Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Leviticus Lessons: Offerings II

Good afternoon family.

I hope that you are doing well this fine Tuesday morning.  Today we will be continuing our study on offerings from the book of Leviticus.  If you remember last week we listed the six types of offerings and today we will focus on the Burnt Offering.  While there are quite a few detailed instructions on how to do the sacrifice, I wish to focus on what the process means to God and to the individual.  I would urge you to read Leviticus 1.

In the first chapter of Leviticus, we find the burnt offering described.  In it, God explains to Moses how the offering is to done along with the acceptable animals that can be used.  Any animal that was used  had to be without blemish or defect because God desires the very best at all times.  The three types of animals that were acceptable for use could come from (1) the herd, (2) the flock, or (3) birds.  What's important to note here is that God gives the people three ways to get the same job done depending upon the individual and what they have.  Not everyone may have had a herd or sheep and goats, but someone may have been able to find a dove or young pigeon.

Being able to use either of those animals, a person was able to provide a burnt offering which was accepted on their behalf to make atonement for them (see Lev. 1:4). Essentially, "...[t]he offering had the effect of removing and nullifying the effects of sin and averting God’s wrath from the offerer. In short, it restored the relationship of the offerer with God"1.

They had to know that God is slow to anger, but once He was pushed to the edge how in the world did they avert God's wrath? The Burnt Offering.  If you look at the the end of the verses 9, 13, and 17 you'll notice a similarity.  All end with "It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD."  If they wanted to avoid the wrath of God, they had please Him with something to make Him overlook the situation! 

Leviticus is not the first mention of the burnt offering, however, it is the place where God gives the people precise instructions on what to use, how to do it, and the reasoning for it.  As evidence, I'd like to provide you with an exert from Bible.org:
"Consulting a concordance will show that the first occurrence of the burnt offering is found in Genesis chapter 8. The first “burnt offering” was that offered by Noah after the flood waters had subsided, at which time he offered “burnt offerings” of all the clean animals (Gen. 8:20). God instructed Abraham to offer up Isaac as a “burnt offering” (Gen. 22:2ff.), and so the ram which God in Isaac’s place was offered by Abraham as a burnt offering (Gen. 22:13). When Moses told Pharaoh that Israel must take their cattle with them into the wilderness to worship their God, it was because they needed them to offer burnt offerings (Exod. 10:25-26). Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, offered a burnt offering to God in Exodus chapter 18 (v. 12). The Israelites offered up burnt offerings in conjunction with their meeting with God and receiving His covenant on Mt. Sinai (Exod. 20:24; 24:5, etc.). Unfortunately, when the Israelites worshipped the golden calf they offered up burnt offerings as a part of their false worship (Exod. 32:6)."2

To the unkeen eye, the Bible may seem to be all over the map, but doing a little bit of study reveals that it ties together quite nicely. Today, if you can take anything away is that the burnt offering provided atonement for the individidual and it provided a pleasing aroma to the Lord.

Next time, we'll dive into the Meat offering.  Until then, folks have a blessed day!


1The Sacrificial Offerings of Leviticus chapters 1-7.
2Bible.org. "The Law of Burnt Offerings (Leviticus 1:1-17)".
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