Leviticus 3: The Need For Peace

peace_with_god

 

In Leviticus 3, we learn about another basic need of humans. We all need peace. The first offering we studied was the burnt offering which, pictures us the need to belong, the need to be loved.. It was the most frequently offered of all the offerings because it is the most basic of all.

Next came the meal offering, which represents the need to respond to love, the need to open up, to love in return.

Now we come to the peace offering,  when you respond to love, joy is born. That is what joy consists of….PEACE!

In the fifth chapter of Galatians (Galatians 5:22), where the fruits of the Spirit are listed for us, the order of the first three elements are: love, joy, peace. As the Israelites brought their offerings, they were declaring and learning these truths.

When an Israelite brought a burnt offering thoughtfully he was recognizing the love of God for him, recognizing the fact that he was owned and possessed by God. When he brought a meal offering he was responding with joy to God. He was offering himself, in return, he was opening up his life. The result of that was  his life was greatly enriched.  No proper life is possible without peace.

The peace of GOD! The sense of emotional stability, of an untroubled heart. That is what we need — a sense of security, of well-being, of confidence that things are under control and that it is all going to work out. That is the kind of peace this offering represents.

We all know how it feels without peace! Stress, headaches, even emotional breakdowns and nervous issues can occur. Lord there is nothing more precious than PEACE OF MIND!

As you look at the peace offering, there are some differences than the others.

The first difference is that the peace offering could be either a male or a female. Look at Verse 1:

“If a man’s offering is a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offers an animal from the herd, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.” (Leviticus 3:1 RSV)

Or Verse 6:

“If his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD is an animal from the flock, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish.” (Leviticus 3:6 RSV)

Verse 12 says that it was also possible to offer a goat. But in any case it could be male or female. That is significant. God is the one who makes these distinctions and he does it because he is trying to impart truth: The burnt offering could be only a male because it deals with man in his capacity to rule

But here in the peace offering we are not dealing with man in terms of his overall purpose in life. We are dealing now with man in his condition, in his existential relationship, in the way he is. It does not make any difference whether you are a leader or a follower, whether you are in a position of authority or not. You need peace in any case. That is the whole point. Therefore either a male or a female was an adequate expression of this peace offering.

The second distinctive mark of the peace offering was that all the fat was to be consumed upon the altar. Verses 3-5:

“And from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as an offering by fire to the LORD he shall offer the fat covering the entrails[intestines] and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the appendage of the liver which he shall take away with the kidneys. Then Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt offering, which is upon the wood on the fire; it is an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the LORD.” (Leviticus 3:3-5 RSV)

Similar provisions for the offering of lambs and goats are contained in Verses 9-11 and 14-15. Look also at Verses 16-17:

“And the priest shall burn them on the altar as food offered by fire for a pleasing odor. All fat is the LORD’s. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither fat nor blood.” (Leviticus 3:16-17)

In the seventh chapter that restriction is developed even further. The striking sentence there, of course, is: “All fat is the LORD’s.”

We have already seen that the blood is a symbol of the life. This is God’s way of impressing upon the Hebrew people, and upon all of us, that life is sacred to God. Life belongs to God. It is his to control. Man should handle it very delicately and gently, and with great respect. Life is not to be treated lightly. The Hebrews were taught that fact and reminded of it every time they were told that they were not to eat blood.

But now we learn that fat is the Lord’s too. In the Scriptures, fat is everywhere used as a symbol of the richness of life. We think of fat meat as rich meat, and that is exactly what this symbol portrays. The richness of life comes from God and is owned by God. Only he can give it!

Everything which makes life enjoyable and full and delightful comes from God. This is what Paul argues in Romans 2. “The goodness of God,” he says both to believer and unbeliever, “is leading you to repentance,” (Romans 2:4). God is showering his love and his richness upon the just and the unjust alike in order that he might show us all that what makes life worth living comes only from God. As James puts it, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation nor shadow of turning,” (James 1:17).

Richness belongs to God. And as these Hebrews were told to take this fat and carefully remove it, especially the interior fat that was on the inner organs of the body, they were being taught that all the inner richness of life — everything which makes a person strong and delighted within — is from God, belongs to him, comes only from him.

There is a third characteristic of the peace offering which is extremely important. We find it over in the law of the peace offering in Chapter 7, Verses 28-34:

The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, He that offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the LORD shall bring his offering to the LORD; from the sacrifice of his peace offerings he shall bring with is own hands the offerings by fire to the LORD; he shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the LORD. The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be for Aaron and his sons. And the right thigh you shall give to the priest as an offering from the sacrifice of your peace offerings; he among the sons of Aaron who offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat shall have the right thigh for a portion. For the breast that is waved and the thigh that is offered I have taken from the people of Israel, out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons, as a perpetual due from the people of Israel.” (Leviticus 7:28-34 RSV)

Only two portions of the peace offering animal were to be eaten — the breast and the right thigh. But, before they were eaten, they were offered, in a sense, to the LORD. They were not burned upon the altar. That would have ruined them as food for the priests. They were merely waved up and down before the LORD. The thigh, perhaps heavier than the breast, was heaved up and down before the LORD, rather than waved. In either case this was a symbolic gesture that these portions were related to God. Then the priests were to feed on them.

Now, right in that little requirement is hidden the secret of how to have peace in the midst of trouble, how to have an untroubled heart even though the conditions around you are very troublesome.

In Scripture, the breast is always a symbol of affection and love. It is the seat of our emotions. And the thigh is always a symbol of power and strength. It is where the strength of our physical bodies is centered. So we have, here, a beautiful picture of the secret of peace in the midst of trouble. It is dependence upon the affection and the strength of Jesus Christ to solve our problems in his own way and time.

You need both those elements: First, love, to steady you, to remind you that he is concerned about you. He knows the problem you are going through. . He loves you and he will be with you in it. And then, power, to remind you that he is able to work it out in his own way and time. “All power in heaven and on earth,” he says, “is committed unto me,” (Matthew 28:18). As you begin to accept that fact, and to rest upon it, to reckon it true, to count upon it, you will find peace beginning to steal into your heart in the midst of your troubled circumstance.

God is listening, and He is going to work it out! Stop over thinking that thing and trying to work it out in your own way. God tells us very plainly: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” (Isaiah 55:8 RSV). “The way you think it is going to work out is not the way I am going to work it out. But if you will trust me I’ll work it out.”

Dont fret, I know its easier said than done, but in Philippians 4:6-7 Paul says,

Have no anxiety about anything[that is not just an invitation; it is a command], but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving[that is the peace offering] let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding[you won’t be able to explain how it got there — the circumstances haven’t changed, you’re not forgetting the problem, nor trying to blame it on everybody else] will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 RSV)

Paul continues in Verse 9:

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9 RSV)

 

Gods way of working out your situation maybe new to you. But I’m always reminded of Travis Greene’s Intentional Lyrics

“All things are working for my good
Cos He’s Intentional
Never failing”

Remind yourself of that today…and be in Peace! Love you!

Stephanie

http://www.simplysoulsisters.com

http://www.virtuousvibes.com

 

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