OFFERING TRULY BURNED
Lord, I will comply with all of Your requirements.
Read LEVITICUS 1:1–17
The Burnt Offering
1 The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.
3 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord. 4 You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you. 5 You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 6 You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. 7 The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. 9 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.
10 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect. 11 You are to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. 12 You are to cut it into pieces, and the priest shall arrange them, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. 13 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to bring all of them and burn them on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.
14 “‘If the offering to the Lord is a burnt offering of birds, you are to offer a dove or a young pigeon. 15 The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. 16 He is to remove the crop and the feathers and throw them down east of the altar where the ashes are. 17 He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).
The reason for bringing burnt offerings to the priest is specified in verse 4—“to make atonement for you.” It could be a bull from the herd of the well-to-do, a lamb or a goat from the flock of the “middle class” or a dove or pigeon, which even the poorest can afford. Thus atonement is available to all, irrespective of social position.
There are four facts worth noting about the rituals involved. First, there is the laying on of hands (4). This practice confers spiritual responsibility and/or blessing. Here, responsibility for sin is transferred to the animal, pointing ultimately to how it will be transferred to the crucified Savior for our benefit. Second, and rather strangely, the internal organs and the legs are to be washed clean before being burned (9). This, together with the fact that only spotless animals could be brought for sacrifice, highlights the fact that our holy God demands purity from his people. Third, the blood has a special place in the ritual (5,11,15), for the life of the creature is in the blood. Finally, the priests, and sometimes the people who bring the offerings, eat of other sacrifices. This particular offering, however, is entirely dedicated to God, and so it is completely consumed by fire. No deviation from the rules is permitted.
In African traditional pagan worship, there is a saying that “when you’ve led a goat to the shrine you let go of the leash.” When we offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, how complete is the offering? Do we hold onto the leash in some parts of our lives?
“The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar” (Dwight L. Moody, 1837–1899). Do you sometimes try to wriggle out of your commitment to the Lord?
Lord, thank You for providing a means of atonement for our sins in the person of God Himself.
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