Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leviticus 3 & 4 - Peace (Fellowship) and Sin Offerings

LINK: Leviticus 3 & 4

BACKGROUND

Leviticus 3: Peace (Fellowship) Offering

Like the burnt and grain offering, this was a voluntary offering to the LORD and symbolized fellowship and peace with God and man through shed blood. The word comes from the root Hebrew word shalom which means "peace." An animal without defect was offered from the herd or flock. This is the only offering where the person offering could take part in eating it. It involved a communal meal where priests, worshippers, and guests could share in a feast as a meal with God. It was particularly popular in later years during the three feasts (Passover, Feast of Weeks, and Tabernacles) where many would gather in Jerusalem at the temple. When Israel became a monarchy, the king would often supplement it with many more animals (1 Kings 8:63-65).

Leviticus 4: Sin Offering

Different from the burnt, grain, and peace offerings, this offering was mandatory. It focused on paying for sin. The sin offerings atoned for sins against God. (more on that word in the future). Various animals were offered depending on the income of the person. Priests and leaders had to offer larger sacrifices.

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

All high priests sinned and had to atone for their sins, but the great high priest Jesus Christ did not sin:
For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. (Hebrews 5:1-3)
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:11-14)
REFLECTION - Hot, Cold, or Lukewarm?


I don't know about you, but the words in Hebrews 9 above send electricity through every part of my body: His blood through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God and has cleansed my conscience from dead works to serve the living God!


Who would not want to serve the living God because of this? Are we lukewarm and lackadaisical in our faith because we do not quite get the enormous price that Christ paid to cleanse us and free us? When I really understand this, it makes me want to be HOT for God.

I love a cold glass of milk or a nice hot milk steamer, but I detest a lukewarm glass of milk. And I had some lukewarm milk yesterday, and as I was gagging over it, God immediately reminded me of Revelation 3:15-16: 
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 
Christ has cleansed me to serve a living God! I want to be hot!


APPLICATION

Meditate on the verses in Hebrews and these verses about Christ's offering:

Isaiah 53:10
Matthew 20:28
2 Corinthians 5:21

If this is "old hat" to you, let the full import of Christ's offering wash over you anew. If it is new, and you are grasping it for the first time, cement it there so you will never forget it.

PRAYER

Lord, thank You that our consciences have been cleansed from dead works to serving You. Help us understand this to the depths of our souls. Lord, make us hot for You and Your purposes in our lives. Amen.
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