February 1, 2017

February 1, 2017

LEVITICUS 1-4

Focus Verse: “If someone’s offering is a fellowship offering, and he offers an animal from the herd, whether male or female, he is to present before the Lord an animal without defect.”

Leviticus 3:1

Today’s focus verse is a little different than the focus verses I have picked before. Honestly, I could have picked about any verse from today’s reading and communicated the same thing. I was a little worried about today’s reading. These passages from Leviticus can be kind of hard to glean pertinent information for us today. I think one thing that really helps to increase our understanding, not to mention appreciation for what Christ did for us, is to look deeper into the cultural significance of some of these sacrifices. I will not do that here, but if you’re looking for some extra credit…go for it!

The one thing that really struck me today while I was reading through these first few offerings the Israelites were to sacrifice to the Lord is that, one, their sacrifices were intentional, and two, their sacrifices were costly.

First, look at the detail with which the priests are to sacrifice these animals. I think that’s the point where many of us tend to get lost in these books of the Bible. Let’s ask the question though, when is the last time you’ve put that much thought into your offering to the Lord? Most of us just pound out a check once a month and go on our merry way. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing (especially as someone who works at a church and loses that job if people stop tithing), but there is something beautiful about the intentionality of these sacrifices. Each person knew what kind of offering they were presenting to the Lord for different situations in their lives. Each sacrifice was done very intentionally, very specifically…which means that it meant something to those giving.

Second, these offerings were costly. We miss that today because our culture is driven on currency and ideas much more than the agricultural culture the Israelites were in. When we read about them sacrificing a male animal without defect, we lose sight of the fact that male animals without defect were the ones these “farmers” needed to breed other healthy animals. Strong livestock starts with a healthy male to breed with the females. So in a way, offering this as your sacrifice is saying to God, “God, I’m giving you the future of my livestock, my livelihood, trusting you to produce for me more than this healthy male ever could.”

Now, again, let’s be honest: when is the last time we’ve put that much thought into the check we write to our local church? When is the last time we’ve said something similar to that to God when donating to our local food bank or our sponsor child from another country?

Let’s start! Let’s be intentional about our giving. Let’s PRAY over our giving, trusting God to do more with our gifts than we ever could. It’s called a sacrifice for a reason. Let’s be intentional about our sacrifices to God just as the Israelites were.

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