Leviticus 1:1 through 2:16

Daybreak for Students

Leviticus 1:1 through 2:16

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Leviticus 1
Leviticus 2
No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire. — Leviticus 2:11

Several years ago I worked for the headquarters of a large retail chain, where my department’s responsibility was vendor compliance. When vendors wanted to do business with our store, we would send them a large manual with all the requirements for displaying and selling their product in our stores. The vendors would have to agree to comply with all the requirements. For example, a clothing vendor would have to agree to use a certain hanger approved by the retailer. If the vendor decided to use a substitute hanger that was not approved by the store, he would be charged a penalty for non-compliance. Each vendor was issued a “report card” on a regular basis to see how he measured up to the retailer’s standards.

In our Scripture reading, Israel was given instructions on how to bring their offerings to the Lord. They were reminded that God is holy and He has certain standards that must be met in order to receive His blessing. It is good to remind ourselves that God is holy and that He wants us to be holy. If we want to have fellowship with God, we must meet the standards set forth in His Word. If we meet His requirements, He has promised that He will dwell in us and give us the power to live a life that is holy and acceptable to Him.

In our focus verse, the Children of Israel were instructed not to use any leaven in their meat (grain) offerings. Leaven (yeast) was a symbol of sin. Any sin, no matter how small, will separate a person from fellowship with God. We need to examine our “sacrifice” and make sure it meets the pure and unblemished standard established by God.

BACKGROUND

The Book of Leviticus begins after the Children of Israel reach Mount Sinai on their way to the Promised Land. The Tabernacle had just been completed, and Moses instructed the people how they were to worship God. The rituals in Leviticus were understood by the Israelites because they fit the culture of that time, but they were intended to reveal a holy God who wanted their utmost devotion.

Throughout Leviticus, the words sacrifice and offering are interchangeable. There were five basic offerings that were acceptable to God, and each offering corresponded to a specific circumstance in a person’s life. The purposes of these offerings were for praise and worship, for forgiveness, and to restore fellowship with God. All but one of these required a blood sacrifice. Leviticus chapters 1 and 2 deal with two of these offerings.

The first offering mentioned is the burnt sacrifice, which atoned for committed sins. In animal sacrifices two things were accomplished. The animal paid the penalty for sin by becoming a substitute for the sinner, and the death of the animal symbolized the giving of one life so another could be saved. The animal chosen for the sacrifice had to be without blemish and had to be offered through a mediator. It could be a bullock, a sheep or goat, a turtledove or a young pigeon. The sacrifice was brought to the Tabernacle where it would be examined by the priest to make sure it was acceptable. The person making the sacrifice placed his hand on the animal’s head (except in the case of a bird) while the priest killed the animal, showing their recognition of the animal becoming their substitute. The entire animal, except for the skin and blood, was dismembered, washed, laid in order on the altar, and burned, showing complete dedication to God. The priests kept the hide for themselves (see Leviticus 7:8). The birds were cropped and laid on the altar whole. This offering signified a person’s earnest desire for fellowship with God.

What set Israel apart from their heathen neighbors was that other nations offered sacrifices to appease their gods, while Israel made sacrifices to a holy God, not to appease Him, but to offer a substitute for the punishment they deserved as sinners.

In Leviticus 2, Moses gave instructions for a meat offering, which was grain rather than the flesh of an animal. This offering was offered along with the burnt offering and represented a gift of thanks to God. It was a reminder that everything they had came from God, and they owed Him their lives.

There were three kinds of meat offerings: (1) fine flour mingled with oil and frankincense, (2) cakes or wafers of fine flour and oil that were baked in an oven or frying pan, and (3) roasted kernels of corn with oil and frankincense. No leaven or honey, both of which ferment, were to be present in any meat (grain) offering. Leaven (or yeast) represented sin, because it affected the whole loaf just as sin affects the whole life.

The priest put only a portion of the cake on the altar to be burned. The rest was kept by the priests for their personal consumption.

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)

I.   The way of access to God
     A.   By sacrifice
           1.   General instructions to all
                 a.   The first utterance — the sweet-savor offerings
                      (1)   The burnt offering (1:1-17)
                             (a)   The bullock (1:1-9)
                             (b)   The sheep or goat (1:10-13)
                             (c)   The doves or pigeons (1:14-17)
                      (2)   The meal offering (2:1-16)
                             (a)   General instructions (2:1-3)
                             (b)   Specific instructions (2:4-11)
                                    [1]   The offering prepared (2:4-7)
                                    [2]   The offering presented (2:8-10)
                                    [3]   The offering prepared — without Yeast reemphasized (2:11)
                             (c)   Further instructions — firstfruits (2:12-16)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. What were the two types of sacrifices mentioned in today’s text?

  2. Why do you think God was so particular about the type of animal used, and how it was prepared for the sacrifice?

  3. Christians do not offer animal sacrifices today, so how can we show our devotion to God and acknowledge that all we have belongs to Him? 

CONCLUSION

Romans 12:1 says to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” In order for our sacrifice to be acceptable, we must examine our lives to make sure they are without sin or moral blemish.