Leviticus Chapter 1

The book of Leviticus is the third book of Moses found at the beginning of the Bible. In Exodus, we read of the children of Israel being led out of Egypt by the prophet Moses. They ended up being camped at Mount Sinai, where great commandments and instruction were received from the Lord. They have built the tabernacle of the congregation, which was an ancient temple that could be moved along with the Israelites. The children of Israel were going to be led by God to the promised land. Leviticus begins as follows:

1 And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord.
4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
5 And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
6 And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
8 And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

The Lord spoke to Moses, his chosen prophet, saying that those who wanted to give an offering to the Lord, could willingly offer a sacrifice of an unblemished male cattle. This offering would be for an atonement for their sins. They were to dedicate the cattle at the entrance of the tabernacle, for a burt offering. The priests were to prepare the offering as directed by the Lord.

10 And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish.
11 And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.
12 And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
13 But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

If an offering of a sheep or goat was made, it was also to be an unblemished male of the flock. Again, the Lord told Moses, how the priests were to prepare the offering.

14 And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
15 And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:
16 And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes:
17 And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

Some could bring an offering of turtledoves or pigeons. Moses was told how the priests were to prepare them as an offering as well. All of these offerings were “of a sweet savour unto the Lord.” When I think of this phrase, I am initially led to think of the smell of something cooking, in which case the Lord is saying something like the smell is sweet to the Lord. I looked up the word savour and one meaning refers to the word repute, which can mean honored. I think in this sense, that the Lord may possibly be saying these offerings are a way to honor God. Either way, these burnt offerings were a way to show the Lord that they had a desire to be clean from the sins of the world. It was a type of the great an final atonement provided by the Lord for all of mankind.

One of the things I think about when reading this chapter, is the requirement that these be a willing sacrifice. The Lord will not compel us to make a sacrifice to Him. Our agency is an eternal part of our being, which we had before this life and will have forever. It is up to each of us individually to dedicate our sacrifices to the Lord. In Romans 12:1 we read, “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” I believe that life would have more meaning if I would truly dedicate more of myself and the things I have to the Lord. I hope to do away with the selfishness of the natural man, and give more as a dedicated sacrifice to the Lord for my sanctification and salvation.

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