Reflections on Leviticus 2

Over the next few months, I plan to share some brief reflections on the book of Leviticus. I’m not sure how far through the book I intend to get, but it should be a good exercise regardless. This is a reflection on the second chapter.

“And the priest shall take from the grain offering its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.” 

Leviticus 2:9

Adam and Eve had two sons called Cain and Abel. Cain grew crops from the land and his brother Abel looked after sheep. One day, they came to present their offerings before God. Cain brought some of his crops to offer to God, and then his brother Abel brought the finest sheep from his flock as burnt offerings. God delighted in Abel’s offering, but not in Cain’s. Humiliated, Cain was consumed with jealousy, and he went out and murdered his brother. Because of what he had done, God drove him out of the land and made him a fugitive. 

What was wrong with Cain’s offering? Well, remember what happened when Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit? To save them from death, God slaughtered animals and covered Adam and Eve with their skins. Since death had entered the world, God only accepted offerings presented through an animal sacrifice – the shedding of blood. Cain should have waited until Abel had offered his sheep first and then presented his crops afterwards. Not only that, but Abel offered the very finest sheep that he had to offer – truly an offering fit for God. 

Grain offerings under the Law embodied these principles in several ways. They were to be offered on the altar of burnt offering, an altar set apart by animal sacrifice. And they were to be made of “fine flour” and fragranced with oil and incense to produce “a pleasing aroma” to God. So too should our offerings be. Whatever gifts we bring to God, whatever services we offer to him, we should always seek to offer him our best, our finest. And we should recognise that our gifts and services are only acceptance to God through the offering of Jesus, who shed his blood on the cross so that we might be acceptable to God. 

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