Saturday, September 11, 2010

Leviticus 2 (Grain Offering)

Today let's talk about the Grain Offering found in chapter 2 of Leviticus. Again the Grain Offering has nothing to do with sin. I want to the Lord for the book of Leviticus because it shows us how to approach a Holy God as an unholy people. The word in Hebrew for the Grain Offering is "Minchah", it means the apportioned offering. The way it was explained to me is kind of like a person who has a pizza, the grain offering is like giving God one slice of your pizza, that is apportioning. This offering is interesting, it doesn't involve any blood or animals but instead grain. In verses 1-3; 14-16 we see that the Israelites could bring their offering in a few different forms: fine flour, fresh heads of grain, or grits of new growth. The Israelites would bring their Grain Offering in whatever stage of growth. If the plants were fully mature and they had been harvested the Israelites offered fine flour, if the plants were still growing they would bring the grits of new, if they were about to mature they brought the heads of grain. Another important part of the Grain Offering is that the Israelites had to depend completely on God for their grain harvest. If there was no rain there was no grain and that's not good. Their economy wasn't like ours, there was no McDonalds or Taco Bell, they had to depend on the rain and who makes the rain fall? Now that we know a little bit of the context, how can we actually apply this to our lives?

First of all, God wants your surrender and trust at whatever stage of life you're in. There's a lot of people who say, "I'm too young for God to use me or I'm too old, or I'm not sufficient" (Ex 3:11). It doesn't matter what your excuse is, God wants your obedience and surrender at whatever stage of life you're in. Just like Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:12 don't let people look down on your youthfulness. There is no such thing as too old or too young in the Kingdom of God, it's never too late to give to God.

Did you know that God wants what we have right now? I'm a missionary, I hardly have any physical possessions apart from the clothes on my back. Does that mean I don't have anthing to give back to God? No! That's just an excuse, God wants what we have in this moment. Maybe you find yourself in the same situation as me, you don't have much to give so you think you have nothing to offer God. Know that that's not true, there are many things we can give to God in this moment, perhaps things not tangible but things very important to us. If God asks that I give up a day of watching television so that I can spend more time with Him I must be willing to do that. We need to remember that God doesn't need anything, He just desires the heart of the sacrifice and wants to know that He is Lord of ALL the areas of my life.

In the Jewish culture they had to depend on the rain in order to have grain. This sacrifice was also meant to constantly remind the Jewish people of their God who provided for them. By their sacrifice they were recognizing that their harvest came from the Lord, not from their own hands. It would have made more sense to not sacrifice right. Without sacrificing you have more, well this is kind of where faith comes in. Are you going to show God that you trust Him and recognize that He is the one who blessed you, or will you hoard the blessing for yourself? How many times do we actually recognize who gives us all the things we have. In the society of the United States it's easy to become comfortable and think, "look at what my hands have done." If you find yourself in that train of thought let me tell you that it's not by your hands but by the hands of God that you are blessed. We must constantly remember Him, He wants us to remember that He is Jehovah Jireh (God our Provider). If we don't constantly remember God we will become prideful, our head will swell up, and we will start to believe that our success was brought about by our own hands.

I want to say again, God doesn't need our things. He does all this for us. Yes, for us, the sacrifice isn't for God, it's for what happens in our heart. If we don't continually receive from God and as a practice give to back to Him and to others we will become like the Dead Sea. Do you know why there's no life in it? Because it only receives and never gives anything out. A sea or lake that is alive not only receives but gives it's water out to other sources. God desires that we have life. That is why He desires that we give and sacrifice, so that we might experience true, vibrant life. There is life in death to ourselves.

"God we thank you Holy Lord for what you've done for us. Many times we are ungrateful and don't remember you, but today we just want to say thanks without asking for anything, just a simple thanks. God we love you and always want to be willing to sacrifice what we have in this moment. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen."

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