Finally (wink, wink), the list of instructions comes to an end. God sums everything up by making sure all the rules are clear. In turn, He will get his special time with the Israelites, and the priests will be fed. It’s a great plan. We’ve discussed in past chapters how God’s instructions for the Israelites in regards to sin and guilt and daily living are His way of keeping His relationship with the Israelites strong, or at the very least intact. We’ve also talked about how many of these offerings and sacrifices are meant to accomplish a number of things, including spending mealtimes with God and feeding the priests. This chapter further lays out God’s intentions for these offerings by giving Aaron and his descendants the go-ahead to eat some of the meat brought as offerings and sacrifices. I made little notes on each subhead (from chapters 6 and 7) according to whether or not the priests could eat the offerings or not, and it made the offerings make a little more sense to me.
Burnt offering – this is basically the fire that roasts everything. It is kept burning by offerings to the Lord and by constant tending by the priests. One of their jobs is to keep the fire burnin’. Oh, yeah. Chapter 7 (v. 8) says the priests can keep the hides from any of these offerings. Hides came in handy back then for lots of cool stuff.
Grain offering – the priests are allowed to eat portions of this offering, which is flour the priests can use to make bread.
Ordination offering – no one can eat this grain offering. It is a one-time offering done every generation as Aaron’s descendants come into their priesthoods. It is a ceremonial offering meant only for the Lord. I think it’s considerate on God’s part that it’s only a grain offering.
Sin offering – this sacrifice is not only up for grabs, but it MUST be eaten, and it must be eaten in a sacred place within the courtyard of the Tabernacle. Eating people’s sins must have been hard to swallow. (I. Could. Not. Help. That. Sorry.)
Guilt offering – any male priest can eat this offering. God takes the fat and organs and leaves the good stuff for the guys.
Peace offering – my fave. In Chapter 3, verses 11 and 16, God alludes to the fact that this offering is meant to be food for the Lord that is presented twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening, at mealtimes. This is the time God wants to set aside each day not only for Himself but also for the priests (and in that way, all Israelites who bring offerings) to enjoy a “mealtime” together. I’ve felt many times that there is something Biblical about mealtimes (and fellowship), and this is one expression of how dear to God they are.
Writing prompt: recipe for relationship
What have you gained from reading God’s set of rules and instructions for the Israelites? Write a recipe that includes everything you need today to be in a relationship with God. Start with a list of ingredients, and then write instructions on how to mix them up to create a flavorful and satisfying relationship with God.