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Scripture reading – Leviticus 2-3

Having introduced the Book of Leviticus in an earlier post, we focus on today’s Scripture reading, Leviticus 2-3. The first sacrificial offering described in Leviticus was the “burnt offering” (1:1-17). It consisted of an animal that was sacrificed for sin, “a male without blemish,” and either a bull (1:5), sheep or goat (1:10), or a turtledove or young pigeon (1:14).

Leviticus 2 – The Law of the “Meat Offering”

The “Meat” (Grain) Offering (2:1-3)

Leviticus 2 introduced the second sacrifice, the “meat offering,” but a better translation would be “meal” or grain offering. “The “meat offering” was a “gift,” a non-blood sacrifice that consisted of raw grain (“fine flour”), oil, and frankincense (2:1). Also known as an oblation, it was a voluntary offering of which the priests would take a portion for their families, and the rest was offered as a burnt offering (2:2-3). The “meat” or, one might say, “vegetable,” non-meat offering was accepted by the LORD as “a thing most holy” (2:3), though a portion supported the priests and their families.

Three Methods of Preparing “Meat (Grain) Offerings” (2:4-11)

The meat (or grain) offering was bread either baked in an oven (2:4), cooked in a pan (2:5-6), or made in a frying pan (2:7). As already stated, a portion was to be used by the priests for their households (2:8-10).

The meat or meal offerings were never offered with leaven (a symbol of sin in the Scriptures) or honey, perhaps because flour baked with honey would spoil and sour (2:11).

Salt and An Oblation (free-will) Offering of Firstfruits (2:12-16)

There was also an “oblation of the firstfruits,” which was a voluntary offering of faith and would “not be burnt on the altar” (2:12).

Notice that salt was to accompany all offerings (2:13). Salt was a valuable commodity for seasoning and preserving food. Therefore, it was to be a part of all offerings. (To understand the value of salt, remember the adage that expresses someone’s value as “worth their weight in salt.” No wonder the LORD referred to believers as the “salt of the earth” Matthew 5:13).

As a sacrifice to the LORD, the firstfruits of the harvest were the first “green ears of corn” or grain and served as a testimony of one’s faith in God’s continued provision (2:12-16).

Leviticus 3 – The Law of the “Peace Offering”

The third offering was a “sacrifice of peace offering” and was a blood offering.  (3:1-16)

Unlike the “burnt offerings,” which required a “male without blemish” (1:3), the “peace offerings” could be male or female (3:1). The standard, however, was “without blemish before the LORD.” The priests would inspect the offerings to ensure they were acceptable sacrifices (3:1, 12).

A man would bring his “peace offering” to the door of the Tabernacle, and laying “his hand upon the head of his offering,” he would “kill it.” The priests would then “sprinkle the blood upon the altar” (3:2). There was the offering of the herd, either a bull or heifer, or the offering of the flock, a lamb (3:6-7), or a goat (3:12). As with the “burnt offering,” the worshipper would “lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle” (3:2, 8, 13).  The priests then sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the altar and burned it on the altar (3:5, 11, 16).

Closing thoughts: “Without blemish” was the LORD’s standard for sacrifices (3:1, 6).

Offerings brought to the LORD were to be of the highest quality. I am sure some were tempted to bring less than their best (even as we might be tempted to do the same). I believe the apostle Paul had the “without blemish” standard in mind when he wrote:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

The LORD required the best in sacrifices and requires no less of us.  Our lives are to be “holy,” meaning sanctified, set apart, and dedicated to God. Only that which is holy is “acceptable,” pleasing and conforming to His will.

Anything less than your best is unacceptable!

Questions to Consider:

1) How were the priests and their families supported? (Leviticus 2:1-3, 10)

2) What seasoning was always to accompany offerings? (Leviticus 2:13)

3) What was the standard for “burnt offerings” sacrificed for sin? (Leviticus 1:3) How was the “peace offering” different? (Leviticus 3:1)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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