God gave Moses rules for types of offerings. The rules recorded in Leviticus 1:1 through to 6:7 were for the people. Rules specifically for the priests are recorded from 6:8 through to 7:38 and we’ll look at these tomorrow. While many were voluntary, the sin offering (4:1 – 5:13) and the guilt offering (6:1-7) were mandatory. Sin and guilt must be dealt with in the eyes of God!
There’s so much to be gained from close study of Leviticus, but I’m only able to comment on one or two aspects that have struck me today:
It’s interesting that the first seven verses of today’s reading make a direct association between sinning against another person and sinning against God. God regards them as one and the same!
This brings significance to Paul’s words as he wrote to the Corinthians (1 Cor 11: 27-32) regarding examining ourselves before we bring our offerings and take or share communion, and indeed the words of Jesus in Matthew (5: 23-24). It would appear to me that we cannot be in a right relationship with God if we are not in a right relationship with each other!
However, the encouraging point about these first seven verses is that, if we take the right steps, there is forgiveness (6:7).
When we think of guilt, we tend to associate it with a matter of feelings, but the bible treats it as fact. In the O.T. guilt (Heb., ‘asam’) has three aspects. (1) There is the act which brings guilt. (2) There is the condition of guilt which follows the act. (3) There is the punishment appropriate to the act. In the N.T. guilt is a judicial concept. The Greek word groups are drawn from the courts, and emphasise liability to punishment. The guilty person has been accused, tried, and convicted.
God is loving and has made a way for guilty sinners to escape punishment and be restored to fellowship with Him. That’s the triumphant message of Leviticus, whose sacrifices foreshadow the sacrifice of Jesus, whose blood cleanses us from every sin (Hebrews 9:11-28)
The other offerings from today’s passage are the Burnt offering, the Grain offering and the Sin offering. The thing about the Burnt offering is that we’re told there had to be a fire on the altar that was never allowed to go out. It was kept aflame all night and then replenished during the day (6:12-13)! This speaks to me of the constant availability of God’s cleansing power to forgive and restore.
As we think about our reading for today, let’s ask God to show us if there are any issues regarding our relationship with others that get in the way of our intimacy with Him. Heavenly Father, by your Holy spirit, speak to me today. Amen.