously enough in our day and age. These rituals definitely helped to keep that in the forefront of the Israelites minds.