If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Leviticus 6, Psalms 5–6, Proverbs 21, Colossians 4. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Leviticus 6.
Leviticus 6 continues the section that we’ve been reading for the past few days. These chapters detail the regulations for the various types of sacrifices the Hebrew people were to bring to the Lord at the Tabernacle. Verses 1-7 describe the sin offering—the type of offering brought when someone sinned. Verses 8-13 describe the burnt offering and verses 14-23 describe the grain offering. Finally, verses 24-30 give further regulations for the sin offering. Verses 1-7 described this sin offering from the perspective of the sinner; verses 24-30 described the priests’ responsibility for handling this sin offering. When we think of the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, the sin offering is the one that usually comes to mind, at least for me. We understand the need to pay restitution to others (v. 5) and to pay the wages of sin, death, to God (vv. 6-7). But as important as the sin offering was, it was not the only offering the Hebrews were commanded to bring to God. The burnt offering described in verses 8-13 was an offering of pure worship. It was often offered to God in conjunction with other offerings, such as the sin offering, but it could be brought on its own by anyone who just wanted to worship God. Verse 9 tells us that this burnt offering “is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar.” It is called the burnt offering because of this verse. It was to be given to God completely and not removed from the altar until nothing but ashes remained. The symbolism of this is that the worshipper belongs to God. It is an expression of the worshipper’s desire for God to consume his life completely. “Take all of me, O God,” was clear message that this offering was to convey. Think about what that must have been like. The worshipper gave up something of high value to him—a perfect animal that would totally consumed, nothing left for him to use or sell. The priests received no value from it, either. It was 100% given to God, a complete waste from the perspective of someone who did not know God but an act of pure devotion for those who do. It as also an act of faith, expecting to God prosper his work and provide for him and his family in the days ahead.
For us, Christ himself was our sin offering (see 2 Cor 5:21) but, just as the Hebrews were to bring other offerings as acts of worship to God, we too bring offerings to God—not for the forgiveness of sins but as expression of our praise, thanks, and love to God. This is what Paul had in mind in Romans 12:1, a passage I’ll be reading this morning in our Sunday worship service: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” In light of all that God is and all that Christ has done for us as our sin offering, we owe God everything! But instead of consuming a dead animal to show him our love and give him our worship, we have an opportunity to be his living sacrifices. As we’ll see in today’s message, this means serving within the body of Christ. Every time we spend time giving the gospel, or preparing to teach or teaching, or serving the poor in our food pantry, or listening to others who are hurting or need advice, we are giving of ourselves to God as living sacrifices, acts of “true and proper worship.”
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. See you when we gather for worship later today!