Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leviticus 1 (Burnt Offering)

I'm sorry for my inconsistency in blogging, I desire more consistency in keeping track of the things I'm doing and learning and am going to try to improve that. As I continue my study through the law I currently find myself in Leviticus. God is opening up His Word to me and challenging me to live a holier life. I would today like to share with you all some lessons God has showed me in the first chapter of Leviticus.

Leviticus 1 talks about the burnt offering, in Hebrew called "oleh" meaning everything goes up. Good stuff here in Leviticus 1, this sacrifice, as said in the post Walk Through the Law, has nothing to do with sin, in fact the first three sacrifices have nothing to do with sin, it's the last two, the sin and guilt offering that act as expiatory sacrifices or sacrifices that deal with transgression. The burnt offering is different in that it is the only sacrifice in which the priest has no part. Normally the priest would have a part of the sacrifice that he could eat but this one was wholly set apart for God.

I want to start out by asking, does God need anything? Does God really need our sacrifice so that He can gain something? The answer of course is no. So if God doesn't need my sacrifice, then why all these laws about sacrifices and giving to God? The answer is what it does for us. The sacrifice is for what happens to our hearts when we offer it to God, the divine truth that is revealed to us about God upon sacrificing. Now of course today we don't sacrifice animals, we're really not supposed to (and if you are doing it watch out for the Animal Rights Activists), this was the law for some Jews about 4000 years ago but we can still pull out great principles as to what God requires of us His people. Leviticus is all about approaching a Holy God as an unholy people. Knowing this we can ask, why did God decide to give the order that the Israelite people partake in the burnt offering and even more relevant, why did He decide to tell us about it? We'll get to that at the end but for now I want to point out some principles found in chapter 1 and then I would like you to filter those through the theme of the burnt offering which will be found at the end of the post.

Verse 1 brings out a good point, it'd be easy to pass by quickly but we see an important principle here. It says "Then the Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting." You see, a leader receives revelation from God when he spends time with God. That revelation will change the lives of many when transmitted correctly, truthfully, and with love. This book is revelation straight from the heart of God to His leader and then transmitted to the people so that they could have a closer walk with their God. We as well need to always be with God, learning from Him so that we can transmit the truth He reveals to us to those that need it most.

I won't be going through every verse but I do want to point out two very important principles. The first of those is in verses 3 and 10. When we offer things to God it has to be the best, if not, it's not a sacrifice. The sacrifices offered here had to be without blemish or defect from the best of the herd or flock (Definition of defects in Lev 22:17-25). God deserves the best. How many times when giving our offerings do we choose to give a dollar or a few quarters instead of giving from the heart, although tithing and money offerings pertain to the peace offering in Leviticus 3 the principle is the same. How often do we give God what is comfortable for us to give, how many times do we really step out in faith and say God, you've done so much for me, you deserve the best and then give to Him from our heart. If our sacrifices to God don't hurt us, our heart is probably not in it and the heart is what God really desires (Genesis 4:2-7). Like we said, He doesn't need our stuff.

The last principle that I want to share is in verses 5 through 17. We see here a list of processes as to how the burnt offering was to be prepared. Just as said, our lives are to be a living and holy sacrifice but we need to know that the how to get there is contained in the mind of God and in His Holy Word. This life must be lived according to God's standards not what seems right in our own eyes. Our standards will always fall short of God's. Even if what He has us do seems weird or ridiculous it's the right thing (Joshua 6:3). There are too many Christians walking around living so much like the world that they couldn't even be distinguished between a purebred heathen and a true believer. We have lost the importance of holiness in today's preaching. We try so much to be like the world and we even justify ourselves with reasons like, "I'll be able to reach more people for Christ because they'll see that I'm like them." This thinking is wrong, we are called to be holy as God is holy, so let's examine the scriptures, spend time with our Lord, and when He shows us the path to holiness let's be obedient to His voice.

We now arrive to our answer from the earlier question. This is the central idea of Leviticus 1. In Romans 12:1 Paul says, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." He is referring to the burnt offering in Leviticus 1. When he says, present your bodies, he's talking about an inspection, in fact the same inspection that took place when an Israelite offered his sacrifice, the sacrifice had to be blameless, without defect. Each sacrifice was to be inspected by the priest before being offered on the altar, in the same we we are to be inspected by God to show that we are blameless before Him. Friends and family, we must be holy and blameless, offered completely to God. The main principle of the burnt offering is surrendering every area of our lives to God, just as everything went up in the offering so must our life be, completely surrendered to God. I want to ask you personally, are you surrendered to God? You might say yes right away but really think about it. Your music, what you watch, what you say, the things you do, what you wear, are you really surrendered to our Lord? If someone was to look at your iPod would they be able to tell if you're a true follower of Christ or are you spending your days blending in with the rest of the world? Every day before I start my devotions I have to surrender to God, I have to die to myself because my heart always wants to stray away from my One True Love and always wants to fulfill it's desires not those of God. It's sad but true. I have to surrender and say "God, whatever you want from me today, I will give it to you", if I don't do this it's impossible for me to hear the voice of God. I love you all and pray that you will hear the voice of God this week and obey. God bless you all!!!

1 comment:

Cailyn Stevens said...

Good stuff Gary! I really like the way you connected Leviticus 1 with Romans 12--us as living sacrifices. You are right, we were totally on the same page with our blogging today! And I have to admit, I am still learning what it means to surrender and die to myself.